“Holding On” by Jon Gonzalez
In his new single, “Holding On,” Jon Gonzalez showcases his phenomenal vocal skills amidst an atmospheric melody not typically found in today’s hottest pop ballads, and despite borrowing from some classical themes in the genre, there’s never any disputing the originality of his narrative in the song. Gonzalez artfully straddles a gentle rhythm with a pastoral piano part that never protrudes upon the dynamic range of his voice, and although there’s not a lot of room in this mix for bells and whistles, he manages, nonetheless, to create a lot of cerebral energy with his execution that simply wouldn’t have been here with someone else at the helm of the mic. If “Holding On” is to be described with traditional terminology, it’d best deemed an identity single from an artist ready to get his share of the limelight.
As I mentioned, this track is tightly produced, and while I listened as closely as I could for cosmetic hiccups, there just aren’t any to be picked apart. “Holding On” is relatively simple from a compositional perspective, and though it isn’t reinventing the wheel with its soft pop stylizations and mild alternative hue, I don’t know that it was designed to revolutionize a genre or necessarily break any new ground for music as a whole. I get the feeling that, at the core of his motivations, Gonzalez is trying to establish himself as a consistent, unfanciful singer/songwriter in this song, and in doing so, leaving the extra fat off of his plate was as important a move as any other he’s made thus far.
It would be really interesting to hear “Holding On” live, mostly to see how much of the vocal warmth would carry over to a stage setting. There’s an embracive energy Gonzalez brings to the table in this song that instantly captivates anyone listening within moments of his voice’s first appearance, and if he’s able to make the same kind of magic in a crowded concert hall full of people eager to hear something chill-inducing, his could become one of the more noteworthy shows worth seeing in 2020. He’s definitely coming out of the woodwork at a particularly competitive time in the history of pop music, but with the chops he’s showing off in “Holding On,” I don’t think he’s going to face as much of an uphill battle as some of his less than erudite peers inevitably will.
Jon Gonzalez still has a lot of room for artistic growth, but if you ask me, he’s well on his way to making a signature brand of music in “Holding On” that any serious pop fan would be wise to take a close look at this winter season. 2020 is finally here, and with its dawn comes a new era in the American underground that will ultimately be led by artists just like, and including, this one. His moxie is formidable, his aesthetical grasp as diverse as any of us could ask for it to be, and with just a little more time and cultivation, it’d be safe to say that this guy’s music is going to be a tough train to slow down.