Hustle and humility have taken Jonathan Resto Quiñone, better known as Jon Z, from freestyling in front Juncos’ Grand Cheese Pizza to one of the most sought-after Latin trap acts around. Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Jon Z first erupted into the music scene in 2014 after uploading his freestyles to YouTube. People immediately took notice of his unique reggaeton and American hip-hop/trap sound which is said to be a “Puerto Rican counterpoint” to rappers such as Young Thug and Future. By regularly publishing electrifying content, Jon Z quickly scaled his popularity across borders garnering over 2.3MM million monthly Spotify listeners, 2.4 MM Instagram followers and over 1.2MM YouTube and Vevo subscribers to date.
Jon Z’s journey to the top shows no signs of slowing down. His most recent remix, ‘Viajo Sin Ver Remix’ topped Spotify’s coveted ‘Trap Land’ playlist (which has over 1.2MM subscribers). As Jon Z prepares for his upcoming European tour, he took the time to share his thoughts about his journey to success, the Latin music explosion on the industry, and more in his exclusive interview with Vydia. Here’s what he had to say:
What motivated you to pursue a career in music?
At the beginning, I was motivated by fame, but that was when I was ignorant. I’ve wanted to be a singer since I was 13 years old because I wanted to be famous and known by everyone. As I got older and realized what life is about, it became clear that I need this to be okay and help my family prosper as well as loved ones around me.
What was it about the Latin Trap genre that drew you to it?
Well, Trap didn’t trap me, I trapped Trap. Since I was a kid, I’ve always listened to music in English. I listened to American hip-hop and since then it was easy for me.
Who has been your biggest influence?
I have many influences. I would say Eminem and Lil Wayne. From this generation Travis Scott and Diffusion.
From freestyling outside your job at Juncos’ Grand Cheese Pizza back in 2014 to topping Spotify’s Latin Trap playlist –– what’s the biggest factor that has contributed to your success?
The most important factor is to be humble and to know who you are no matter how much money or fame one has. This has helped me a lot and has been a key factor in my career- being myself without trying to pretend anything else, no matter what.
With latin urban music topping the charts and global streaming being up 110%, what do you think has spurred this surge in Latin music globally over the last year?
I believe the new strain of musicians like Osuna and Anuel have provoked this surge. I would also say pop artists, like Luis Fonsi, whose major hit is now a reggaeton, have played a role in making this genre number one worldwide. “Trap like Osuna’ with its new reggaeton flow and that new aura that it has and many more artists, all the new artists as well as Pop artist are doing reggaeton, like Luis Fonsi and many more. That is what has helped the genre right now to be number one.
As your popularity pushes across borders, do you anticipate moving outside of Puerto Rico? If so, where in the world would you like to reside?
I don’t want to move out of Puerto Rico, or from my hometown near Junco, Puerto Rico. If I did move, I like California and love Los Angeles. I also like New York but I prefer Los Angeles.
If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be?
If I could collaborate with anyone, I would like to work with Lil Wayne, Eminem, Jay Z, Drake, Travis Scott, Maná, Romeo, with Osuna and more. I can go on forever.
Do you plan to eventually create music in English?
Yes, one day, when I feel I am ready, I will record in English. Believe me, I will do it. Even if I don’t release it and just listen to it on my own.
You got your start by creating freestyle videos on YouTube, and have grown your channel to over 1.2MM subscribers. What is the secret sauce behind your streaming success?
Well, my secret ingredient in YouTube is…. nothing … just music. I am successful on YouTube because I throw in songs that are catchy and find what’s liked by my audience. Uploading music daily on your channel will also slowly attract viewers and followers.
What’s the best piece of advice you received as a creator?
The best advice I have received… Honestly, I have been given so many… And believe me, I have followed every piece of advice, that’s why I’m here. Many artists have told me to be myself, always, wherever I am, just be yourself, don’t try to pretend to be anything else. I always have that on my mind, wherever I go, I am myself no matter what.
What advice would you give to aspiring Latino creators?
Fight for your dreams and believe in yourself. Trust yourself and don’t let bad criticism affect you. Only follow constructive critique. Learn from life, from each person and each thing as everything teaches you something. I would also say be humble and be good to others. Don’t think you are above anybody just because you have more material things. There are many, many factors for success and you have to gather all of them because if one is missing, you’re not going to achieve it. It all needs to come together and in focus.
What is a fun fact no one knows about you?
I like Coca-Cola and Sprite.
With new music on the way soon, this is just the beginning for Jon Z. To stay up to date on every release, make sure you follow him on social media. Keep an eye out on our blog page for the next Vydia Spotlight.