Jon Salt was literally born to travel the globe. Originally from the small, European city of Moines and raised in Hawaii, the active-duty solider has already accumulated impressive mileage. His personal and professional lives have landed him in different townships; most recently, settling in Seattle. But a new home for this artist is where hip-hop “heart meets art” as Belgium-bred Salt puts Maui on the “Itchy Metal” map as the 25th artist to join the growing Los Angeles indie label.
By self-admission, Jon-Michael Salter grew up in rough areas where tough choices led to mistakes, questionable associations and a few scrapes with the law. But along with the hardened environment, Jon also discovered the powerful impact of music. Through art, he found an inner calling and soon developed a personal affection and strong connection with the hip-hop genre.
Taking stage at a young age, Salt competed in his first freestyle competition at age 12. As he got older, he continued to nurture his drive and competitive spirit. In 2001-2003, he was named Hawaii State B-Boy of the Year, Four Corner B-Boy of the Year and performed at the 2006 Washington Freestyle Cypher and Performance at Club 131 in Seattle.
Although managing a full-time military career, Jon’s passion for live performance doesn’t slow down. Always ready to take center stage, Jon entertained the troops in 2008 at Club Tel Afar, Iraq while he was on active-duty deployment with the 4/6 Air Cavalry.
In addition to performances, Salt stays an active contributor on the hip-hop scene, creating a demo tape and eventually releasing a debut album, “Problem,” in 2009. An EP, “Failure to Adapt” quickly followed in 2010 introducing the world to his song “Champion” which will be featured in an upcoming national Nike commercial.
With a solid network of world-wide fans and industry taste-makers, it wasn’t long before Jon Salt’s dealings crossed paths with other music movers in the Seattle community including Kevin “A.K.A.” Johnson. As a recent addition, Johnson’s referral of Salt to Itchy Metal was natural. IME appealed to Salt’s desire to find an innovative distro-channel, nurtured his multi-genre background and provided him the freedom and control over the future of his own music career.
“Jon and I met unconventionally,” recalls Ed Fassio, President of Itchy Metal Entertainment. “He posted a song God Loves Ugly on our label page and my first focus was the artwork. From the imagery, I thought it was a heavy metal piece – but when the track opened it had this infectious draw. I sent a reply message complimenting his work. More material followed and from that I was able to experience the brilliance of his art. The instrumentation is very catchy – really great production work and his lyrics are both timely and relevant.”
With a multitude of influences that include a mosh of styles and flavors, the young hip-hop artist cites Lena Horn, Stevie Wonder, Mos Def, Norah Jones, the Goo Goo Dolls, Tom Petty and Michael Jackson as just some of the musicians that have contributed to his own creations. With an eye for talent and desire for original score, he composes his own music and lyrics and often collaborates with his own team of artists, many of whom are still active-duty Soldiers.
Salt’s style has been described as the combined elements of “Eminem and Kanye” and his smooth delivery is an understandable reference. But Salt isn’t satisfied with only developing himself. Currently working with five other musicians, he states, “It’s about finding and fostering other young hip-hop artists as well. I’m always looking for talent … God blessed me with an ear to hear potential, and one of my biggest things is artist development.”
For his most recent project, Salt combined forces with producer DJ Duwayne Phinnisey at Remedy Recording in Tacoma. The result is Jon Salt’s opus ,”My Beautiful Insanity” set to release in the summer of 2011 via Itchy Metal Entertainment.