Sometimes in life, things are meant to be together. Vegemite and butter, milk and Milo, and jxdn and pop-punk. While the Chattanooga native is the first to admit that his love of pop-punk has only started in the last couple of years, he's feeling like a kid again. As he puts it, "Punk is the only time I've ever felt comfortable. I just love the grittiness and the realness of it." He may have grown up listening to pop music, but everything about jxdn screams pop-punk, from the hair, the jet-black nails and his commitment to making people's lives better through music.
As the first signing to Travis Barker's DTA Records, the weight of expectation has been on jxdn's shoulders, but he's handled that with ease. His debut album, Tell Me About Tomorrow, is out now, and jxdn's pride when he talks about the project is infectious. The album starts off with a voicemail from Travis on Intro, speaking about how he's going to sign jxdn to the label. He left the voicemail after being shown jxdn's music by his son, Landon (who's a really good friend of jxdn's), and it's a throwback to the era of voicemails being littered throughout emo/pop-punk albums, but it also captures what's ahead of jxdn. The world truly is at his feet.
Speaking about the first time he heard the voicemail, jxdn smiles and explains the influence that Travis has had on him. He says, "Travis is mad funny. He uses words like 'this kid is next'. Personally, I don't even know what that means, but because he said it, that has to be the coolest thing I've ever heard. Travis really is like a dad to me, seriously. People don't understand that. I've had a lot of hard shit happen in my life and he's stepped in to help. He hasn't overstepped or anything like that, but he's been what I needed him to be.
"I'm a 20-year-old man and I'm not scared to say that I need a mentor. I need an older figure in my life that can show me the way forward and give me wisdom. He's a great person to go to and that's exactly what he does. We thought it was a perfect introduction to Tell Me About Tomorrow, because what better way to start the album than with the story of how it all started?"
Tell Me About Tomorrow is a project that captures what makes pop-punk special, but it's more than that for jxdn. It's his way of showing love for his fans, and those around him who have supported him through the ups and downs in his life so far. He's open about his struggles with mental health, so there's one word that comes to mind when asked about the album. Jxdn confidently says that he's "proud" of the music he's made. "I've never actually been proud of much in my life. I'm extremely proud of myself and I'm really proud of the people that were involved. I'm also really proud of my fans. It takes a lot to change music. I think we're making music history, so it's going to be awesome."
Jxdn's packed a lot of musical education into just 20 years on Earth. He was raised in a Christian household and grew up surrounded by classic rock and pop music. He might not have grown up on pop-punk, but in his words, "I feel like a pop-punk kid. I feel like I'm 12 again. When I first listened to The Descendents, I discovered all these fucking bands and I'm like, 'Oh my gosh. What is this?' It makes me actually feel something. I'll be a kid again, if that's what it means, and I'll take it to the grave. It's been eye-opening. I really think that punk music can save people's lives." It might have taken longer than you'd expect, but jxdn and pop-punk were meant to be together, and they've finally found each other.
You can pinpoint when jxdn's life changed. He released his debut single, Comatose, in February 2020, and the song caught the attention of Travis Barker. It was from there that things went a bit mad. However, he's never lost sight of his goals. He felt like an outsider, and he wanted to make music for those just like him. "I felt like an outcast, so I decided to be one and I love it. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I want to be a voice for those who feel like they don't have one."
Every lyric, every chord and every drumbeat has been meticulously chosen by jxdn and his circle, and there's a pretty clear reason for that. He says that if you want fans to return to music over and over, you have to have put in the same number of hours into the music. He elaborates, saying, "I don't think a person can listen to a song a thousand times unless that song was listened to a thousand times before it was released. I've listened to my music at least three or four thousand times. I'm not even kidding. Every single song, I've had on repeat to the point where I don't even listen to them anymore because they're in my head."
The message of Tell Me About Tomorrow is one of acceptance, not judgment. The title track of the album draws from personal experience, and it's a track about his best friend's struggle with addiction. Jxdn's tone, which has been jovial for the most part, becomes more solemn as he recounts the song's message, saying, "He struggled a lot with addiction and he ended up almost losing his life at one point. I was with him through that entire journey. He's been sober for eight months now. It's a beautiful story that needs to be told because it's not just addiction. It's the things that people are put in. I say lines like, "You don't have to apologise. It's not your fault, again, this time." There is mercy and grace in my music, not judgement, and that's because I've been there."
Jxdn's made an album for those that feel like their voice isn't loud enough. He's here to help you be heard.