Australian alt-R&B artist JXN has dreamt of a music career since he was 13, but it took a back accident that saw him give up a shot at a basketball career and focus on music. Saving up for his first Maton guitar at 17 and uploading covers and originals to YouTube, JXN became a star - before he'd even released a single.
This pressure might have gotten to some people, but in JXN's case, he always knew what he wanted his sound to be - he just had to execute it. Speaking to Thomas Bleach back in early 2019, JXN said, "I’ve always deep down had a sound, I’ve never wanted to make music similar to anyone else. I want people to hear my voice and my songs and instantly know it’s me." This was the case with his debut single, Solitude, which saw him incorporate elements of hip-hop and pop, as well as R&B.
Following Solitude, JXN collaborated with A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and A$AP Twelvyy with Red Lights and Going Off respectively, releasing a string of stand-alone singles that saw him continue to evolve his sound, and having fun with his music. Each track showed his growth as an artist - but fans were wanting more.
NeverASadAdventure, JXN's debut EP, takes all the sounds he's been working with over the last couple of years and threads them together into the one cohesive, six-track project. There's a lot of different styles that feature on the EP - opener TRIP sees JXN's vocals lift into the falsetto range, EARTHGANG's chorus is drenched in auto-tune, while on SKY, JXN borders on rapping - proving that he's not afraid to take risks to get the sound he's striving for.
The two singles from the EP, STELLAR and Outta Space, showcase two distinct sides of JXN's sounds. On STELLAR, JXN goes it alone, singing over Joe Mason's synth-heavy production. Speaking about the track, JXN says, “It’s quite a different sound.There’s a lot of experimentation with vocal effects on the song - pitching up and down.” Joe Mason produced the EP, which is part of the reason it feels so cohesive - the sounds flow from one track to the next, even if the choices made on each track differ.
Outta Space sees the EP's only credited collaborators appear, with Allday featuring over Fossa Beats' production. As you'd expect given JXN's recent collaborations with other rappers, the pair feel right at home on the same track - the trap-inspired production suits both of them perfectly, and is a path we'd love to see JXN take with his music going forward.
It's on EP closer PROUD that JXN takes his biggest step forward as an artist. The death of his grandfather is something that JXN has spoken about impacting him heavily, and the lyrical content of the EP closer sees him address this openly, ending the six tracks by opening up in a way he hasn't before in his music. Honesty isn't something that all artists are able to convey in their music, but in JXN's case, PROUD shows that going forward, he's not afraid to bare his soul.
Having only played a few live shows, touring with Allday on his album tour for his Starry Night Over The Phone tour, as well as a handful of headline shows, JXN sits in a position where on record, he's a star, but in a live setting, he's still relatively new. However, with this EP, it's easy to imagine that when concerts resume, it won't take long for these tracks to be performed on some of the biggest stages in Australia and beyond - JXN has undeniable talent and always has - but this EP solidifies him as an artist who is only set to evolve with each release.
If there were any doubts about JXN's ability to translate a run of successful singles into a cohesive project, on NeverASadAdventure, those misgivings are dispelled once and for all. The six-track EP sees him take huge leaps forward as an artist, both in production choices, and his vocal execution - and we can't wait to see what he does next. Check out the EP below - it's time to go into outer space.