Saint JHN | Before They Were Famous | From Writing for Rihanna To Trap, 3 Below & Roses

Saint JHN | Before They Were Famous | From Writing for Rihanna To Trap, 3 Below & Roses

Before SAINt JHN would become one of the most
unique new artists with his genre bending sound and honest lyrics Before SAINt JHN would write songs for DVSN,
Usher, Jidenna and collab with Lil Baby for his most recent single “Trap” Before SAINt JHN would have over 134,000 subscribers
on YouTube and over 172k followers on Instagram Before hip-hop legend Kareem ‘Biggs’ Burke
would make his return to the music business after close to a 15-year hiatus just to sign
SAINt JHN to a management deal off of pure belief in his talent Saint Jhn’s rise in the rap game was not
a traditional path. In fact, he started behind the scenes as a songwriter before ever getting
notice for his skills on the mic. And even his BEHIND the scenes process took a long
time. He spent 2 months writing for Rihanna, and not one of his songs ended up getting
used. In between that he dabbled in hotel management and even modeling. Can you guess
which major brand he modeled for? Stick around until the end of the video to find out. But
Saint JHN built himself up and found a way into the mainstream through his own voice.
Like he wrote on Facebook back in 2010: “Progress is a slow process, but I ain’t
got nothing but time” This is the story of Saint JHN. What’s going on good people in the comment
section? I hope you’re having one Hecht of a day, my name is Jeremy Hecht, here for
you today on Before They Were Famous as we take you through the life and career of Saint
JHN prior to fame. This is the show where we document the journey of your favorite entertainers
in hopes of inspiring you and showing you that you can reach your goals too. If you’re
new here, I’m the LA host for the channel, so good to meet you! Somebody called me Jeremy
Corny Jokes Hecht in a comment and said they were getting used to me, so I’ll it. And
if you’re familiar, then you know I’ve covered other artists on this channel like
Lil TJay and Polo G so be sure to check those out after you finish watching this one! Also
let us know who to cover next in the comments down below! Now let’s get into the show! Carlos St. John was born in Brooklyn, New
York and is of Guyanese decent, even splitting his time in three-year intervals between Brooklyn
and Georgetown, Guyana, where his dad lived. He doesn’t talk about his age, because he
believes it’s only a concept. So in other words, he still hasn’t said how old he is,
but I did some digging and I actually found out his birthday. But I won’t go against
his wishes, I’ll just say he’s not 40, but he’s also not 20. Alright, In Guyana, he didn’t grow up with
much but says that he was unaware of his poor circumstances. He would run around the neighborhood
barefoot and bathe in the rain. At 7 or 8 years old he was even riding on his father’s
motorcycle scooter to get around. As for his home in Brooklyn: His mother later became a minister having
her own church but when Carlos was a child, she worked as a nurses’ aid and wasn’t
making much money. She couldn’t afford to keep him and his siblings around so she would
send them back and forth to live with their father every three years. His mother always
made him read a lot of books growing up so he was always very good with words. His mother
would listen to church music but it wasn’t what Jhn wanted to hear at the time. He also
grew up listening to a lot of Caribbean music, later getting into Jay Z during the volume
3 era while living in Guyana. That was the album that changed his perspective on a lot
of things. The first show he ever saw live was Supercat and Beanie Man in Guyana, which
he can still vividly imagine to this day. But when he was 12 years old he was inspired
by his older brother to begin creating music. His older brother would rap in their neighbourhood
to his friends and after Carlos saw what his big bro could do with words, he knew he had
to try it out for himself. He told XXL: “My brother was the only older representative
as a male. So if he was a rapper, I was a rapper. If he was a fisherman, I was a fisherman.
If he was a cop, I was a cop. I just followed him down any dark path. I came home one day
and I saw him rapping in the corner of a cypher. I didn’t even know what a cypher
was, and that was it.” In junior high he would literally just rap
his brother’s bars. The middle school kids thought he was a genius because of how clever
they were. Ironic that he started off rapping someone else’s words and gradually became
the dude who wrote verses for other people, but we’ll get to that. Carlos realized that
he should probably start writing his own lyrics. Plus, he moved back to Guyana and his brother
stayed in New York so he didn’t have a new supply of his bro’s raps. So he sat down
and wrote his first song during his freshman year of high school while living in Guyana.
At first, he was actually writing and recording using his given name of Carlos St. John. And while illegal activity was surrounding
him in Brooklyn, and was even in his family, Carlos stayed away from a life of hustling.
He told The Fader: “I tried my hand at it but I didn’t like
it. It didn’t fit me quite the same. My teeth are too straight, my skin is too smooth. It
just didn’t work for me the same way, but for everyone around me, that’s what was normal.” In terms of actual jobs, he was a manager
of a hotel at one point. But after his freshman year, Carlos moved back to Brooklyn and attended
high school there. In 2010, he dropped The St. John Portfolio
as well a new song every week for 8 straight weeks that became the “In Association”
mixtape using his real name. He was also calling himself the Black James Bond at the time.
He described his early sound as angry and much less musical than his current stuff.
Some of his music got early placements on HipHopDX and Pigeon’s and Planes. There
was one song he made to send over to his friend and only uploaded the demo version on soundcloud
to show him. When he refreshed the page, the song had a couple hundred plays. His song made its way to the ears of BMG music
exec Zach Katz, who flew Carlos out to LA to meet. He loved his writing style and thought
that he could be a good fit as a songwriter for some of his artists. Zach asked JHN a
question with a serious look on his face. He asked: “Do you want to rap or do you want to make
