Huron John – Spotify for artists

In this series, we talk to artists about the experience of pitching music for playlist consideration through Spotify for Artists (learn how) Here it is), And how landing on them has affected their music careers.

When John Conrad, a Belmont University student, saw his 2019 song “Friends“On New music on FridayWith 3..7 million followers and counts among Spotify’s most popular playlists – he was sure it was a mistake. “I woke up in the dormitory and my friend was like, ‘Yeah, look at your phone. Is that a problem?’ I thought someone must have pressed the wrong button, like, Someone will get in trouble for this, You know? “He said.

At the time, the genre-mixing, multi-talented Chicago artist who recorded and performed Huron John, Had about 3,000 listeners a month. He sang the song through Spotify’s new music pitch program. “It seemed like a direct and legitimate way to get your things heard by the curators,” he said. “There’s no price tag, no ‘catch’. I liked the accessibility of the concept. Suddenly his first official single” “some kind of brazen teenage bedroom kind of thing,” he describes বসে sat next to the artists. The future. “I always thought if you have already become‘ one thing ’you can only get on a platform like this,” he adds. “I wasn’t one thing. No one really cared except the people I knew in real life.

Now, the number of people who really care about Huron John – whose name he grew up near the Great Lakes – is growing rapidly. His songs have appeared in numerous playlists: Bedroom Pop, Thanks (Where he occupied the cover image for a few weeks), Pollen, Fresh find, All New Indy, idk., Front left, And again Friday to new music. Almost every track from his 2020 debut album, Apocalypse Wow, Featured in an editorially curated Spotify mix, a rare feat for an up-and-coming blacksmith.

Between hip-hop hits, pop cuts and underground indie experiments his music sits comfortably indicating John’s omnivorous music appetite. For effect, he quotes 70s jazz-funk, Steely Dan, Punk in the ‘0s, Steriolab, The Smashing Pumpkins, Tame Impala, Death bond, And Creator Tyler, Who gets a scream out Apocalypse Wow Track “Death by Flying Saucer“And”Andy. ”

“I’ve always been one of those people who created their own universe,” he said IGOR Mastermind “You can tell that everything – ideas, productions, songwriting, cover art, music videos, merchants, whatever – is really coming from them.”

Omnivorous from day one

Control over all these aspects and the ambition to keep this DIY stemmed from John’s growth as a musician. He picked up every instrument he could handle as a child and turned it into a product at the age of 13 after the discovery of Tyler, The Creator. The wolf In 2013. It opened up a whole new world of music for me, “he says.” Among all these different sounds was this huge mash-up: hard-hitting drums, R&B breakbeats, guitar, piano, strings and the most beautiful jazz chords on top. . ”

That moment allowed him to invest in Synth, create bits, and eventually write, record, mix, and master his own tracks, with their anti-genre lyrics and stream-of-consciousness songs that run like endless diary entries. “When you like someone / they still call you a friend?” Above a plankton, low-fi, electro-pop groove in “Friendzone”.

On Apocalypse Wow, He discusses random topics like the desire for the simplicity of a flip phone, but goes deeper into his emotions and worries, worries about painful breakups, the cost of higher education, being a bad friend, death Mac Miller, And the consequence of gaining followers while losing one’s conscience. Through a mix of hip-hop, electro-R&B, indie pop, psych-rock and soft jazz to fuel his time-stamped nostalgia-listeners as well. “It’s like a sample of all your favorite genres and the lyrics are thoughts that you did but never said out loud,” he explains.

A jack of all trades, John makes his own cover art and collage-style videos, designs his own accessories and plans a magazine with her Apocalypse Wow It includes photos, sketches and behind-the-scenes descriptions of each song. “I wanted to use it as a page-by-page time capsule for the whole project,” he said. “My plan is to create a magazine with each of my projects as a component so that music is not brought in as a more physical medium but something of a journey from speaker-to-ear or screen-to-eye.”

At the moment, maintaining creative control of his career is of paramount importance to John, especially as record labels try their best to attract him. “You’re in constant attack mode,” he admits. “I always think, ‘I have to be in front of the curve. How am I communicating with fans in a unique way? How am I performing my music in a unique way? How am I going to make it feel more personal? How do I keep my music on the cutting edge and at the same time not isolate the old audience while attracting new ones? ‘This is a constant laundry list that you are fighting internally.

Most of all, John is targeted for longevity. “Spotify has played a role in re-ensuring that my art isn’t just making music in her kids’ dormitory rooms, ”he says. “It’s not really about chasing massive hits. I want people to still listen to a certain album of mine [after] Six or seven years. I want people to think of music as a memory and that music determines the era of their lives, just as my favorite albums defined my era.

– Stephanie Garr

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