Things have been going really well for New York native Jon Bellion. The producer, singer, songwriter and sometimes rapper helped pen Eminem and Rihanna’s new single “The Monster,” and on Tuesday released his new album, The Separation.
Over the last year, he’s signed a publishing deal with the help of former “American Idol” judge Kara Dioguardi, signed a management deal with Visionary Music Group and, of course, received writing credit on The Marshall Mathers LP 2.
Bellion recognizes the swift changes in his career, a subject he broaches on The Separation’s lead single “Ungrateful Eyes.” “I made 100 grand this year,” he belts out over an acoustic roll before admitting that he still feels anxious and woeful.
“Do you know what people go through? People have sicknesses and can’t afford to pay for their kids — anything. [There are people] that are worried about where their next meal is coming from and I have the balls to be like, ’Someone on YouTube said that I was gay’,” he said anecdotally explaining “Ungrateful Eyes” and the motives behind it. “I just made it from a place of honesty.”
Much of The Separation is pumped with similar introspective examinations, all funneled through pop-centered sound beds, soothing chord progressions and clever songwriting. On “Eyes to the Sky,” Jon admits that his musical journey has taken priority over his love life. “I’ve been working my ass off, that’s why Christina left me,” he sings before concluding that things will be OK because “my family never liked you.”
“Jim Morrison,” while in name is an ode to the Doors lead singer, is Bellion’s coming of age story. He runs down the teachers who counted him out and the musicians like Bob Marley, Kanye West and the Notorious B.I.G. who have given him hope.
“Superman, the Gift and the Curse,” meanwhile, is a big middle finger to the haters as Bellion balances melody and bars. “Imagine locking the tone of Sarah McLachlan/ The fashion of Jimi Hendrix and a box of the Bible doctrine,” he raps with an impressive flow.
“I always want to approach records from where it feels very graspable,” he explained. “You know what the song’s about, but it’s presented to you in a way that’s like, ’I never heard something like this before’ but it doesn’t push you away.”