a million dollars?” Carlos answered with the latter, and Katz
put him to work writing for his artists. One of them being none other than Bad Gal RiRi.
So Carlos wrote songs for Rihanna for two months straight in hopes of catching his big
break as a writer. But unfortunately, not even one of his songs were accepted. He returned
home empty handed and no further along in his career. But his first real break would come after
co-writing the song “No Interruption” for rapper Hoodie Allen, who if you don’t
know who he is, I’ve gotten it my whole life. Everyone says that we look alike….
Actually one time I went to a Hoodie Allen concert in Minneapolis and someone saw me
in a Chipotle and thought I was him. Anyways, “No Interruption” debuted at
#10 on the Billboard 200 chart and the song currently has over 35 million views on YouTube.
That kickstarted a career in songwriting for Carlos who wrote songs for other big name
artists. His first major mainstream artist credit was for Usher on the songs “Crash”
and “Rivals” for his album Hard II Love. On songwriting, he told HipHopDX: “I started out making music for myself,
and I fell into song writing … I took the opportunity because I wanted to see what it’s
like to be like to be selfless… You never get to a place where you’re completely selfless,
because… you’re introducing your story to someone, and then you’re giving up the
voice to sing it.” But he still felt a void in his purpose. Writing
for other people allowed him a shot, but it didn’t allow him the same opportunity to
put his all into the work. He couldn’t give the same intensity and emotion to someone
else’s songs as he would be able to do for his own. After pitching his work to more than
40 artists as demo songs, managers and A&R’s would all come back telling him the same thing.
“I can’t pitch this to my artist, this sounds like you.” But that was when JHN
knew that he had stumbled upon his sound. So, in 2016, Carlos released his first song
under the new rap moniker “Saint JHN” titled “1999.” He shot a video for the
song in Coney Island and the eerie instrumental mixed with the distorted vocals delivered
by JHN struck a chord with listeners. The video has now grown to over 700k views on
YouTube at the time of this recording. He released two more songs under his new name
called “Reflex” and his single “Roses,” with the dark yet original video premiering
on The Fader. The song is now sitting at more than 5 million plays on soundcloud. And then
he got a call from Post Malone’s team to open up for him on the West Coast run of his
“Hollywood Dreams” tour. But he was basically the opener to the opener to the opener so
not many people were at the show during his performances. And while his solo artistry was starting to
bubble, his songwriting run continued, appearing as a credited writer for Jidenna’s album
“The Chief” in 2017. As well as writing the song “Can’t Wait” for DVSN’s 2017
Album “Morning After.” He credits his songwriting experiences as a confidence booster
saying: “They taught me that I was good enough.
Imagine you’re standing next to a hero of yours — someone you’ve been admiring for
two decades, or a decade, or 10 days, or five minutes — and you’re there because of
something that you crafted for yourself. It tells you that you deserve to be in the room.” He also performed at some festivals including
Rolling Loud, where he made waves for his live performance abilities. 2 years after
opening for Post, at certain venues, he was headlining his own tour at some of those venues. His debut album “Collection One” dropped
in March of 2018 and prior to the album dropping, his streaming numbers had reached 50 million
stream combined on all digital platforms. He was also hired by Gucci as a model for
their “Guilty” campaign. But his modeling career was short-lived and he decided he had
already done enough to complete other people’s vision, it was time to focus solely on his
own. He accumulated over 150 million streams on
all platforms combined and ended up signing a partnership deal with LA Reid’s Hitco
record. And more recently, Kareem ‘Biggs’ Burke would make his return to the music business
after close to a 15-year hiatus just to sign SAINt JHN to a management deal off of pure
belief in his talent. Biggs was previously a staple in the Roc-A-Fella
Dynasty with Jay Z and Dame Dash, selling more than 60 million albums combined and executive
producing all of Jay’s albums up until “The Black Album,” before selling his shares
and leaving the company. He said that he had lost his passion for music and while he was
glad they created history, he wasn’t trying to recreate it. All of that changed when Biggs heard SAINt
JHN’s music. Roc Nation co-founder Tyran Smith had played a snippet for him of JHN’s
album and after driving home listening to “Collection One,” he immediately connected.
Biggs and JHN became friends after meeting at a fashion show and after playing some more
new music for him, Biggs was convinced. Biggs told Billboard: “He will be the next biggest artist and brand
in the world.” As for the rest of the story, well you know
the story because this is Before They Were Famous. Let me know who to cover next as always
in the comments down below, follow me on Insta @jeremy_hecht, Dream Good, Live Better, I
hope you have one Hecht of a Day, and I’ll see you in the next video.

100 Replies to “Saint JHN | Before They Were Famous | From Writing for Rihanna To Trap, 3 Below & Roses”

  1. Hope you guys liked the video! Saint JHN is definitely one of my favorite new artists. Who else should we cover next??

  2. Hell-o Jeremy โค It's your fav! I don't know who this guy is but if you like him then I do to.
    Please don't button clear up to the top. It's not appealing and you are selling the channel, hence yourself. Just an observation and suggestion. You just don't look comfortable and you need to look chill. I only have your bestest interest at heart โค๐Ÿคฉ
    Always โคโคโค

  3. Do Dave mustaine from MEGADETH pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜

  4. Can you please please please. Like Iโ€™m begging you please please do a before they were famous on Joyner Lucas.

  5. When youโ€™re from Saint John, itโ€™s weird hearing someone refer to someone as Saint JHN

  6. I want 2 b a songwriter also! ๐Ÿค“๐Ÿค“ my pen game is dope! I just don't know where or how 2 start!! ๐Ÿ˜’

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