Soulful, sensual, sublime, a mix of retro grooves and hip-hop beats,songs that address the everyday aspects of love, sex and relationships. Continuing and expanding upon the tradition he set with his first two best-selling albums – 1995’s “Bonafide” and 1997’s “Cool Relax” – multi-talented singer, songwriter, producer and musician Jon B. is back with a record that demonstrates his growth and development as a mainstay artist in the ever-changing contemporary music marketplace.
PLEASURES YOU LIKE, the new release on Edmonds Record Group/Epic, represents a new level of hands-on involvement for Jon B.: he produced almost all the tracks on the album, writing or co-writing every cut, recording virtually everything at his own
VibeZelect Studios in Pasadena. As he notes, “I didn’t have a particular concept in mind for my third album. I just wanted to write and produce with some of my favorite artists.”
The follow-up to his “Cool Relax” platinum-plus 1997 set (which included the million-selling hit single “They Don’t Know”), the new album includes participation by the legendary Babyface, superstar rapper NAS, ’90s diva Faith Evans, Cuban Link, producers Tim & Bob and hitmaking songwriter Joshua Thompson. “I like to do different styles,” says Jon B. “I just go where the music leads me and it’s somewhere between retro-esque old school soul and hip-hop.”
The perfect combination of rap and R&B, the ultra-smooth “Finer Things” features NAS: “He’s one of my favorite MCs and I’m such a huge fan of his. It was amazing: he came by my studio,I played a track for him that a real laidback feel to it. He got
a chance to do something that was different for him and at the same time, he allowed me to open up and express myself in a new way. Life may not be material but about being real and true.”
Working with Faith Evans on the late night slow jam “Overjoyed” was another highlight for Jon B. “I mean, she’s like the greatest, like the Gladys Knight of her time. The song is very retro,inspired by classic duets by legends like Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway. The vocals are gospel-flavoredonce we started singing together, we went there!”
On a different musical tip, “Lonely Girl” is a standout collaboration between Jon B. and Babyface: “Hey, we have to keep the
tradition of us working together going! We both sat down and worked on the song together and I like to think that it’s in the
vein of the kind of things Michael Jackson did on “Off The Wall.””
Whether it’s the jazzy, slinky, tropical-styled groove of “All I Want Is You” – featuring Cuban Link – or the straight-ahead
sexually-charged “Inside” (reminiscent in flavor of a vintage Prince cut), Jon B. agrees that PLEASURES YOU LIKE “shows that I’ve matured a lot creatively. I never stopped writing after we finished the “Cool Relax” project. I was just in the lab reating Being at my home studio was like a sanctuary for me, a place where I could create without any restrictions”
Expressing himself musically has been at the top of Jon B.’s agenda since his early years, growing up in Rhode Island before moving out to California. Born into a highly musical household, Jon’s father is a professor of music and his mother a concert pianist. Proficient on keyboards, guitar, bass and drums, much of Jon B.’s early exposure to the classic soul and R&B of the ’70s came as a result of his grandparents’ ownership of a record store. Legendary artists like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Donny Hathaway were major influences as were the early pioneers of rap and hip-hop so it was no surprise that when Jon B. egan creating his own music, he would draw from such distinct sources.
In 1995, Jon B.’s auspicious debut album “Bonafide” met with immediate acclaim, spawning a Top 10 pop and R&B hit in “Someone To Love,” a gold single that featured Babyface. The memorable ballad was also included in the movie “Bad Boys.”
Such acceptance and success helped set the stage for his latest work: “This time I went in knowing that I had established something of a base audience,” he comments. “That gave me the freedom to be myself musically, without any limitations.”
From the jeep-styled groove of the first single, “Don’t Talk” to the moody sensuality of the title track, Jon B. hits the musical spot with PLEASURES YOU LIKE, a keenly-crafted, much-anticipated that combines retro sounds with a strong hip-hop
sensibility, another undisputed triumph for one of the key young artists of our time.