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With a sound as infectious as his spirited ambition, Jonn Hart is turning heads—and ears.

The young Bay Area singer/songwriter, is currently forging his own lane on the modern R&B highway. It’s easy to hear why Hart is one of the bright lights in the West Coast’s growing era of new melodic music.

Hart pegs his hybrid, new wave sound as “R&Bay Slap.” Describing himself as neither “a R&B singer nor a rapper,” Hart explains, “But I’m taking a hard-hitting 808 beat, putting a melody on top and then singing melodically on top of that. Yet a rapper can still rap to one of my beats. It’s modern R&B for a younger demo that’s had few voices to embrace.”

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area’s East Bay, Hart hails from a musical family. His mother sang in the church choir; his musician stepfather operated his own recording studio. As a pre-teen Hart began writing songs against beats crafted by his stepfather that sparked young Hart’s first oh-wow moment. “The first time I entered the recording booth, I knew I wanted to do this for the rest of my life.”

Hart began honing his singer/songwriter chops as a member of a group out of Oakland.

“That experience opened up my eyes to a whole other world between recording, radio and touring,” says Hart of his stint with the group. “It also helped me evolve as a vocalist and writer.”

For now, however, the focus is on rising star Hart—ready to stake his claim as part of modern R&B’s exciting new wave.