Emboldened by soul-pop power, dynamic delivery, robust production, and airtight song-craft, the Chicago-born and New York-based artist John Splithoff sparks an enthusiastic reaction from a rapidly growing fan base. “I want people to actually feel good physically when they listen to what I’m doing,” he smiles. “These songs have a strong sense of optimism and a real warmth to them. For me, it’s all about sharing that feeling.”
In hindsight, he seemed predestined to do so. Childhood basketball games with his big brother would be soundtracked by unpredictable mixtapes that shuffled from Mark Morrison’s “Return of the Mack” to Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing.” Inspired by this R&B undercurrent and a Beatles obsession inherited from his old man, he traded sports for music during high school. After studying jazz and songwriting at University of Miami, John headed New York City and posted up on his best friend’s couch in Harlem, penning innumerable ideas on guitar, piano, and bass and recording early demos.
“I moved to New York without a plan,” he admits. “I really didn’t know where I was headed, but I just kept writingandthere was one riff I couldn’t stop humming.” Said riff comprised the backbone for his independent breakthrough single “Sing to You.” Driven by a hypnotic howl, breezy guitar, and an unbreakable bounce, the track generated a staggering 30+ million streams and occupied coveted real estate on noted Spotifyplaylists. The simmering duet “Show Me” [feat. Madison Ryann Ward] maintained this hot streak in 2017 with nearly 20+ million streams as he inked a deal with Asylum Records. Meanwhile, he landed features from Billboard,Okayplayer, and more.
Boasting these early fan favorites as well as five other jams, his 2018 debut EP Make It Happenmerges message and melody seamlessly now. “The title Make It Happenis a reminder to myself not to focus on the destination, but to enjoy the journey with those around me,” he goes on. “It’s a pep talk to myself and anybody else willing to listen.”
With touring on deck and festival appearances at Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, and more, Make It Happen ultimately represents something of a mantra for John. “It’s a mindset,” he leaves off. Those words Make It Happen hold a lot of meaning. I hope my songs spread optimism and encourage people to be better versions of themselves. That’s what music does for me.”