Homebrew Spotlight: Jon Houghton

The April 14th Homebrew set spotlighted a performer named Jon Houghton, a Junior French major and member of The Stairwells. After a few minutes of technical delays, Jon took the stage accompanied by Clayton Perry to begin with a few acoustic songs, written entirely by himself. Crowd favorites included “The Pants Song,” a clever tune about pants and their effects on the opposite sex, and an amusing ballad about man-love which was passionately directed at Houghton’s stage-mate. The set became a bit schizophrenic when Houghton ditched the guitars for a macbook with self-made beats. Tracks like “Mardi Gras Swagger” incorporated Houghton’s French skills as he seamlessly switched between languages. I appreciated the dynamism of Houghton as an artists, the energy he brought on stage, and the impromptu dance party in Lodge 1.

Name: Jon Houghton
Age: 20
Grade: Junior
Major: French

How did you get into music and performing?
I’ve been playing music and performing for as long as I can remember. Being the youngest brother of four, I’m sure I did anything that would win me brief seconds of anyone’s attention. In middle school I would sit at home in my room and write out raps for the local radio station’s contests, but I don’t think i ever realistically considered calling in.

How many Homebrews have you done and how would you describe your last Homebrew?
This is only my second Homebrew, although i’ve been a guest for a few as well. My last Homebrew was equally exciting for me. I like to set my standards at a reasonable level…people showed up so i was pretty content. I love any opportunity to perform for people and am grateful to whatever support I receive.

What artists have influenced you?
I’m a big fan of artists who can find more to talk about than just the over-played scenarios involving women, guns, drugs, and money. Artists who can include real world issues and even humor in their music like Lupe, the Cool Kids, The Roots, Rebecca Black…I’m also inspired very regularly by Soulja Boy. I like to use him as a general guideline of what not to sound like.

You sing and rap- how are they different to get into and which is more fun?
Singing is a lot harder to do in a live setting, especially when you’re moving around a lot. Along the same lines, when I’m writing my songs i usually forget to leave places to breathe in between singing and rapping, which makes some of my songs really hard to perform. Rapping is definitely more fun since there is total freedom in form and content of what I write.

Do you write your own songs? If so, what is the process like?
I do write all of my own music and have just started to make my own beats as well. I probably have about 20 songs that I’m in the middle of right now. I frequently find myself producing a track and putting in the first verse and chorus before losing interest and totally forgetting about the project. My short attention span functions as a very necessary quality control in this situation.

Do you plan on pursuing a career in music? If not, what do you hope to do?
I’m certain music will remain a part of my life regardless of what I do, but it won’t ever be the way I earn a living. There are too many talented musicians who already don’t get the attention they deserve. I would feel guilty placing myself in the same category as those who take what they do seriously.

Best performance memory?
I performed with Andrew Fickley at his homebrew and we had to start our song over because I had come up on stage slurpin’ on a nutty buddy. It was soon my time to come in but I was still chewing, so i just stood there awkwardly with my mouth full until Andrew stopped and restarted.

If you could live anyone’s life for a day, who would it be?
Mr. Peanut. He seems like a pretty suave fella. You just can’t go wrong with a monocle and a top hat.

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The Virginia Informer is a student-run publication at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. The newspaper contained five sections: News, Features, Sports, Arts & Culture, and Opinion

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