Last Wednesday, Jon Bellion played in a B-Sides Concert. Bellion is a singer-songwriter and record producer who is best known for writing the chorus to “The Monster,” Eminem’s Grammy-winning song featuring Rihanna. He also co-wrote and produced Jason Derulo’s catchy hit “Trumpets,” which probably got stuck in all our heads at some point over the last year.
However, Bellion is also a musician in his own right. He has recorded three albums, the first of which, Scattered Thoughts vol 1 was released in 2011. After writing for other famous artists for a few years, Bellion released another free project in 2014, titled The Definition. He went on to headline his first national tour in October 2014.
2015 has been a busy year for Bellion, as he dropped two singles: “Woodstock (Psychadelic Vision)” and “All Time Low,” featuring Travis Mendes.
Allen Fernandez, SAB concert executive and self-proclaimed Jon Bellion fan, said the decision to bring him to campus was multi-faceted: “Musically, Jon is very unique — he’s a complex mix of hip-hop, pop, R&B, soul and other different styles,” Fernandez said. “He draws inspiration from the style of Wu-Tang Clan to Death Cab for Cutie.”
“He’s been gaining a lot of attention and rising on a lot of people’s radars, especially after being named the Cycle 6 winner for Spotify Emerge,” Fernandez said. This award recognizes the most sought-after and listened to artists on Spotify, taking into account demographics across the nation. Bellion’s Spotify success showed that he was rising as a reputable and in-demand producer and songwriter — and that people liked what they were hearing.
Bellion also creatively balances his lyrics and music with his many other skills: producing, rapping and writing, to name a few. He strives to send a positive and humbling type of message, with many of his songs focusing on sharing his struggles with the concept of love. The Definition, according to Fernandez, is a re-branding of himself in many ways, as he engages in complex topics such as the struggles of rising celebrity status, and how one deals with fame and still stays grounded. His songs also question what it means to adopt the culture of success in the music realm.
B-sides and SAB Concerts collaborated to bring a free last concert of the semester as a B-sides Wednesday night event. The idea of a collaboration began with Andy Mineo in spring 2014, and was so successful that they decided to repeat the concept with Jon Bellion this year.
“Combining B-sides and Concerts is a cool opportunity to meet an artist where they’re at,” said Fernandez. “When the artist has a lot of national attention for very specific reasons and they meet the standards that Concerts seek, but they’re still on the come-up in a more mainstream viewpoint and lens. It’s a budding collaboration that we expect to see evolve and become something really special.”
When asked to describe his favorite Bellion song in 15 words or less, Fernandez struggled before deciding upon “Luxury,” because “the message is genuine, the music is unique and not what you would expect.”