Music Monday: UT freshman reflects on musical journey and latest song ‘wasting my time’

Prisha Mehta, General Life & Arts Reporter

Raised in England by a musician father, Jon Colambo spent most of his life immersed in music. Artists like The Beatles, The Ramones and Stevie Ray Vaughn filled his childhood home and inspired him to learn the guitar. 

“My dad listened to classic rock from the Philippines, and The Beatles and The Ramones,” said Colambo, an undeclared freshman. “(I) was inspired by my dad, so that made me want to learn (guitar). I asked him and years later, I’m making my own music.” 

Colambo continues to pursue his love for music by writing and producing his own songs, in genres ranging from psychedelic rock to blues and bossa nova. The artist currently has two songs released on streaming platforms: “Babygirl” released in July 2020 and “wasting my time” released on Aug. 18. 

Before he started writing songs, Colambo said he spent years posting covers on social media. Two years ago, Colambo’s guitar skills caught the attention of alternative R&B artist SZA, who shared his cover of her song “Good Days” to her millions of Instagram followers. 

“People started tagging (SZA) in the comments. I got lucky, and she saw it and liked it and reposted it,” Colambo said. “I think that was one of my biggest accomplishments so far.”

While Colambo continues to post covers on TikTok for his 49,000 followers, he began teaching himself production skills. The singer-songwriter said that watching YouTube videos and consistently practicing has helped him turn his ideas into fully produced songs. 

“I never really took formal music lessons, so I don’t know much music theory … but I’ve definitely discovered things on my own,” Colambo said.  

Theo Andrews, a music business student at Full Sail University, said they have watched Colambo grow tremendously over the past few years, describing his latest song as “majestic.”

“I’ve listened to his SoundCloud since seventh grade, and he has definitely progressed,” Andrews said. “I love all his music and I’m not just saying that because Jon’s my friend … that song’s on my playlist.”

Hoping to major in radio-television-film or arts and entertainment technologies, Colambo said he aims to take every opportunity available to him in college to grow his musical skills and knowledge.

“I joined KVRX last semester. I am a DJ there where I curate my own playlists. I’m also a live audio intern for Local Live, where I help set up the bands over there and mix their sound,” Colambo said. “(They) teach me a lot of things about music production, and (I) definitely apply that to my own (music).”

As Colambo wraps up his first year at UT, he said he wants to continue making music and inspire others to create their own.

“In the future, I’m just gonna keep making music, promoting it on my TikTok, maybe grow a loyal fanbase and go from there,” Colambo said. 

Fellow KVRX DJ Nani Wondwossen said she believes Colambo has the skill, talent and commitment to succeed in the music industry.

“He’s very authentic … There’s not a lot of artists who are as committed and who love music (as much as him),” said Wondwossen, a sustainability studies freshman. Not only does he have a natural talent but also the technical skill to make sure his career goes far.”