The 25-year-old Jean Dawson is one of the most exciting artists to come out in the last few years. His blend of '90s alt-rock mixed with experimental music makes him a standout figure in the industry where most people stick to a formula that proves successful.
He has a unique identity and sound, which is a representation of being born and raised in the internet age. Dawson's visual style and sound are incredibly developed, and he's a budding star that will be more well known in the upcoming years.
His music feels like it evolves the more you listen to it. Sections of songs cut out randomly and begin an entirely new section without warning. The instrumentals for his songs are always powerful and interesting, but they never take away from his voice or hinder his message behind the music.
Dawson's songs are undoubtedly well-produced, and it feels as though an actual person makes his music instead of a sprawling team of individuals. Guitars and drums usually are the most important aspect of his songs besides his voice.
One of the most unique aspects about Dawson is the amount of time he spends working on visuals for his projects. For his debut album, “Pixel Bath,” his music videos play an important role in showing us who he is.
In the music video for “Power Freaks,” Dawson hangs from the back of a pickup truck while effortlessly rapping the lyrics to the song as the colors and atmosphere change around him. It is startling but instantly memorable, and I find myself constantly coming back to watch it. Different camera angles make the video incredibly interesting, and it carries the energy of a punk song.
An aura of independence surrounds his work, as he's not signed to a label but still has an expansive videography team. Being unsigned allows him to keep most of his royalties he makes off of his music without having to split between a label and a publisher.
While most signed artists have to maintain a facade of wealth to impress their followers, most independent artists are able to live quite comfortably without worrying about debt or middle-men. Dawson makes it known to everyone that follows him that he is unsigned, and he seems to be very proud of that fact.
His social media also offers a glimpse into Dawson’s personality: He mostly posts film pictures of himself with obscure captions or shows off his different tattoos and piercings. This sense of humanity is not seen in most signed or established artists, and it makes him more unique and identifiable. It feels real and authentic, and you actually feel like you’re learning something about a person you care about.
His work has not gone unnoticed. He has received interviews from The Fader and is featured on Pigeons & Planes' Best New Artists newsletter. This important press coverage sends his music to a wider audience and widens his appeal. While these magazines do not have the same audience as Billboard or Vogue, music-lovers especially will be more akin to check out his music and image.
Independent artists typically feel much more grounded than established pop acts such as Justin Bieber and The Weeknd. While these artists have found their niche and stuck to it, most independent artists are still finding their footing and focus on genuineness rather than a polished product and sound.
Dawson is a rare example of an independent artist who knows exactly who he is and what he wants to make. He will become a force to be reckoned with within the next few years, and he has stated he has no plans of stopping anytime soon. He is a shining example of knowing what you want and actively pursuing it.