Indie artists blowing up on social media is the norm in today’s music industry, but JVKE is more than just another young creative riding the wave of his newfound Tik Tok fame.
Born Jacob Lawson in Providence, Rhode Island, the 21-year-old singer/songwriter grew up with intertwined religious and musical experiences in his early years. He began writing songs and playing piano in church, likely influenced by his father, a pastor, and his mother, a music teacher. At age 14, JVKE was using Logic Pro to produce his original music.
The year 2020 changed the course of JVKE’s life, as it did for many. During the COVID-19 pandemic, JVKE joined Tik Tok and released his first single, “Upside Down” later that year. The song went viral and eventually garnered the attention of Charlie Puth, who collaborated with the young artist on a remix of the single. Another single, “this is what falling in love feels like,” also became widely popular online and was used as a sound in millions of Tik Tok videos.
But JVKE’s unique sound, tinged with his classical influences, is most evident in his luscious, summery single, “golden hour.” The romantic ballad soars from a light piano hook in the opening to rich strings and aching minor chords on the peak of the chorus.
“One day I was messing around on the piano and came up with this piano melody. I was heavily inspired by Franz Liszt, an 1800’s composer,” JVKE revealed to Brigid Young of Tongue Tied Magazine. “His music is very impressionistic and you can definitely feel that on the track.”
“golden hour” peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, and before long multiple record companies were banging down JVKE’s door with multi-million dollar contracts. However, the young artist declined the offers and has chosen to remain independent for the time being.
“I think if you’re going to go independent, you really do need to … listen to the [fans] because that’s where you’re going to find the most success,” JVKE told Chris Eggertsen in an interview with Billboard. Through marketing his music on Tik Tok, JVKE feels he can better connect with his fans as an indie artist.
Stream JVKE’s debut album, this is what ____ feels like, on Spotify.