Jon B on Justin Timberlake: "I Know I Influenced Him" [EXCLUSIVE]
The R&B singer talks being a trendsetter and the new electro music movement
Jon B. has been making music for 17 years. Though the industry has changed a great deal since he debuted in 1995 with his Bonafide album, the singer, now 37, has taken the changes in stride and adapted. He just released his sixth studio album, Comfortable Swagg, on his own independent label, the singer talked to Loop 21 about the current state of music, his influence on the game and tells us all what he thinks of Chris Brown.
Loop 21: You paved the way for Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke. Do you think all 3 of you can be successful at the same time?
Jon B: I'm so important in this music game, despite the fact that I don't have people calling me every 5 minutes, but I know how music works. I know I came out with "Don't Talk" and it was poppin' in the clubs and the next thing I know, I hear Justin Timberlake's [mimics opening beat of "Rock Your Body"]. I know I had something to do with that in terms of influencing not only his label, but his producers. I had the connection of knowing that Justin dug that vibe and upgraded it. We're in close proximity in terms of style, so why don't we get together and make some fly shit happen? I'm not on a level of begging anybody to get involved in my career because I need some fucking leverage -- it's not about that, it's about understanding the potential. All it is, is a phone call and a couple hours of your life to make something magical happen. If I knew Babyface wanted to make a "Someone to Love" again tomorrow, I'd call him tomorrow.
[ALSO READ: Robin Thicke Arrested on Drug Charges]
And my song "Make Up Love" was actually gonna be the first single off this album, but when I heard Robin Thicke's song "Love After War," I was like, 'Wow, that's exactly what my song's about, having a fight and making up after.' It was too close to home in terms of releasing my joint. I didn't wanna make it to seem like I was tryna be competitive, but I'm just saying, great minds think alike and he's in a relationship, so he knows.
Loop 21: The distribution of music has changed drastically since you debuted. Can you remember the last CD you bought?
Jon B: Rihanna's last CD. And I'm a big fan of Friendly Fires from the UK; it's like soulful rock, I love them.
Loop 21: What do you think of her and Chris Brown's latest collaboration?
Jon B: More power to you if you can put something that negative in your past. More peace and love in the world is greater any day than love and torture and bullshit-talking. Back off my boy Chris Brown though; he's way too talented, he had to grow up over night. He's making my 17 years look like he said, 'I get what you get in 10 years, in two days.' Bottom line is, my man is set up in a corporate situation and it don't get no bigger than that. I know that when the red carpet is rolled out, it's rolled out! There's no end to the money and people need to understand that that's what keeps artists like me from getting back on top again. They're never gonna make it easy for the talented people to be successful. Now you gotta have a place to make your chocolate, you gotta have your factory, you gotta have workers, then you gotta sell it -- it's not just making music anymore.
But, like my "Make Up Love" song is talking about -- we fight hard, we love hard. If that's how much they love each other, I think it's a fuckin' beautiful thing, and all the haters should back away right now.
[ALSO READ: 10 Twitter Reactions to Rihanna & Chris' Song]
Loop 21: In recent years, we've seen artists like Ne-Yo, Kelis, Kelly Rowland and Chris Brown take on dance records. Do you see yourself doing that?
Jon B: Absolutely. House music and dance music have always been on the ground of the culture, so it's so nice to see it finally get some light. I know it may be annoying to some people, but you can't deny the energy that that music brings -- it's like a foot stomp, it's the raw basics of what makes music really move us. I feel that beat [mimics heavy bass]. You can put virtually anything over that and make it incredible. If I wanna make a ballad record, but throw an on-the-floor beat underneath it, it turns into something that nobody expected.
Watch Jon B.'s video for his new single "Only One" below!
And read on for details on his new album and why he wants it to reignite the flame for lovers!