K’Jon | Moving On

K'Jon - Moving On

K’Jon | Moving On
Up & Up Records
By Peggy Oliver

It is fair to say that extreme talent and intense perseverance have not always expedited opening music industry doors. Many well-deserving vocalists and musicians strive to find their niche before they strike a chord with an audience and land their first major radio exposure. Singer/songwriter K’Jon’s story is like many who dream to touch others with their music. Since he was eight years old, K’Jon figured that music was his way of life. He developed a loyal regional following in his native Detroit, especially within the steppers community. By 2004, K’Jon received his first taste of the major spotlight with the modern samba fueled “Miami” from the soundtrack 2 Fast 2 Furious and opened for urban stars like Raheem DeVaughn. Yet there was still work to do to push the doors open even wider.

With influences of Motown legend Marvin Gaye and R&B balladeer Robin Thicke running through his veins, K’Jon still pressed on releasing material comprising a unique smooth layer of R&B, classic soul and streetwise hustle via his Up & Up label. Pay dirt finally hit for K’Jon with a song that echoed his life long struggle in reaching his professional goals. “On the Ocean,” a heartfelt piece about finding a place in this world amongst the battles of anxiety, was first released on Ballroom Xplosion in 2007. The single reached incredible heights two years later, courtesy of K’Jon’s major label debut – I Get Around – and remained on the urban charts for an astounding seventy-five weeks. Though I Get Around fared just adequately, fans could finally experience K’Jon’s smooth and honest music collages on a bigger stage.

K’Jon extends his steppers fueled music vibe on the latest project, Moving On, aided by several artists from the Up & Up roster. Like his previous work, the earnest passion that K’Jon conveys and his engaging songwriting continue to serve as strong links. For openers, he gives major props to his hometown on “Superman,” on what makes Detroit tick on all cylinders: “The music and the cars / Detroit city started it all.” Backed by soothing strings, sweet guitar drips and a snarl-like rap from Doggie, “No Pressure” depicts an emotional roller coaster as the pressure maximizes: “Girl we gotta just keep on trying / Cause pressure came by surprise.” The debut single “Will You Be There” might be dubbed the 2012 “On the Ocean” as anxieties point towards a relationship that is being severely tested.

Every once in awhile, K’Jon falls into the one-dimensional trap of hip-hop dreadfulness: i.e. “Bad Gurl” about the obligatory diva party girl and “Ex-Amnesia” where lyrical clichés are in abundance. “Wonderland,” a duet on with Mistee Merrit, also disappoints as she occasionally overwhelms K’Jon’s laid-back approach. Thankfully, these oversights on Moving On are overshadowed as K’Jon rebounds with stories of unselfishness: “My Lil’ Sister,” unashamedly protecting family members: “You’re not the kinda girl that he should be with (he blew it)”; and “Take This Dollar,” offering material assistance towards a long time friend in true need.

Despite some bumps in the road, Moving On demonstrates K’Jon possesses some mad skills and he does stand out among some of the current crop of R&B urban heavy hitters Neo-Yo and Chris Brown. In the meantime, after the long waiting period and remaining firm to his artistic merit, K’Jon can now finally rest easier on his laurels.

Three and a half out of five stars.

Peggy Oliver
The Urban Music Scene