Orlando-Based Crooner JOHN.k Shares Buoyant New Soul Pop Gem 'OT,' Talks Love Of 'Joggers': New Face, Fresh Style
Meet JOHN.k. The fast rising Orlando-based pop upstart only has a handful of tracks to his name, but has enjoyed massive early buzz on the strength of his debut single "Runnin'," which was handpicked for the highly coveted New Music Friday US playlist and has since netted more than 1 million spins across platforms.
Today, John returns with the release of his next slice of buoyant electro-pop "OT," prime for the dog days of summer, and premiering exclusively via Billboard.
Anchored on delicately strummed guitar, the track finds John feeling reflective about a nearly missed connection with a potential new paramour, as he croons "I put in over time, stay all night, just to leave with you, you hear it all the time, from all those guys, who want to be with you."
For the release, John collaborated with celebrity photographer Easton Schirra and stylist/creative director Lindsay Clark of Studio.64. "As a team, we enjoy working with musicians because it gives us the opportunity to help visualize the artist's persona. Luckily, JOHN.k is crazy talented and his work speaks for itself so we thought keeping it simple was the best route," Schirra tells Billboard of the unique pairing. "We wanted to give him something fresh but still classic - pin stripes and white tee, sweatshirt with sleeves cut off. There is something ethereal about his voice, so Lindsay thought the greenhouse & gardens were a perfect backdrop for the style of the shoot. The Studio64 approach is very much playful and about letting it happen."
Below, Billboard caught up with John to discuss his personal style aesthetic and how it relates to his music as he continues his ascent.
Describe your style in 3 words.
Clean, Understated, Experimental
How does your style reflect your music?
Musically, I'm diving into different styles all the time. I enjoy trying on a new genre and seeing how it fits. I always strive for the cleanest vocals, and I never want to sound forced or over done.
Favorite piece to wear on stage while performing and why?
My dad's watch reminds me where I come from. It's older than I am- I don't remember a day growing up when it wasn't on his wrist. When we launched the JOHN.k project, he passed it down to me, and I love wearing it when I perform.
What's your off-duty look like and how is that different from your on-stage look?
Off stage you can catch me in a comfy pair of joggers and a tee from Cotton Citizen (because comfort first, obviously). Backwards hat always.
On stage is where I like to be a little more experimental with designers or styles if I can, but also staying true to the staples in my wardrobe: The joggers, sneaks, and of course my watch. On stage I always want to stay understated and clean so I can let the music do the talking.
Favorite and least favorite trend and why?
Joggers rule. I don't know how I ever lived without them. Nothing that is ripped on purpose makes sense to me.
What's your favorite accessory?
My grandfather passed in 2006 and left me his vintage gold chain. I wear it every day. Without it, I'd always be late.
Who are some of your favorite designers to wear?
Cotton Citizen. Adidas. Anything from Urban Outfitters. Hugo Boss if I'm getting fancy!
How has your style evolved since you were younger?
I used to put so much effort into looking good and being cool when I would get ready, now I just shoot for casual and understated. It makes the times I have to get dressed up that much more fun!
For more JOHN.k, head here.