Jon Bellion is in the position any aspiring artist dreams about.
He is floating, suspended in air somewhere between the ground and a ceiling-less sky. He currently inhabits the purgatory that exists before the type of massive fame that doesn’t allow a person to buy his own groceries anymore.
After all, his first studio album The Human Conditionearned the number five spot on The Billboard 200 during its first week out. Jon finds himself in good company, considering the fifth spot lands him just behind Drake, Nick Jonas, the cast of Hamilton and Beyonc.
The difference between Jon and his top five companions is that he has never had one of his songs on the radio. His album doesn’t feature an electrifying verse from Big Sean or a crooning John Legend. In fact, the 25-year-old singer/songwriter still lives at home with his parents in Long Island, New York.
Despite the lack of traditional mainstream build-up, Jon Bellion is primed to become a household name by next fall. He is just now starting to perform his unique fusion of pop, hip-hop and R&B on major radio stations, interview with mainstream influencers and receive Twitter praise from NBA stars and established artists.
It’s all nice and great, but it’s not fazing Jon one bit because, like some divine oracle or divisive puppet master, this is exactly how he planned it.
Jon would never say he could have predicted his first-week success, but through extreme patience, attention to detail and savvy PR work, he’s more or less been able to control his roadmap to stardom.
With a number of behind-the-scene successes under his belt, like penning the hook for Rihanna and Eminem’s massive 2013 hit, “The Monster,” and holding a major writing credit on Jason Derulo’s 2014 anthem “Trumpets,” Jon was able to convince Capitol Records to let him release three free albums before moving forward with a major studio production.
This is the reason he already has an army of devoted fans and has sold out two (soon to be three) national tours. There’s no doubt he’s a musical visionary, but if he weren’t so good at his craft, he could probably be a marketing guru with a corner office overlooking midtown Manhattan.
When I meet Jon at a New York City rehearsal space, he offers a quick handshake before heading back to his position in front of a microphone and futuristic-looking machine that allows him to record and play back his voice. He needs a little more time to perfect something before stepping away to chat.
Jon’s band, Beautiful Mind, is a group of nine talented musicians he attended college with before dropping out. A few of them are scattered around the room watching. The group of friends made a promise to each other while in school that if any one of them started to gain popularity, they’d bring the others along.