Song: Jon Waltz – “Riot”

After Seven Months of Musical Silence, The Memphis Artist Returns With a “Gutsy Song About Growing Up”


Critical Praise for Jon Waltz

“At 19 years old, Jon Waltz puts the typical college sophomore/aspiring rapper to shame” – Pigeons & Planes

“(Jon Waltz) is pushing culture and social issues in a way that young people can relate to”Sway’s Universe

“Waltz has drawn comparisons to Drake for his ability to craft hooks and seamlessly weave between rapping and singing, as well as his introspection, but with the world his tight lyricism paints and his recurring character Alyss (Waltz’s Sherane), comparisons to Kendrick Lamar should also be fair game.” – Complex

The Song: 

Singer/rapper Jon Waltz is an artist who exists outside of the hype cycle, avoiding the industry pressure to release as much music as possible, only dropping new music when it meets his high standards. Blessed with equally impressive ability as a singer and a rapper, Jon Waltz’ distinctive style won him a legion of devoted fans all over the country. Premiered today by Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 radio show and the FADER, Waltz returns with “Riot,” his first new release in seven months. An inventive track with a unique song structure, “Riot” features a brilliant chorus, several infectious bridges, and poignant lyrics. As Jon describes, “It’s about who I was five years go versus who I am today. The main message is in the hook, where I say, ‘Hope someone sees and puts me out / instead they start a riot,’ describes how people can act out because they want help and don’t know how to ask for it. It’s misinterpreted as a call for more people to act out instead of lend a helping hand.” Produced with impressive warmth by Eric Lynch, Jack Dine, and RNDYSVGE, their soft keys, thumping drums, loping bass, and organ flourishes provide a compelling backdrop for 21-year-old artist’s homespun and relatable storytelling. “Riot” is Jon Waltz’ second single of 2016 following February’s “Justified,” which racked up 1.23 million plays on SoundCloud.

Born and raised in Memphis, TN, Jon Waltz first demonstrated his talent in 2014, when he released Alyss, his debut EP. Documenting a 19-year-old mind fighting back against depression and disloyalty, Alyss received critical acclaim from publications such as Pigeons & Planes and Complex, who compared the artist to both Drake and Kendrick Lamar, and prompted LA Weekly’s Jeff Weiss to claim that “if [Jon] keeps it up, he could be one of the few artists that actually figure it all out.” With these accolades and cosigns from Jaden Smith and Lyor Cohen under his belt, “Riot” marks the first step towards Waltz’ next career move: his first full-length, due Spring of 2017.

Listen to “Riot”:

Check out the FADER’s premiere:

Please contact Michelle or Dharmic for more info.

Jon Waltz Background:

Stoic faces, downers, and the digital glow of phone addicts encircled Memphis artist Jon Waltz as a teen, his city’s violent undertow threatening to drag him under. Armed with nothing but USB bedroom mics and a storyteller’s pen, he holed up to stay afloat, soon revealing his gifts for the first time with 2014’s Alyss. His debut EP documented a then-19-year-old mind fighting back against depression and disloyalty. Acclaimed by coveted publications (HotNewHipHop, Complex, RESPECT, Pigeons & Planes), unfiltered, and just 25 minutes long, Alyss signaled the arrival of a multidimensional perspective sorely missed both within and beyond Tennessee’s borders. It didn’t take long for industry titans to notice what was brewing down south; public cosigns from the likes of Lyor Cohen and Jaden Smith soon followed. Collective buzz had Jon positioned to blow. “Riot” is poised to push Jon past the tipping point. Politically charged and infused with old school soul, Jon’s finest work to date kicks open the doors to his first-ever full-length, White Fun, the result of two years of laborious tinkering. Jon’s sound mirrors deep-rooted conflict. He spins a story scored by the bluegrass of yesterday one moment and industrial futurism the next, moving through time to discover the ups and downs of life for kids who don’t fit in.


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