Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Jon Harris

Jon Harris is a hip hop recording artist, record producer, and entrepreneur from New York. He was born in Manhattan, NY, but lived in the Cortlandt Manor, NY for most of his life since a young age. Harris started making music during grade school, continued through college, and founded his first music company after he graduated. Jon actually started making music in 7th grade when he was introduced to Fruity Loops Studio. He would make beats using the program or take beats from established artist and freestyle over them using his sister’s karaoke machine. He would to record them to cassettes in 7th and 8th grade while attending Copper Beech Middle School in Shub Oak, NY. Jon started making digital recording projects under the name “J-Holla” in 9th grade at Walter Panas High School. He recalled this project, being the first of many, he gave out to everyone who wanted it for free; being about 10 people. It wasn’t even a day later that he counted all 10 CDs in a garbage somewhere around the school. He stated this experience taught him 2 things; to pay more attention to a person’s actions rather than their verbal review because people will tell you something not to hurt your feelings and really hate it. Second was that he was not good and needed to get better if he were to make it. Harris said there were many times that he wanted to quit thinking he wasn’t good and will never be good enough but he persisted making music in high school not to break into the industry but actually because of a girl. “If I’m being honest a lot of the time in high school I didn’t make music to become famous because I thought it couldn’t happen with my talent where it was. I consistently made music actually so this girl I was obsessed with. Briana Dini, she is the reason I’m here now. I made music just because with every CD I made it ensured we would speak. We would fall out of contact I’d give her a CD and we would talk for months, and that was the cycle.” Jon also state on the subject that although he was very happy and wouldn’t change it, that he was aware how he watered down his content to make sure it didn’t upset her. Now he doesn’t care if he upsets anyone. “I make music for myself and feel my fan base support me based on my decision making. Throughout high school and college Jon listen, researched, and studied about all of his favorite artist trying to pick out pieces of their history and what made them successful. He wanted to craft his product around their success and at the same time make his music his own. He says he’s been a die-hard Eminem fan since he really started paying attention to music around 2001, listening to Eminem’s entire catalogue including “Infinite” which was Eminem’s first album that most people don’t know about. Jon heard every Eminem song that was released, even underground songs such as “Any Man” from ruckus records, and scary movie where he partnered with fellow Detroit rapper Royce da 5’9. He took inspiration from Kanye West on the production aspect of his music, production of the entire song not just the instrumental. JAY-Z inspired his character as a rapper and his approach to stardom. Then later he was introduced to J. Cole which he says quickly moved up to 2nd place of admiration for his genuine personality and his ability to show how human he is. During his tenure as a student at Pace University, studying Business Management, Jon started working on a move that would later be the foundation of his career. Trying to make a demo for major record companies Jon upgraded his equipment from a cheap radioshack mic to a higher quality but still affordable microphone to record. This would ensure he had better quality but eventually broke so he recorded most of his work on his laptop mic. Getting shunned by every label, refusing to even listen he decided to take his fate into his own hands and make it happen himself. He recorded more tracks and combined them to make his first major mixtape, “Destiny’s Calling”. This mixtape was made to represent his talent not only as a music artist but as a writer, producer, and engineer as Jon made this project entirely himself without anyone’s help. During the production of Destiny’s Calling Jon focused on starting a company. This company would be the opposite of the traditional record label. His company would right every wrong conventional record labels and create to be the norm for the music industry. He felt they ignored his demo because he didn’t already have a large fan base an vowed that an artist can be signed by his company no matter where they are in their career. He won’t focus on the money and how lucrative an act could be but more on their talent and what they make. After releasing the mixtape Jon started working on building up his company’s brand. During this time he changed his name from “J-Holla” to “Jon Harris”. He felt the name “J-Holla” seemed immature and too many people used the name and gave it a certain image. Trying to figure out what name he should go by he figured to use the nickname he’s been called his whole life. Jon said in an interview ““I kind of felt I grew out of the name. To me “J Holla” sounded a bit immature and also there were so many j hollas on the internet. It was hard and continued to be difficult to distinguish myself from all of them. I chose Jon Harris because that’s the best represents me and like Kanye west said, I don’t want a “rapper” name because that might box me in. I’m not just a rapper; I can potentially give you something different”. Destiny’s Calling 2 was released on October 31, 2017. This was the second installation to his Destiny’s Calling Series. He felt the need to make this mixtape to showcase where his abilities were at during this period. He upgraded his equipment to more professional equipment and put together a small studio. This mixtape used a larger budge regarding the sounds and plug-ins he purchased for the production. He wanted to continue his self-reliance theme although he did admit he produced every song on the mixtape except for one. DC2 feature several local acts including, Al Boogz, Amanda Barreto, Heather LaRose, Money Mike Dolan, & Mike Harris. Aside from the featured rap verses Jon is credited to writing every song. Along with self-dependency, Jon also wanted to change people’s train of though. He said “people tend to be very stuck in their ways. When they have a thought about something it’s difficult to change their minds by arguing. What I’m doing is painting a picture of several sides of some of these situations to give a different perspective.” The last major theme of the mixtape is progression, Jon deliberately added a track “reflections” to show work from his very first project. This is to give the audience an idea of how far he has come. Also tribute the journey the people who has been with him since and how far they’ve come. Shortly after DC2 was released Jon decided to rebrand his company. He changed the name from Black Widow Entertainment to Living Life Our Way Entertainment. He said there was another company Black Widow Music that was causing some confusion and wanted his company to be the only of its kind. He also though the new name better represented the ideals of the company. He said “I came up with the name because all my life people have been telling me what I should do. ‘I should pursue music because it’s not realistic.’ ‘I should get into this this field or that field’. If I listened to them and it didn’t work out and I was miserable, I would only have myself to blame and that’s not fair. So I refuse to live my life their way, they can do that. I’ll live MY life MY way”.