K'Jon: Artists To Watch 2010

Christian Lantry
K Jon

After getting fired from his corporate job a few years ago, singer/songwriter K'Jon decided to dedicate himself to music full time-and his efforts are paying off.

His single "On the Ocean," released independently in 2008, peaked at No. 12 last summer on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. After signing to Universal Republic in January, K'Jon released his album "I Get Around," which has sold 135,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Listen to K'Jon's "On the Ocean"

The Detroit native got his start in 2003 when he recorded a demo and distributed it locally. It found its way to New York, and after writing for a number of under-the-radar artists in the Big Apple, K'Jon got his first major placement in 2004-on the "2 Fast 2 Furious" soundtrack. He hoped that would open some doors. "But it wasn't happening," he says. "I wasn't moving as an artist or as a songwriter."

Four years later-after self-releasing an album-K'Jon found himself frustrated with his singing career. That's when "On the Ocean" came to him.

"I was sitting in the middle of nowhere, in L.A., writing for other artists, away from my newborn child and the song just hit me," he recalls. "I felt like I was on a deserted island and I could see my rescue ship, but I couldn't get on it. 'On the Ocean' became a metaphor for what I was waiting on."

After writing the heartfelt lyrics over the warm, piano-based beat created by his production team, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, K'Jon began working the record independently and started receiving a positive response from Michigan radio stations. "I caught the attention of some labels once they saw the radio spins and sales from retail and the street buzz," K'Jon says. "Universal Republic gave me a call and then a few months later I signed my deal."

In 2010, K'Jon not only hopes to continue writing motivational music for himself but also for other aspiring artists. "I'm in writing mode all the time," he says. "I definitely believe I can make tracks that can help elevate others."