In 2017, I first got introduced to Jon Bellion through his hit single, “All time low” and since then, I have become a loyal fan (a.k.a Bellionaire) till date.
Jonathan ‘Jon’ Bellion has been able to bring a unique and thoughtful style of music through his lyrics, energy and how his mind works. As a song writer, producer, singer and child of God, Jon successfully built a loyal fan base, coupled with hundreds of million streams on his music albums.
Personally, his 2016 album, “The Human Condition” is still the best album in terms of composition, and meaning. Even the outro on the album, “Hand of God” has to be the grandest finale in music history.
Indeed, Jon Bellion is worthy of emulation and a creative force to reckon with. That’s why I coined out seven tips we can learn from how this beautiful mind (wordplay intended) approaches music.
Here we go…
1. HAVE AN EXTREME LOVE FOR WHAT YOU DO
Jon Bellion is crazily passionate about music and clearly showcases it in his workflow and songs produced. In his interviews and documentaries, he is dubbed as the artist who uses ‘the human voice as an instrument’.
In his early days, Jon was responsible for the vocals, instrumentals, lyrics and even minor ad-libs of his songs. This speaks highly of his drive for excellence and unique sound synonymous with his music.
FYI: it’s important to find that one thing you are good at and love to do at the same time. The Japanese call it “Ikigai”. This is your true calling.
If you have not found it yet, cultivate a welcoming love for what you currently do. You can do this by gathering knowledge, and developing a curious nature in that particular field.
Keep the huge boundless energy for the work you love to do.
2. FIND CIRCLES OF FRIENDS WHO SHARE THE SAME PASSION IN YOUR DESIRED FIELD
After listening to Jon Bellion’s songs a dozen times, I noticed some familiar voices throughout the course of his musical journey.
This includes other talented artists like Blaque Keyz, Vice and some others. While they play only small roles (e.g ad-libs and short rap verses) in his songs, it’s obvious Jon spends a lot of time on and off his studio sessions with these guys.
FYI: So dear, there will always be time when the creative juice is not flowing. That’s what this circle of friends is for. These guys will always be there to pull you through. They will be there to cheer you during your success. These set of friends will also be there to laugh and correct your mistakes.
Always be on the lookout for such people. You can find them in related communities or random events related to your chosen field. And when you find them, don’t let them go. Also prepare to offer value to them too.
This brings us to the third advice:
3. DEVELOP YOURSELF BEFORE FORMING OR JOINING A TEAM
Yeah, this is an advice most young people like you and I fail to understand. Guys have rushed into sour partnerships because they failed to assess their strength and that of their teammates.
I am a huge believer in collaboration and I strongly believe everyone has to bring something to the table. Collaboration is truly achieved when all parties benefit from each other. Hence, a group is only as strong as its weakest link.
So develop yourself first before forming that dream team. Acquire the necessary skills. Build the portfolio. Achieve something independently before seeking interdependence.
In this context, your vision becomes clearer to others once they see what you are already building.
In the case of Jon Bellion, there is a huge difference between his previous albums and his most recent – Glory Sound Prep (GSP). The latest album was more organised, sophisticated and mature as a result of his collaboration with other artistes. Same goes for his acoustic songs done with groups of instrumentalists.
The reason is simple. Collaboration works best when each member of the team is good. Your enthusiasm and objective is also shared and achieved when there’s clear proof of what you’ve done.
I always want to approach records from where it feels very graspable. You know what the song’s about, but it’s presented to you in a way that’s like, ‘I never heard something like this before,’ but it doesn’t push you away.Jon Bellion in an interview.
4. LEARN TO DRAW INSPIRATION FROM OTHER INTERESTS
Jon Bellion once said, he gets inspired by watching a Pixar movie on silent and listening to Nas. He clearly expresses his other interests and influences to produce the music he wants to do.
Besides, I first got drawn to the well-illustrated and visually appealing cover of the Human Condition album. (And I am a lover of animations too.)
FYI: I hope this shows that you can combine your interests into your current work. After all, originality is simply the refinement of old ideas in a new and creative way.
5. SHARE YOUR VULNERABILITY IN YOUR WORK
Another beautiful trait of Jon Bellion’s music is how honest and relatable his lyrics are.
Honesty. Empathy. Relatability. These values are essential.
So when sharing your work, always remember to add a personal touch of vulnerability and openness. People love to relate with who they understand. They want to understand how you make them feel. Trigger those emotions by being open to them.
We are all attracted to success stories because of the struggles they faced before triumphing.
So learn to share yours. Because it is one of the ways your audience can connect with you on a deeper level.
“Although I guess if I knew tomorrow-I guess I wouldn’t need faith,
I guess if I never fell, I guess I wouldn’t need grace,
I guess if I knew His plans, I guess He wouldn’t be God”Jon Bellion, Maybe IDK
6. SEE YOUR WORK AS A JOURNEY
I guess this is why I am still stuck to the melody of Jon Bellion. For instance, the hook of ‘Want to be Loved’ (2011) goes like this:
See we just want to be loved, is that so much to ask?
See we just want to be loved, is that so much to ask?
See I just want to be loved, is that so much to ask?
See I just want to be, see I just want to be loved
Then, in 2018, the chorus of “Stupid Deep” goes like this:
What if who I hoped to be was always me?
And the love I fought to feel was always free?
What if all the things I’ve done
Were just attempts at earning love? Yeah
‘Cause the hole inside my heart is stupid deep, oh, stupid deep.
This alone signifies improvement in his music and outlook towards life. Coincidentally, Jon Bellion has an album titled ‘Growth’, a collection of previous songs before the GSP album.
FYI: In life, there are several phases. When you’re young, you are currently in a phase too. It’s important to enjoy the moments in each phase. Acknowledge the fact that Excellence is an act. It’s a process. Learn to document it as you go on.
Conversations with my Father and he’s telling meJon Bellion, Mah’s Joint
There’s a point in making memories
‘Cause they’ll be even better when we’re heavenly
You are now at the best part. Here is my most important tip from Jon Bellion.
7. HAVE FAITH, BELIEVE IN GOD AND HAVE A SENSE OF PURPOSE
I came to the realization that I’m a child of God, and that’s my identity. If this all goes tomorrow, I don’t have the proverbial rug under me that can be pulled out. I’m taken care of, and there’s someone who loves me.
– Jon Bellion.
Yeah, I was glad to know Jon self-identifies as a child of God. This makes his songs more memorable and appealing. He preaches a message bigger than himself through his music.
So in sum,
When you’re lost in the universe, lost in the universeJon Bellion, Hand of God
Don’t lose faith
My mother says, “Your whole life’s in the hand of God”…
Believe in God.
Have a sense of purpose.
With this mindset, you will approach your life and work with long-term thinking and wider perspective.
Life becomes more satisfying and eternity becomes inevitable.
(All pictures used in this post is the creative work of David Ardinaryas Lojaya, a character designer and amazing illustrator)