2019 American Music Awards

JOHN k Talks Breakout Hit 'If We Never Met' & His 'Next Wave' of Music: 'I Think Next Year Is Really Our Year'

Easton Schirra
JOHN k.

"I feel like I've truly connected to the artist that I'm excited to be," singer/songwriter tells Billboard's Pop Shop Podcast.

“It’s been a long time coming. It's incredible. It's humbling,” says rising singer/songwriter JOHN k of his reaction to seeing his name for the first time on the Billboard charts. The artist recently scored his first Billboard chart hit with the single “If We Never Met,” which is scaling the Adult Pop Songs airplay chart.

“It makes me want to work harder and get more music out,” he tells the Billboard Pop Shop Podcast (listen below). “To lead with 'If We Never Met,' that's such a special song to not only me, but to my entire team. And that one felt right coming out with [first], and it's just incredible to watch people connect to it, and watch it actually do its thing.”

The cut is the title track from his debut Epic Records EP, which dropped earlier this year. The four-song project has seen its songs accumulate more than 24 million on-demand audio streams in the U.S. through Oct. 10, according to Nielsen Music.    

JOHN k’s chart debut wasn’t an overnight success story, however. Before signing with Epic in 2019, he had been percolating as an indie act, releasing songs on his own and quietly racking up millions of streams.

As for that’s next, it’s pretty simple: “Right now, our main focus is on ‘If We Never Met.’ The way it's connecting to people and the way people have been giving us their stories, we've really seen a true connection from the listener to the song.

“I think next year is really our year where it's going to start to go. I mean, the music that we have unreleased right now is -- between you and I, and everybody listening to this -- unbelievable and I'm so excited. … I just can't wait for this next batch to come out. I love the songs that are out. I love the EP. We worked on that so hard, and were so particular about the mixing process and getting that out. And it's such a cool feeling to release a little body of work. You know, just… like, [they're] your little babies.

“We're sitting on 20-plus songs that are done and ready to go. We've been nonstop, behind the curtain working 'If We Never Met' but working so hard in these rooms to write. … We just tapped into an unbelievable well of music. I feel like I've truly connected to the artist that I'm excited to be, and the music that's going to come out in the next wave is going to be incredible.”

In addition to the interview with JOHN k, the Pop Shop team discusses big chart news about Travis Scott, Dan & Shay, Justin Bieber, SuperM and Summer Walker. Plus, in the Chart Stat of the Week segment, the Pop Shoppers throw it back a Monster-size debut for R.E.M. 25 years ago.

The Billboard Pop Shop Podcast is your one-stop shop for all things pop on Billboard's weekly charts. You can always count on a lively discussion about the latest pop news, fun chart stats and stories, new music, and guest interviews with music stars and folks from the world of pop. Casual pop fans and chart junkies can hear Billboard's senior director of charts Keith Caulfield and deputy editor, digital Katie Atkinson every week on the podcast, which can be streamed on Billboard.com or downloaded in Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast provider. (Click here to listen to the previous edition of the show on Billboard.com.)


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