DETROIT (WWJ) – It’s been nearly six years since homegrown musician K’Jon struck gold with his chart-topping hit ‘On the Ocean’. That song, from his ‘I Get Around’ CD stayed at the top of the charts for six straight weeks.
Now, K’Jon is back, preparing to hit the road on a new tour that kicks off May 11th at Soundboard inside the Motor City Casino. He also has another album out titled ‘Man,’ featuring a soul-stirring ballad of the same name, and ‘Come Get To This’, his tribute to the late, great Motown legend Marvin Gaye.
“It’s been … years since I first recorded that record, ‘Come Get To This,’ and at the time, I wasn’t ready,” K’Jon told WWJ’s Terri Lee during a break from recording at his “home away from home,” Advanced Recording Studios in Royal Oak, Michigan where he works with Grammy® Voting Producer William David.
“I recorded it, put it out independently; I mean we sold maybe 100, 200 CDs,” K’Jon said. “And I was just so taken by the song; I’m a latecomer to that song. When I first heard it, I was like ‘oh wow,’ and I found myself every morning jumping in the shower singing that record cause I thought that was one of his best songs that I’ve ever heard. You know everybody heard “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,’ ‘Sexual Healing’, ‘What’s Going On’ but ‘Come Get To This’ is a piece of work; I mean, vocally for Marvin Gaye. And the first time I recorded it back in 2006 … that’s eight years – I wasn’t ready. So, I said, let me try this again, added some variations to the record – there you have it.”
K’Jon’s re-working of “Come Get To This’ was certainly worth the wait. It’s a dance tune that DJs can turn to when they want to get the party people up out of their seats and grooving on the dance floor. But that’s not the only song on ‘Man’ that K’Jon’s fans will enjoy listening to. There’s so much more.
“It’s a throwback,” K’Jon said about the CD. “It spans over five decades. There’s a lot of big band, even swing music. You’ll hear some shades of Nat King Cole; even have some orchestra sounds in there, and then we kinda have a Motown movement going on there with ‘Come Get To This’ and “All We Need Is Love’, and so it’s a very vintage, throwback album.”
K’Jon is also quick to point out that no matter how diverse someone’s taste in music may be, ‘Man’ has something for everyone, including his longtime fans and those who may be just discovering his music.
“We have traditional R&B, as well,” K’Jon said. “I have Lyfe Jennings featured on ‘This Time 4 Real’, which is a remix of ‘This Time’, that’s received well across the country when I go out and perform.”
He also wants to show people how well-rounded he is as an artist. For example, he says, a lot of people don’t know that he writes Country music, performs Rock & Roll and has numerous A&R and Hip Hop projects in the works.
But, whenever and wherever he performs, his repertoire – no doubt – has to include the song that made him famous: ‘On The Ocean’. With that in mind, what kind of pressure, if any, does he feel trying to follow-up to the success he enjoyed – and continues to enjoy – with that song?
“Someone asked me that question yesterday and I said, you know, ‘Michael Jackson couldn’t make another Thriller album. What you do is you just try to be consistent and I think ‘Man’ overall is a better sounding album than the album that ‘Ocean’ appeared on. I don’t know if I’ll be able to do that again. That’s just a blessing. No one could really have foretold that that song would be on the radio that long and that it would resonate like that in people’s hearts. And so … it’s not pressure; I’m actually honored and feel a blessing that the song is in my catalog and I was able to help so many people.”
As K’Jon continues to build his career, he’s also dedicated himself to helping others. He’s currently working on a music video for his latest single ‘One Thing In Common’, and while he could shoot the video anywhere in the world, he’s decided to film in the city he loves so much: his hometown of Detroit. The video involves the community at large and will benefit local businesses.
No doubt K’Jon has come a long way from the east side Detroit neighborhood (the Six Mile-Gratiot area) he grew up in. But no matter where his career may take him, he says he’ll forever remain true to his roots.
“I rep Detroit to the fullest in every album I do, and (I’m) just trying to let the world know that Motown has been such a big influence,” K’Jon said as the interview started to wrap up. “If you think about the number one hits in the most recent years, like ‘Blurred Lines’, they’re Marvin Gaye inspired. Even the ‘Happy’ song (Pharrell’s mega-hit) is R&B inspired. You know R&B comes from Detroit so the world … I just want to let Detroit know ‘let’s believe in ourselves’ because the world believes in us, so if we keep that mindset, we’ll do just fine.”
And with that, it was time for K’Jon to get back to work. After all, he’s got a full plate of projects and a tour to prepare for.
K’Jon opens for Blackstreet and Dave Hollister at Soundboard on Sunday, May 11, 2014, before heading out on a tour that’ll initially take him to Chicago and Ohio. For ticket information, click here. To keep up with K’Jon’s career, follow him on Twitter, Facebook or on his website. His new CD ‘Man’ is available for download and in stores now.
Follow Terri on Twitter @TerriJLee