Have you ever had a kick yourself moment when someone tells you an artist is going to blow up, you ignore it, and then they do? Well, listen up because Jonah Melvon is one heck of an artist to watch. Plus, you can enter our giveaway* to hear his new single before anyone else and cop some merch from his latest album!
*All details, requirements, and rules for the giveaway can be seen here on my Instagram post.
San Francisco Bay area artist Jonah Melvon has been making waves in the music industry for quite some time now. Starting his career as a ghostwriter, Melvon quickly realized his passion was in songwriting and artistry. He has since gone on to release his debut album Rain Water Project in January of this year. He plays countless live events and is currently gearing up to release his new single, “Sunday Mornings,” on September 15th. Today we talk with Jonah about his tireless journey with songwriting, tour success, and the direction of his new music.
‘Rain Water Project’: The Drought is Over
PoetryDansLaRue: Tell me about the concept of your album Rain Water Project that you released in early 2019.
Jonah Melvon: “When I began writing for this album, I was writing this other project called Dreaming Again to help save a non-profit organization. One of the songs that I was writing for that project, “Knockin,” became the last song on Rain Water Project. That song felt very much like rain to me, almost Sade-ish. As I transitioned to writing the album, I started writing more songs with very reflective and thought-provoking arrangements. The chords were feeling a lot like rain in the harmonies.
When it came time to choose the title, I thought of my now 4-year-old daughter and the difficulty of getting her to go to sleep. I discovered this ‘rainwater app,’ and it worked wonders. There had also been a bit of a drought for me musically. As a ghostwriter, I could not even claim my work. These concepts all came together, as well as adding the symbol of the cover art. The idea of the umbrella makes sense because I enjoy helping people, and I’m big on equity and empowerment.”
PDLR: It’s cool to hear how all of those pieces came together in the right order and how the album has multiple meanings to it as well.
PDLR: I did see that you have toured with some insane artists in the past, Miguel, Black Eyed Peas, and T.I., to name a few. Do you have any interest in collaborating with them or other similar artists?
Jonah Melvon: “I’m open depending on the message, the sounds, and the vibes. I’m more into the vibe than the message at first. Then I’m into what the song is saying. If it is an inspiring song that puts you in a certain mood, for example, I’m more into that.
Being in the Bay area, there are a lot of relatively unknown artists, but all it takes is someone in our group to make some noise. I have been collaborating for the most part with my close community. As far as specific artists go, H.E.R. and Daniel Cesar would be on my radar. Sade would be a bucket list collaboration because I grew up listening to her music. I’m fortunate to be working with my sisters on my music as well.”
PDLR: You mentioned before that you were doing some ghostwriting for other artists. Do you do all of the writing for your projects?
Jonah Melvon: “Oh, yes! If I’m gifted with something, it’s the ability to be able to write songs. I have no shortage of words *laughs* and I love to connect with people and engage. There are a lot of things that I’m passionate about and want to share. So, yes, I have written all of my songs. If someone else wrote for me, I would first want to see what it is. Also, with jumping genres from soul to hip-hop, it probably wouldn’t work for my autobiographical style. Now, having an editor and people to bounce ideas off of will certainly help to define what you are trying to say.”
From The Bay to the U.K.?
PDLR: You look so busy with live performances! How do you prioritize the shows that you play?
Jonah Melvon: “We have a great thing going on here in the Bay area. The tech-craze boom has taken over. We are playing everything from tech companies such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Pandora, etc. These are elite types of shows exclusive to those employees.
Although my friends, family, and fans are thankful for these types of opportunities, they can’t get into the shows. So, my sister and I have decided to do a lot more specific cities, venues, and festivals. It’s a lot of art and culture that celebrates the African diaspora and all of these different walks of life. So, we play a lot at the moment, but I am trying to slow it down a bit. I recently had an offer to join a tour in the U.K., but we turned it down. I want to focus on new music and recording first before we get there.”
PDLR: Have you done, or do you plan on doing any shows on the East Coast?
Jonah Melvon: “It has been a while since I have played out there. We played in Rochester at Blue Cross Arena with a friend of mine, but it has been a long time. Ironically enough, all of the new works that I am producing are with a guy in New York. We have the coast-to-coast thing going on. I will probably reach out to him in the future and start doing more out there. L.A. is right around the corner for me, which provides a lot of opportunities. I might end up playing in the U.K. before I play in New York, though; we will see.”
PDLR: It seems like you have a connection in the U.K., having mentioned a tour opportunity and playing over there.
Jonah Melvon: “They are playing my project there more than anywhere else, specifically in London. I’ve done a million radio drops for the DJs out there.”
PDLR: I love the U.K. radio! I think they are so progressive. The concept of Beats 1 on Apple Music, coming from Zane Lowe (formerly of BBC Radio 1), is so innovative. The hottest records that they release daily are always the next big thing. It’s a perfect market for artists!
Jonah Melvon: “The U.K. is very passionate about the arts in a very raw sense. It’s not as commercial. They love songwriters, innovation, and artists getting paid their due justice. I would share with them some of my Spotify or Apple Music links, and some of them would say they don’t even use it and would prefer the MP3. They didn’t want to promote all of the streaming services. I don’t think it’s how it’s being received (streaming, download, CD, etc.), but more that music is a piece of art, and the value should reflect what it is worth. That way, artists can stay creative if we give them the space to do it.”
The Calm of “Sunday Mornings” with Jonah Melvon
PDLR: I heard your snippet of your next single, “Sunday Mornings,” on Instagram. Is this new track branching out in a different direction from Rain Water Project? Or is it stemming from the sounds on the album?
Jonah Melvon: “It could be an extension from Rain Water Project. I enjoyed making the sounds that we made on that album. I felt like it was a cool place for me to be as an artist. The fans are asking for more of this type of material. This song, however, and these new songs that will be coming out, are lyrically infused with rhyming but have a lot of singing tones. I think people are intrigued by the title of the song, and they will understand it as soon as they hear it. Sundays, traditionally speaking, are the days that we allow ourselves to be most calm. Everything from the melody to the delivery is saying slow down with me like Sunday morning and take the time to engage each other.”
PDLR: Anything else you would like your fans to know about your new music coming out?
Jonah Melvon: “I’m just excited for everyone to hear it! This campaign is the most strategic I have been because I haven’t posted the whole song ahead of release. Before, I would be so eager to share my work with promoters, curators, and editors that my songs would end up being shared before they dropped. This time I’m proud that I’ve held onto it, and I’m grateful that fans are so supportive and engaged.”
It is apparent that Jonah Melvon, having dedicated an endless amount of time to his work as a songwriter, should be on your radar as an artist to watch. You can check him out below and stay tuned for “Sunday Mornings,” set for release on September 15th!