Oakland Recording Artist Jonah Melvon Talks His Music Roots, His Writing Process, Inspirations & More [Interview]

Jonah Melvon

By Jack Barnes

Jonah Melvon

Described as a cross between Common and Musiq Soulchild, with charisma that can not be defined comes Oakland legend, Jonah Melvon. Setting the tone for one epic year with 2 singles from his new album, ‘Rain Water Project.’ The soulful new singles, “What’s Good For You” and “Mom and Pops” come just in time for the first and most pertinent holiday of the year, MLK Day 2019.

Both being huge grooves, “What’s Good For You” and “Mom and Pops” shine in Jonah’s ability to create rich experiences through his art, providing good ol’ soul food or soul music, as it is often called. “Mom and Pops” takes us to a hopeful time in the future where we as a culture support our own. While “What’s Good For You” meshes Spoken Word, Hip Hop and Soul Music into one dope recipe filled with food for thought.

Having played with Miguel, Goapele, Ledisi, T.I., EPMD, Black Eyed Peas, and Heiro (just to name a few), as well as tearing up the Oakland’s underground scene, Jonah Melvon is back to making waves in an oftentimes monotonous industry. By making passionate music with an unwavering commitment to excellence Melvon has been able to carve out a lane of his own, all while keeping it cutting edge and true to self. Get familiar with The Bay Area legend through “Rain Water Project,’ available now on all digital streaming platforms.

Getmybuzzup: Tell us a little about yourself?

Jonah Melvon: I love God, my family, music and my city. My life is all about deeper connections and making my circle better while doing what we love.


Getmybuzzup: How long have you been in the music industry?

Jonah Melvon: I put out my first record 10 years ago, and I have been diversifying in the music game ever since. Anything to stay creative.


Getmybuzzup: How did you get started in the first place?

Jonah Melvon: My family has deep roots in soul music. They tried to convert me at an early age, but I was intimidated by the amount of talent that occupied my home. So really it wasn’t until college that I admitted my passion to be creative as an artist as well, and I got my start at open mics.

Getmybuzzup: How would you describe your sound?

Jonah Melvon: Classic undertones seem to always surface in my music. So whether I’m singing or rhyming, there’s a nostalgic feeling that takes place. I create music for more than a “sound” if you will. Meaning I create to convey a “feeling”, and this feeling for the most part, is “feel good music”. Part of that however may be stemming from trauma as a black male growing up in Oakland. So maybe subconsciously, I was writing these songs to create a safe space for me or for those around me.


Getmybuzzup: Who are your inspirations in the music industry?

Jonah Melvon: If you mean from a creative standpoint, I love the classics of Sade, Frankie Beverly, and Maze, to the more modern music of Musiq Soulchild, Daniel Ceasar, BlackStar, and Saba.


Getmybuzzup: How do you go about writing a song and what is your process?

Jonah Melvon: My process in writing music is different all of the time, and has evolved over the years. I used to write in a notebook, and if that wasn’t available and a song popped in my head, I would write on a receipt or my hand, or anything I could get ink on to. Now with all the technology that’s available, sometimes I’m recording melodies on my phone before words are written. Even my process with writing lyrics is so different now. Before I felt like my thoughts would be moving faster than my pen could move, and now I can simply use voice texts to keep up with my thoughts. Also writing songs over coffee, is always nice for me, depending on the mood of the song.


Getmybuzzup: What is the concept behind your latest project?

Jonah Melvon: Like most concepts, it evolved from its initial stage. The idea behind the title “RainWater Project”, was initially a few things. First off, when my daughter was about one years old, she had trouble going to sleep. Eventually my wife and I discovered this rain app, which we would play right before her bedtime. This discovery lead to her going right to sleep. This calming mood impacted me as a song writer, how it could settle all the madness of life in that moment. 2nd off, my wife would always mention how much we needed the rain, because we were going through a pretty bad drought at that time. And finally, one of the first songs I wrote on the record without having the title in place, (which is actually the last song on the record), is my song “Knockin”. Everything from the melodie to the harmonies, encompasses a feeling of “rain”. And going back to my point earlier, I create songs for a feeling or mood, more than a sound. All of these factors lead me to the concept of labeling the record, “RainWater Project”. RainWater is always needed, sometimes it can be peaceful, and sometimes it can be a storm.

