Let us properly introduce you to John-Robert: a small-town baby boy who’s steadily rising to super stardom.
Though the singer-songwriter-producer is freshly 20 years old, he’s been performing for more than half of his life already, going from open mics in a small town in Virginia to gaining recognition through his many covers on YouTube of songs by the Kooks and Coldplay.
Eventually, a cover of Chance the Rapper’s “Same Drugs” would get him the attention of Grammy-nominated producer, songwriter and founder of Nice Life Recording Company, Ricky Reed, who also signed Lizzo to Nice Life, and has worked with such artists as Halsey, Leon Bridges, Maggie Rogers and Twenty One Pilots.
After a meeting, Ricky described him as “a transcendent, once-in-a-generation singer and songwriter” — and just like that, John-Robert went from being a small town boy in Virginia to the new “One to Watch” as a Nice Life Recording Company / Warner Records-signee.
Since inking his major deal, John’s released a consistent string of pensive pop singles — “Adeline” to “Us” to “Pelican” — all leading to the final piece of the puzzle this past May: The Bailey Barely Knew Me EP, an endlessly gorgeous 5-track bundle of all of his releases to date, all of which are equally impressive in their own right.
There’s a haunting depth to John-Robert’s voice and soundscape that goes well beyond his years — a remarkably mature sound for someone who, at his age, could just as easily be off dancing it up on TikTok.
Now that he’s properly nurtured and cemented his sound with his debut EP, John is ready to keep things moving, and his newest single “Healthy Baby Boy” is our first taste of what’s to come moving forward.
He wrote “Healthy Baby Boy” about his big move from small town Virginia to Los Angeles to pursue his dream as a musician and the juxtaposition between leaving the comfort of his small town and trying to find his way in his new home.
The song is melancholy-inducing, with John-Robert’s earnest storytelling, alluring melodies and sweet, sunny acoustics. “Ricky gifted me a Silvertone/ Mom and Dad are proud that I am out and all alone / Sadly, I can’t tell them how I ache to, ache to come back home,” he croons. From there, the song continues to swell with even more gorgeous and dreamy production, bringing a sense of healing to mind.
“I wrote ‘Healthy Baby Boy’ after I’d uprooted my life,” John-Robert said in a statement about the song. “I was initially devastatingly lonely and became fairly depressed and reflective. But I realized I can still communicate my love for those in my life despite the distance, and this song is my journey towards feeling empowered by and appreciative of the opportunities I have that sometimes seem invisible at a glance.”
A music video was released to accompany “Healthy Baby Boy.” The visual, created by Brockhampton collaborator Spencer Ford, is a cinematic coming-of-age short film that finds John-Robert reminiscing of the young love, family comfort and a carefree childhood that he had to let go in order to pursue his dreams.
Judging by “Healthy Baby Boy” and the rest of what he’s already given us, John-Robert’s potential seems limitless. The time to hop on board is now!
“Healthy Baby Boy” is available to stream on all platforms now.
If you enjoyed this article, check out Jon Ali’s take on the latest single from TikTok star Nessa Barrett.
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