BEFORE: U-Jean in 2012 earning his second gold record with the German hit producers R.I.O. and their cover of “Summer Jam” (47 Mio views)
AFTER: U-Jean in 2020 after 8 years of creative emancipation and spiritual awakening. This is his DIY production: Female Body.
In 2012, Alex Hutson (aka U-Jean), a US-Army sergeant raised in Georgia stationed in Germany becomes the singer and face of the multi-gold record earning German EDM project R.I.O. feat. U-Jean.
The secret formula for a successful German international DJ Dance act has been quite simple:
Find an English speaking black singer, have him or her embody exoticism through authentic African American/British stage and vocal performance, produce an extreme party hit, and export the product from white Germany into the rest of Europe and the world.
Frank Farian, one of the most successful German producers of all time, had laid the foundation for this principle since the ’70s by producing worldwide evergreens made in Germany for acts such as Boney M. (1976: “Daddy Cool”) or Milli Vanilli (“Girl You Know It’s True”, 1989) and taking over the global media control charts.
A little later, another DJ team cooked up the same dish with their act Snap! (1990: “The Power”, 1992: “Rhythm is a Dancer”, ) confirming the golden rule.
Exactly 10 years later, when EDM made it back to the worldwide mainstream, the producer team of R.I.O. repeat the same phenomenon with their hits “R.I.O. feat. U-Jean – Turn this Club Around, Summer Jam, Animal” and many more.
They had sighted Alex Hutson (aka U-Jean) through his soul music cover shows that he had been doing parallelly and within his US-Army assignment for the European Band and Soldiers Chorus (2001-2009), performing, among other places, at the Kremlin for the highest-ranking politicians in the name of international diplomacy.
Raised in Georgia, USA by his gospel singing father, U-Jean’s true passion had always been writing and producing soulful music.
After he became inherently established in the European party scene, U-Jean composed his own EDM songs and with them, featured other famous DJs of the scene independent of, but also for R.I.O. (DJ Antoine – House Party, Mike Candys- Paradise, Carlprit – Domino, R.I.O. feat. U-Jean – Cheers to the Club). However, he could not unite his roots in black music with his EDM profile, as, from a marketing standpoint, both images would have portrayed an extreme contradiction and targeted completely different audiences.
U-Jean tours through European clubs and performs at EDM festivals and venues on the Spanish party island Mallorca “Ballermann” for over 10 years.
Ever since High School, he has always been a natural entertainer. His creative and sensitive spirit makes him a perfect peoples’ pleaser and passionate entertainer.
Teenagers and young Twens are letting go of their day-time inhibitions in euphoria the moment he enters the stage and lets the beat drop. Highly inspired to flirt, having a drink or more, they sing along the hits they all know by heart. The adrenaline on stage becomes the new norm to U-Jean for the next 10 years while the DJ-project profits most out of each show they do not physically attend. Even though the producer team slowly fizzles out the R.I.O. feat. U-Jean collaboration, as EDM seems to become less mainstream again, U-Jean has still been making his living with “the same old songs” until the present day. Still expected to exclusively represent the custom-tailored image of the “Sugar Daddy Party King”, only to be set out on a sinking ship, he felt strongly discouraged to prepare for a future of DIY marketing and releasing but received little marketing support from the label’s side at the same time. U-Jean had somewhat missed the train of social media emancipation when the project demanded control of the brand but had acted like the rest of the music label industry, missing out on the early stages of social media branding. But even nowadays, a decade later, the new generation still celebrates evergreen hits such as “Summer Jam”, with U-Jean as that persona on stage and watching his videos, but rarely seeing through to Alex Hutson’s character.
The first attempts to DIY-emancipation
As he posts his own new Motown ideas on Instagram live, his fans blindly continue to reply: “Sing Summer Jam!”. He writes hundreds of songs in hopes to collaborate with other professional EDM producers, but often they label his songs “too complicated”. They needed a more shallow message than ever, as European Dance had surrendered itself back to the party and non-English Native speaker niche only. So his songs have mostly been staying part of his home recordings studio’s archive as a mere outlet of creativity.
Enough is enough!
As his show salary decreases and his face becomes less recognizable, it happens more and more frequently that doorkeepers would stop him from entering the venue on nights he was paid to perform, due to racial discrimination and without having to justify the true reason, protected by the European standard nightclub policy of discrimination.
U-Jean’s inner strife for self-fulfillment, the limitation to represent a custom-tailored persona, failed attempts to persuade the label to continue the brand by himself, and the frequent experience of racism and objectification within his own workspace, causes him a spiritual breakdown and sets the foundation to a drastic evolution of his emotional and physical self.