Oakland Recording Artist Jonah Melvon Talks His Music Roots, His Writing Process, Inspirations & More [Interview]

Getmybuzzup: Any plans on touring to promote your latest project?

Jonah Melvon: I plan on jumping on some tour dates with some famous acts this year. Also I am doing the first ever music “Tech Tour”, entitled “Bridging the Gap”. Last year I had the privilege of playing at prominent companies like Pandora, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

While performing at these companies, one of the rising issues that kept arising, was “how do we create sustainability for artists to thrive in The Bay Area and cities along like?” The Bay has a rich history of attracting artists, activists and the like. Unfortunately, these communities are currently threatened in the Bay Area due to the ever changing climate of culture. We need to find a way for the arts and tech to work together for a better Bay Area. Our music is intentional and socially conscious. This tour will be soulful while bringing much needed awareness


Getmybuzzup: What did you buy with your first check off music?

Jonah Melvon: I have no recollection. I was probably more excited that I got paid from doing music, than what I bought. However, my tradition has always been to reinvest whatever returns I get from my music.

Getmybuzzup: What are must-haves when you’re in the studio working?

Jonah Melvon: Hot tea. Lol. Also I am big on having no distractions in the studio.


Getmybuzzup: What is the best piece of advice in this business you actually followed?

Jonah Melvon: The best advice I was given that I actually followed, was to give up some of my roles. There was a time that I wore way to many hats, which made me a “jack of all trades, but a master of nothing”. Giving up some of these roles, allowed my career to blossom, but I had to outsource the other foundational things I needed as an artists.


Getmybuzzup: Will you be collaborating with any other artists on this project or in the future?

Jonah Melvon: The “RainWater Project” features three amazing voices, Adesha, AlexisRose, and Yvette Pylant. Two of these young ladies happen to also be my siblings, which makes this record even more fulfilling.


Getmybuzzup: Do you think your music is mostly enjoyed more for the beats or for the lyrical flow and content?

Jonah Melvon: This is a great question. I really believe there is a fight between the vocals and the production on this album, which is very much by design. Sometimes you can “get lost” in the production, and sometimes you can “get lost” in the melodies and the lyrics. I have an incredible team around me that understands this is the vibe I’m trying to convey, so my hat is off to them for their execution!


Getmybuzzup: What area do you need to improve on in regards to your career? (Example: Better production, Delivery, Stage presence, etc..)

Jonah Melvon: I made a decision to surrender to the social media platforms, which was my biggest weakness, and I’m still working on it. For the longest time, people would ask me for my different social media handles, and I either wouldn’t have that social handle, or there was too much ambiguity.


Getmybuzzup: What’s your all-time favorite song?

Jonah Melvon: If anyone can answer this song my hat is off to them. My “favorite song” changes as I evolve as a person.

Getmybuzzup: In your opinion who is the most influential and successful artist in your genre today and why?

Jonah Melvon: With my genre being a crossover genre of hip-hop soul, this is still a limited group. There are a few that I identify with that rhyme and sing like Anderson Paak, Lauryn Hill, Ceelo, and Saba. Of this group, Lauryn still has had the biggest influence.


Getmybuzzup: Who have been some of your favorite artists that you’ve been able to work with?

Jonah Melvon: I am inspired by my community of artists in the Bay Area. The level of talent is so high, that so many dope artists get overlooked. With that said, I am proud to have worked with the three features on my record,  they are a force that will shine when the moment comes.


Getmybuzzup: How do you feel about the current state of music?

Jonah Melvon: There is so much great music available now. However, the misconception is that there actually isn’t. I believe what people are really saying, is that mainstream radio is not feeding their soul for the most part. But if you dig through the crates, ask a friend who does their research, you will find a lot of amazing jewels.


Getmybuzzup: Any dream award shows you hope to one day play at?

Jonah Melvon: I would love to play at the Grammys, and I would love to play at “tiny desk”. These are on my bucket list.


Getmybuzzup: What is your main goal as far as music?

