The first time I listened to Jon Bellion I was sitting in the backseat of a car with my ex-boyfriend. His brother was driving the car and my sister was sitting in the front seat. The windows were down, the sky was dark and it was the middle of summer. Fighting against the sound of the wind, the gospel in “Hand of God (Outro)” blared and my heart sank. I had never experienced that feeling because none of the artists that I listened to had a song like this. They still don’t.
Jon Bellion is a rapper, singer and songwriter from Long Island, New York. He’s come out with several mixtapes, but his first studio album was “The Human Condition” (2016). Fast forward to November 2018, when he released his second studio album, “Glory Sound Prep.” You can illustrate his artistry with the number of awards he’s won, including a Grammy for “The Monster” (he wrote the chorus), but I strongly believe that his music is more than that.
In October 2017, I went to his show at the House of Blues. It was towards the end of the third leg of “The Human Condition” tour. Oddly enough, I went to this show with my ex-boyfriend and his brother, along with their friends. While the people I went with talked to each other, I waited impatiently for the show to start. The pit section was crowded, and I felt out of place. In a split second, after the opening acts performed, the lights dimmed down, and the music started to pour out of the speakers.
I have never been to a show where the performer made you feel like you were more than another face in the crowd. That is, until Jon Bellion started to sing “Maybe IDK.” I don’t know if it was the fact that I was dancing on my own, or the amount of people singing along, but I didn’t feel alone in that moment. I left the show feeling inspired and hungry for his new album.
When “Glory Sound Prep” came out last year, I noticed that the album was more about self-acceptance than self-discovery. His first studio album dealt with finding yourself amid breakups and life choices, and these 10 new songs were unapologetic to who he is. In all honesty, the album is freaking fantastic.
As a writer, I am inspired by the way he puts words together in a fresh, relatable way. He doesn’t sugarcoat situations in his songs and he calls out issues in society without being disrespectful. His ability to create beats and layer them with different instruments shows the beautiful process of songwriting. I don’t have any experience in this area, but it’s incredible to really listen to each song and note the details.
It may be cheesy, or completely dramatic, but his songs have given me solace. I listened to his first album for most of my freshman year at UCF. Every day and mostly every night, Jon Bellion blasted through my headphones. His songs comforted me when I felt lost with what I wanted to do in my life, or when I felt my lowest. I think there’s something to be said if music gives you comfort and peace of mind.
Next time you’re on Spotify or on Apple Music, listen to Jon Bellion’s music. You may be surprised and fall completely in love, but don’t call him underrated. He gives his reason in “Adult Swim,” the seventh track in “Glory Sound Prep.”