Jon Klaasen has the rare distinction of enjoying long runs on The X-Factor and the final season of American Idol. In this exclusive interview we talked to him about the past, his present and what looks like a very bright future.
Where are you from?
I am from Indiana!
What was it like growing up there?
My family were farmers so I was able to enjoy the big farming machines as a little kid. I was really into sports and got to play several different ones over the years. The people are pretty friendly in the Midwest so it was easy to make friends as a little kid.
Where are you currently based?
I am currently based in Indiana but I will be officially moving to California very soon! I was hooked on California after my first trip out there.
Who did you admire while were growing up?
Honestly, my parents. They have been huge supporters of everything I do and they are inspirations that have helped me become who I am today.
How did you get started with music?
I responded to music in my crib as a newborn so I guess that’s where it started. However, when I turned 9 I got my first guitar, an electric, for my birthday and that’s when music became the dream.
Are your Parents/Family supportive of your music career? How do they support you?
My family is super supportive! They have been there every step of the way. Not only have they given financial support, they have given many hours and focused dedication to help me however they could.
Who are your musical influences?
Ed Sheeran, Twenty One Pilots, and dubstep believe it or not! Also Bruno Mars, Coldplay, and all of classic rock.
How would you describe your sound?
My sound would probably fall in the pop/rock genre but it’s more like acoustic-driven-pop-rock-with-sub-bass.
What separates you from other "Singer/Songwriters or other artists in general?
I think a lot of what separates me is there is only one me. I have a certain set of life experiences that are different than anyone else, just like everyone else has their own experiences to share from. I have a certain sound that I really enjoy and everything I write comes from my heart and to connect with my fans so no one feels alone.
Are there any non-music people who inspire/influence you?
Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp I always saw as incredible at their craft. Even though they aren’t best known for music they definitely inspired me to work hard and perfect my skills.
Who is on your team and how Important are they to your Success?
I have so many people to be thankful for: family, agents, managers, other performers, great friends, producers, industry professionals and fantastic fans and they have all been very important to get me to where I am today.
Tell us who your target audience is? Also, how important are your fans and their support to your project?
My target audience is anyone who finds something in my music that makes them smile or cheers them up or relates to them in a personal way. My fans are the most amazing people on the planet and they are all over the world! I could not begin to do what I love without them. Their support is the only way I can continue to share more music with them!
You were on X-Factor US. Tell us all about that experience.
It was an unbelievable experience! It was my first time as part of a major production in addition to competition of that sort. The people were all very nice and there were some extremely talented people there. It was really cool to be part of that!
Please tell us one thing about Simon Cowell or X-Factor that no one knows?
We had a secret handshake with Simon and he’s actually a really nice guy! He will tell you the truth but he likes to help people that he sees talent in.
Are you still in touch with anyone from the show (artist, executives, etc) ? If you are, what is that relationship like now?
I am still friends with some of the people who were contestants. It’s always fun to watch how other friends are coming along in their careers too.
You were also on the last season of "American Idol". Describe the experience; what was it like to audition, what did you think of the famous judges giving you praise, and how did you interact with the other contestants on the show?
Things move really slow and really fast when you audition. You sit and wait for your time but you have to be ready at any moment! It’s very exciting to have the judges say nice things but you have to stay humble in this business because it can change you if you don’t. The best thing about these shows is meeting other extremely talented people and having the best jam sessions ever!
Tell us one thing about American Idol that no one else knows?
The hours they show for Hollywood Week are the real deal. You really don’t sleep much, if at all. It is a wonderful reason to experience some stress in your life.
You just dropped a new single "Irreplaceable". Tell us all about how this song came about and what is was like to write & record it?
I had a really close friend and family who lost someone very important to them. It crushed me to see how painful it was. The song just bubbled out in response to something very real we all can relate to.
Tell us all about the experience of shooting the video for this song?
Shooting the video was an amazing experience!
You used clips from a lot of horrific tragedies like the 911 Terrorist Attack, and the Boston Marathon Bombing/Terror Attack, which is very intense! What made you use those clips?
The brainchild for the concept started at lunch one day and my friend Greg made a scratch video of some of the ideas. We included the tragedies because every single person has felt grief and overwhelming sadness from the loss of someone they love. We can all relate in some way as the tragedies have unfortunately continued.
At the end of the video you show people who are holding signs which say things like "I Wish I Had One More Hug". What inspired you to include these scenes and what has the response been?
The signs and people holding them were inspired as a reminder that it’s never too late to express what you want to tell someone, even if you can’t say it face to face. There have been so many comments and so much interaction from people who have seen the video and told me how moving it was for them and how much it helped them as they work through the loss of someone special to them.
What else are you currently working on?
I actually have several singles that are not out yet! I’m also working to get more shows and possibly tours booked.
Who is on your short list of future collaborators?
Amazingly enough, one person I really wanted to collab with is Rajiv Dhall. I was recently able to record/film a YouTube collab that will be on my channel in the near future (If it isn’t already out). Some other people I would love to collab with is: Chris Collins, twenty one pilots, Tori Kelly, Shawn Mendes, Ed Sheeran, Pharrell, and Tyler Ward
If you could hang out with anyone for the day (dead or alive) who would it be and why?
Right now it would probably be Tyler from twenty one pilots. I am absolutely obsessed with his lyrics and I would give anything to learn from him.
How can your Fans reach out to you?
I’m working on where to have fans send mail but I look through all the comments on my social media accounts and some of the DMs when I have time. Any time I do a YouNow they can try to catch me there too!
What is happening for you in the next 6 to 12 months?
I am signed with AwesomenessTV and they are looking into some possibilities for me once I move to the LA area. I have several songs that are yet to be released and I expect some music videos will be happening to go along with those releases! I also have several people who I will be co-writing with for even more new music
Where do you see yourselves in 5 years?
I expect that I will be living in the LA area. I plan to be connected to the writing community and have songs placed in movies or TV. I plan to be performing whether that’s on tour or in a variety of venues in the US and internationally. I see myself doing what I already love to do but doing it bigger so I can include more people!
Do you have any advice for young artist who are just starting out?
Work on your craft. If you play an instrument, practice it a lot. If you sing, get good training so you protect your voice. Work on writing songs. Don’t quit because you don’t feel you have written a hit song the first time out. Give yourself time to grow.
Is there anything you want to mention that we did not ask you about?
A lot of fans get nervous if they see me in public or don’t want to take up my time. I just want all of you to know, you are the only reason I have the chance to do this. I would LOVE to stop and take a picture, say hi, and even hang for a bit. Chilling with my fans is one of my favorite things to do.
Do you have any Shout-Outs to anyone?
Just one, shout out to my brother for being the best sibling/friend in the world. We always have each other’s back and we are almost never truly upset with the other.
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