Jonah Melvon: Music, is my platform to influence healthy movement and idealism. Being able to help someone smile, heal from a bad experience, become more aware of themselves and those around them, help someone build character, make someone want to fall in love, or help them to start their own company, brings great fulfillment to me.


Getmybuzzup: Who would you say your music relates to the most?

Jonah Melvon: Those who are pursuing change knowingly or unknowingly.


Getmybuzzup: What separates you from other artists? (What’s makes you different?)

Jonah Melvon: In my opinion, we are all different as artists, and as people altogether. However, for the most part, we get caught up in telling someone else’s story or brand, rather than our own.  We all have a different filter, why not share it from our perspective.


Getmybuzzup: When you’re not in the studio, What do you like to do for fun and relaxation?

Jonah Melvon: I was a fan of music long before I became and artists. I still love going to music shows and watching the well established to the house party bands. Also, I love basketball, and I’m fortunate to live in Oakland where the Warriors are killing it. Relaxation for me is good food and coffee with loved ones. No phones, no agenda, just being together.


Getmybuzzup: If you could work with any producer who would it be?

Jonah Melvon: Once again I am very fortunate to live in such a great city of artists,  where I, fortunately, met my friend and an amazing producer, Nabeyin. He is already becoming “that producer” that everyone wants to work with, it’s only a matter of time before he becomes a household name. Also, there are a hand full of producer homies here, who I know I will be tapping into. I realized that I needed to position myself first, to come back and have the necessary budgets, to give them the freedom they need to create.


Getmybuzzup: What’s the biggest highlight of your career thus far?

Jonah Melvon: I have had a few opportunities that have stood out. I was fortunate to have my own reality series shot by Warner Brothers, based upon my life as a waiter, trying to make it as a music artist. This opportunity leads me to being on mainstream radio. I also had the opportunity to be a ghostwriter for a company for 3 years, in which this content was placed on Billboard.


Getmybuzzup: What is your dream venue to perform at?
Jonah Melvon: More than the venue for me, would be with whom I’m performing, and the intent behind the show.


Getmybuzzup: What artist music are you currently a fan of?

Jonah Melvon: This ranges all over the place, depending on the mood. I can vibe to some classical, or to classic soul like Sade and Frankie Beverly, or to current artists like Daniel Ceasar, H.E.R and Saba.


Getmybuzzup: When performing live what are some of the things you do to get the crowd involved?

Jonah Melvon: Performance is “my thing”. When I’m at my best it becomes like I’m talking one on one with a person, a conversation if you will.


Getmybuzzup: When performing live and the crowd is singing along how does that energy make you feel?

Jonah Melvon: This feeling is priceless. To have people respect and admire something so much as to memorize it, is a feeling of awe for me.


Getmybuzzup: What’s the name of the last book you read and by whom?

Jonah Melvon: I’ve been reading the bible. Many of the influencers or motivational speakers I listen to like Gary V, for the most part, share the same undertones. The presentation is different, but the ideas are similar.


Getmybuzzup: What can we expect from you in the future?

Jonah Melvon: Soul, soul, and more soul. Anything that moves a nerve, helps you to remember the simple things, that’s moving in a “healthy direction”, I’m trying to be apart of.


Getmybuzzup: Anything else you wanna add?

Jonah Melvon: All of us have art in us, find it and the purpose behind it, set it free, and it could heighten your life.

Getmybuzzup: Where can the fans check out for your music?





About Jonah Melvon

Jonah Melvon is an Oakland legend with dreams to keep holding the game upon his shoulders. Singing, rapping, mentor to young cats, business owner, entrepreneur, activist, and connector Jonah lives and breathes The Bay. His music draws people to him with a familiar flare that makes people fall in love with his smooth swag. Old school soul with a heart to stand on the cutting edge of music, Jonah brings crowds back time and time again.
Whisper his name in any circle around The Bay and people remember his poetic delivery and the first time they got caught up in the experience he brings with every show. Whether at a festival, in an underground club for locals or on the big stage his performance is the same, Brilliant, and cannot be ignored.

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Oakland Recording Artist Jonah Melvon Talks His Music Roots, His Writing Process, Inspirations & More [Interview]

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