The Shift in Consciousness
Alex U-Jean’s report about the beginnings and journey of his spiritual awakening and self-realization:
“I was coming home from a gig in 2008, listening to Eckhart Tolle’s book “The Power of Now”. I was in the last chapter when the author made a profound statement, that the key to living is “dying before you die”. Those words, among many others, were great catalysts to trigger a spiritual awakening in me. The life-changing wisdom I found in this holistic philosophy helped relieve the stresses of my touring schedule. I’m forever grateful to these texts to release me from the burden of mind- identification and take my mind off the 50 plus thousand miles I was traveling per year. I went through many ego deaths as I reflected on images I saw of myself on television and social media. My many opportunities to observe myself and to reflect upon my doing catapulted me out of myself, where I became the observer of my autonomous mind and egoic activity. I was impressed to end my loathing process and begin the encouragement of the peaceful and happy components of my being, the parts of me most near to my art and soul.”
Academic Sabbath Years
U-Jean’s personal statement about the significance of completing a university degree:
“I moved to Alabama in 2017 in search of mental clarity and space to pursue my university degree. My comfort zone was close to my parents, who reside in Tuscaloosa and in the Metro Atlanta area. While attending university, I overcame my fear of being unsuccessful as an academic and set out to be self-sufficient by studying music production and digital marketing.
“After four years of intense, grueling studies, I obtained my bachelor’s degree and graduate certificate. More so, I gained the confidence of knowing that I can persevere under pressure and deadlines, situations that I have always been reluctant to find the courage within empowering myself, but the self-confidence I was searching to fulfill all aspects of my passion.”
Ketogenic Vegan Diet & Intermittent Fasting
Alex Hutson comments on his extreme change in diet from processed stress foods to the vegan ketogenic diet combined with intermittent fasting:
“Just read any recent study concerning the connection between disease, and simple carbs, and meat consumption. You will understand why I have gone through this drastic physical and emotional evolution. I turned from a processed food eater to a vegan and a ketogenic diet, but I also developed a routine of intermittent fasting. If you do not trust science, look at every religious book that suggests healing your spiritual and physical form through that process. I do not want to dictate how people should live their lives. However, they should compare the way I look and generally appear now to how I used to five years ago. Working out only twice a month and regular meditation maintains me like this. It is instant gratification, which is, in my opinion, the best kind of satisfaction, and once implemented, requires no adjustments. If anybody needs advice and wishes to undergo the same transformation, please feel free to contact me on social media, and I am pleased to help every individual out. I believe health is not just a recreational lifestyle, but a process that will transform your body, mind, and soul. Is there a greater gift than undergoing this holistic process?”
Being A Full DIY-Artist
Alex U-Jean explains his comeback to pursuing soulful music:
“Rediscovering my interests and roots in soulful music was done upon a revelation that intelligence in music has been compromised in the industry’s pursuit of following trends. Modern bubble gum pop portrays shallow, surface-based instances of what the industry deems to be of public interest. The result of skimming the surface of the collective public, results in the public perpetuating that narrative. Throughout my time as an artist, I have seen the dumbing down of our cultural intelligence, as well as the industry’s failure to revive what used to be an art that was once taken very seriously. The days of Michael Jackson and Queen are gone, as well as the mediums that brought about their fame such as tape, vinyl, and CDs, only to be replaced with social streaming platforms. This massive overhaul, although a very liberating one, has begun to see quantity as a commodity, not quality. I have yet to see a singer that can put out singles faster than a rapper. This is disproportionate to the sheer amount of time it takes to produce harmony and melody, married with the lyric while conveying meaning, and doing it in a way that meets an audible industry-standard that can be recognized as “good music”. I search for a means to speed up the releasing process creatively and pragmatically. I sought out my academic journey with the ambitions of cutting out the middleman as a means to shortening the process from which song is written and when the song is released. Therefore, I hold nothing against the streaming industry; on the contrary, I no longer have to submit a work tape to a label and pray that they accept my art. My art is in my hands, and I would be the only one holding myself back from my empowerment through it. But unfortunately, because do-it-yourself singers have to acquire such a vast knowledge of technology in marketing, lyric, harmony, and melody composition, many do not have the time or resources to invest in this craft and are funneled into the industry and parked to the side, never to be heard of.
“I empower all singers and songwriters to learn all aspects of how a label uses its devices to promote you, the artist. Holding back the liberation of art in musical culture will inevitably cause us to forfeit the message in its entirety all due to the pursuit of monetary abundance. To wean our civilization off of the quick win to achieve the grand prize is the logical ingredient our society requires to raise the collective consciousness of the world.”
So no more EDM releases? But I wanna hear Summer Jam!
U-Jean’s statement about continuing EDM productions and touring in dance clubs and party music venues:
“That does not mean I will stop releasing dance songs, as I will always be passionate about entertaining happy party people. However, it certainly won’t be my only job to “work those b* on the floor” anymore, as a decade later, these WOMEN certainly have families and jobs as well. I believe my first fans expect a message that sits closer to the values they have today.”
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