We’re not going to dwell on the fact that it’s been four years since Jon B released a collection of his silky crooning because he doesn’t like to be treated like a music-industry runaway (hide the milk cartons).
"I usually take time to record my records and really go through some experiences to have something to talk about," Jon said. "I’m not just a cookie-cutter artist that has a bunch of people write records for me and produce records for me."
During his break between albums, Jon got married and had a daughter named Azzure Luna (Blue Moon). Being captivated by his 15-month-old daughter and in love with his wife, who helps him run his label, Vibezelect Records, has changed the way Jon balances life.
"It’s a different kind of balance now with the baby and wifey and being so much more concerned with the things that it takes to have a healthy relationship and a healthy family life, rather than just worrying about whether I have a hit going." Jon said the music flows through him now that he’s so grounded in his family life. And his happiness is reflected in each track from his new album, Helpless Romantic.
Even the way Jon approached his lead single, "Oh So Sexy" featuring Paul Wall, was a family affair. Jon describes Houston rapper Paul Wall as his "brother from another mother." They both have young children and worked in a home studio in Sugarland, Houston, with Paul’s wife and son close by. "[Paul] had his brand new little boy, like, right around the same age my daughter is right now, when we cut the record. He was in his little jumper and he was so cute. You know, a little Wall." They recorded a song for Paul’s next album in addition to Jon’s seductive single.
Helpless Romantic is completely written and produced by Jon B. He said this album is about him showing the world what he can do, rather than how much money he can spend on producers. And Jon hasn’t backed down on his challenge to let the world compare his skills to those of other White guys with soul, namely Robin Thicke and Justin Timberlake.
"I feel them and I would love to collaborate with them, but until they acknowledge me and let the world know that they feel me as an artist and that I had something to do with breaking down the barriers of race in terms of this R&B game, man, let’s put the grand pianos back to back; let’s strap on the keyboard guitars. Whatever we got to do to let people know."
Pick up Helpless Romantic, in stores now, and make your own comparisons.
Click below to hear Jon B’s new single, "Oh So Sexy" featuring Paul Wall.
– Sabrina M. Parker
Photo courtesy of Jon B.