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JON BAP – ‘Let It Happen’ (Fresh Selects)

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An experimental soul musician’s adventurous new album.

In an era where the most talked about albums often sound like the result of a ‘marketing to millennials’ focus group algorithm’ed from Soundcloud favorites and Facebook interactions, there’s nothing more refreshing to the human spirit than the raw, honest feel that can only be found in the music of an artist like JON BAP.

Surrounded by a musically-gifted family – all of which either sang, played an instrument, or both – growing up, the seeds were planted early on for music to be a key factor in Jon’s life. As a kid, he cultivated his sense of musicality through singing and drumming in his church’s choir. His father would become one of his biggest influences, showing him drum techniques and chords on the organ after services.

The visuals arts were Jon’s first real love though. Deeply inspired, by the likes of Hayao Miyazaki and others, to draw and create his own characters, Jon followed his passion for animation and enrolled in art school. But while there, he soon found his heart being pulled in a different direction, often skipping class in order to go home and experiment with music.

Starting out on a heavy regiment of making beats and writing raps daily, Jon eventually went on to learn guitar to help forge a more unique sound to his production. Playing around with that for long enough, he then dug even further back in to his Gospel-inspired roots, adding live drums, bass, and keys into his repertoire as well. Getting even more comfortable in this new zone, Jon stepped out from mostly rapping to now singing in whatever groove struck a chord with him – all coming together into a unique brand of home-recorded otherness that Jon could now claim as his own, never stopping to consider what genres it crossed or what trends might instead be more ‘hot’ at the moment.

A handful of tracks culled from these preliminary creative fires would be compiled into his debut EP, ‘Let It Happen,’ an ode to creative freedom which Jon self-released here on Bandcamp at the end of 2014. With no marketing or social media push put behind it, the EP still managed to make its way to a few essential ears – among them: rapper/producer LIKE of PAC DIV, a number of musicians in ERYKAH BADU’s band, reportedly even ANDRE 3000 himself – and ultimately, onto our radar here at FRESH SELECTS. So moved by this raw talent in-the-making, we’re now proud to be giving ‘Let It Happen’ the proper re-issue treatment with a worldwide digital release and an intimate run of cassettes on May 27th, 2016.

Backed with an exclusive new B-side to the project, consisting of instrumental demos lost in a hard drive crash before Jon could cut vocals to them, lovingly dubbed, ‘Almost Happened’ – Jon’s debut offering will now be given a second go at finding the audience that so desperately needs this in their music collection, whether they know it yet or not. Jon even got to put his art school background to good use, painting his own nude self-portrait for the project’s cover, and designing the album packaging himself.

A bit of a traveler throughout most of his life, JON BAP is currently stationed in Buffalo, New York (affectionally known as the “Ruff Buff”), where he’s currently working on his follow-up LP for release later this year; as well as the debut from his band, THE GET MONEY SQUAD – a garage/surf-rock foursome in which Jon holds down guitar duties while his brother Quinton Brock takes the lead on vocals.

Released: May 27, 2016

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