Rising artist and producer John-Robert continues to tug at our heartstrings with “Healthy Baby Boy,” out today, along with a fittingly poignant video via Nice Life Recording Company and Warner Records. A mix of sad and sweet, the song wrings bright nostalgia from gentle guitar plucks, intimate vocals, and building production.
John-Robert wrote “Healthy Baby Boy” about his big move from his small-town in Virginia to Los Angeles to pursue his dream as a musician. A natural storyteller, the 20-year-old artist creates a stream-of-consciousness coming-of-age tale rich with personal detail and relatable emotion.
There’s juxtaposition as we go from an opening line that refers to him receiving a guitar from hitmaking producer Ricky Reed—“Ricky gifted me a Silvertone / Mom and Dad are proud that I am out and on my own”—to lyrics about lives ending and beginning back in Edinburg, VA.
“I wrote ‘Healthy Baby Boy’ after I’d uprooted my life,” says John-Robert, who was last heard duetting with Alessia Cara on Reed’s “Fav Boy.” “I was initially devastatingly lonely and became fairly depressed and reflective. But I realized I can still communicate my love for those in my life despite the distance, and this song is my journey towards feeling empowered by and appreciative of the opportunities I have that sometimes seem invisible at a glance.”
Directed by BROCKHAMPTON collaborator Spencer Ford, the “Healthy Baby Boy” video follows that journey almost literally as the artist says goodbye to his folks—Silvertone in hand—and lets his mind wander through a childhood of simple pleasures and innocent romance. Watch the video here.
“Healthy Baby Boy” reveals just how fast John-Robert is maturing. At age 16, he was invited out to L.A. by Reed, who’s described him as “a transcendent, once-in-a-generation singer and songwriter.” Sure enough, John-Robert’s 2019 independent release “Adeline” has amassed over 1.8 million streams and garnered fans like Camila Cabello, who recently posted an Instagram story praising it. Earlier this year, he recorded a breathtaking rendition of Fiona Apple’s “Criminal” for the Recording Academy’s® “ReImagined” video series. In May, he released his debut EP, Bailey Barely Knew Me, featuring “Adeline” and other standout tracks.