Chicago native, Jon Pierce is a singer, songwriter and actor with an amazing baritone voice. At just the impressionable age of 11, he realized his deep love and sheer passion for music. Having been exposed early on to such musical giants as Stevie Wonder, Fela Kuti and Maze featuring Frankie Beverly. At age 12, Jon remembers his mother giving him a Walkman along with a Luther Vandross cassette tape that he would study for hours, getting lost in the melodies of the rifts and vocalizing the intricate harmonies. It is the soulfulness of these and many other influences that helped shape Jon Pierce’s personal full-energy sound, which is filled with a hint of jazz, hypnotic house rhythms and his natural fit, R&B. A professional singer since age 15, Jon Pierce has been a consistent performer with both stage and vocal projects ever since. Fueled by his drive to, “take a set of songs and turn them into memorable moments for the audience,” Jon engages his unique style and creativity to deliver lasting impressions that have not only made him a permanent fixture in Chicago’s diverse house, soul and theatre scenes, but they have catapulted him globally with tours and performances throughout Germany, Japan and the UK.
He's worked withTerry Hunter, Louie Vega, Sean Ali, and Ralf Gum just to name a few. His single “Never” is a fan favorite and his artistry is heard on dance floors all across the world. His first EP is the poetic rhythms titled “The Love Take Over”, which is a vibrant and up-tempo dance collection produced by Chicago-based DJ Sean Ali for Sounds of Ali Recordings. Already a fan favorite, this project is a true testament to Jon’s vocal capabilities and the authenticity of his unique sound.
I recently had an opportunity to speak with Jon about his career and creative process and his future.
A CONVERSATION WITH JON PIERCE
Black Widow: How would you describe yourself as an artist?
Jon: I’m ever growing, always looking to learn in my genre.
Black Widow: How long have you’ve been writing?
Jon Pierce: I’ve been singing since I was 15 but I didn’t start writing until I was in my 20s. I was surrounded by singers and songwriters and just wanted to try my own melodies and write my own lyrics. I was learning songwriting by watching them.
Black Widow: How would you describe yourself as an artist?
Jon Pierce: Inspirational, all about human connection, and relatable. Having a background in gospel music, I’m an artist who is spiritually based. I want lyrics that inspire. My music is about the human experience. I want to connect with the humanity within each of us.
Black Widow: What is your writing process? How do you come up with a concept when writing songs, particularly house music?
Jon Pierce: I’m emotional and passionate. I usually start with the melody and build from there. It’s all about the synergy of the song. I have to be moved. It’s a spiritual experience for me.
Black Widow: How do you feel when you hear your songs played in the club?
Jon Pierce: I get emotional. When I’m in the studio creating music, I’m feeling it. It’s a spiritual experience for me so when I’m out and I get to see other people feeling what I felt, I feel nothing but gratitude. It makes me so grateful to get to touch people in that way.
Black Widow: You are known for putting on a great live show. What elements do you think are necessary in creating a total experience for your audience?
Jon Pierce: My stage show is an opportunity to take what the song does to another level. I get to literally touch people. You get to see the fruit of your labor. Every element is important when I get ready to do a live show. It’s the song selection, the sound, the message in the music, it’s every little detail. I watch a lot of concert performances and I think about what moves me when I watch the masters preform. It’s all about being unselfish on the stage. It’s you but completely vulnerable. It’s not about you; it’s about energizing the room.
Black Widow: When do your ideas come to you?
Jon Pierce: It varies but if you want to get real about it, my best ideas come when I’m in the club and the DJ is banging it. I get so inspired watching DJs like Terry Hunter, Louie Vega, Mike Dunn, Joe Claussell, etc. When they (The DJs) are in a zone and playing completely unselfish, I’m totally inspired by that. I get inspired by the music they play and the lyrics I’m hearing. When I see some DJs who can’t move a crowd ,the first thing I think is they are selfish and self-serving. The best DJ’s give the audience what they are looking for. They are all about the music and take themselves out of it. That’s the magical moment when the crowd is feeling what the DJ is giving them. House music is so inspiring to me. It’s freedom. It gives people a place to belong. We say house is a spiritual thing and it is because in some ways, we were searching for Church and the DJ’s are ministering to the crowd with sound.
Black Widow: Do you have a favorite song? If so what is it and why?
Jon Pierce: I love all my songs. I really do...but I love, love, "Never" because when we were making it in the studio we knew it was something special. I also love my first EP, Love Takeover because it’s just some good writing and arrangement on that EP. It was the moment I realized I had a writing style. I was a writer and I was telling stories.
Black Widow: How long did it take to do Love Takeover?
Jon Pierce: It took about 2 months. I actually was in Japan performing when I wrote all the songs. Being in Japan at that time pushed me and made me want to do my own thing.
Black Widow: Have you ever struggled with writers block?
Jon Pierce: Yes of course. I figured it out though, whenever I have moments of writer’s block, it’s when I’m trying to force a feeling or a moment. I’m blocking something and not allowing the spirit in me to move. Once I get out of the way and just allow it to flow, I’m good.
Black Widow: As an artist, we set different goals for ourselves. What goal have you achieved that has meant the most?
Jon Pierce: Most of the things I’ve envisioned for my life, I’ve achieved so far; but I’m so grateful to be a full time artist and to make a living doing what I love most. I’ve always said that I’m willing to do whatever it takes to fund myself and my dreams. I don’t care what it is, Uber, McDonalds etc.… (LOL), but I haven’t had to do that and for that I’m thankful. I don’t take it for granted or take it lightly; being able to create for a living is a blessing.
Black Widow: What Chicago Artists inspire you and why?
Jon Pierce: Earth St. James and Adam Ness are two of my favorite singers. They are just so dope. They are amazing true artists. They are no holds barred…completely authentic in their artistry and I love everything they do!
Black Widow: Creating house music usually is a collaboration of creatives. The DJ/Producer and the artist. What would you say is the key to a successful collaboration?
Jon Pierce: The Collaboration starts in the paperwork! Once the business is handled correctly, then you can really see people’s true intention. The best collaborations for me have been where the business was correct and when I was valued and respected as an artist. You know, you have to listen to the artist and don’t try to make them someone else or try to force something out of them that isn’t there. You have to allow the artist the freedom to be themselves.
Black Widow: What does it mean to represent Chicago to the world?
Jon Pierce: Chicago is so rich. Our music is so well known around the world and people love hearing that I’m from Chicago. It’s such an honor really, to be able to contribute to this genre in my own way. It’s how we keep the culture alive. When the legends begin to pass the torch and support the newer artists who are coming up, it continues this legacy. I’m honored and humbled to represent Chicago. I really am.
Black Widow: ok, last question. What’s next for Jon Pierce?
Jon Pierce: Oh so much! I have a new EP coming out soon that I’ve been working very hard on. It’s called "Supermoon" and I am so excited about it. It’s going to be new and innovative and I’m working on some remixes that are going to be so dope. The first single is called “Together” and should be out at the end of June. I plan on having a release party at the end of June too. I’m excited about it. I’m working on some art and really taking my career to the next level.
Black Widow: Jon thank you so much for taking a moment to chat with me. I love your insight and appreciate you as a fellow artist doing positive things in this scene. I can’t wait to hear your new single and support your projects!
Jon Pierce: It was my pleasure, you know I love and support you as well!
Until next time, see ya on a dance floor!
Contact & Connect with Jon Pierce:
Check out his discography on Traxsource! : www.traxsource.com/artist/10455/jon-pierce