For illustrator and R&B artist J. Hutton, putting a face to a name isn’t as easy as scrolling on his IG feed. While visibility plays a big role in a lot of emerging artists’ marketing plans, J. Hutton prefers to present himself with self-penned illustrations instead. Why? To start, he gets literal and figurative firsthand control of how he’s presented to his audience and also gets to integrate both of his greatest passions into one project.
But in a phone conversation ahead of his latest single’s launch, he revealed that he’s keeping his identity under wraps in hopes of leaving the focus on his music. “A lot of people want to be celebrities and have their face known rather than their art form,” he acknowledged. “That’s not what’s important to me. The music has come first since I was like, eight years old. It’s nice to do it this way.”
As an illustrator, the Claremont, Ontario native looks up to comic book artists like Frank Miller and Joe Quesada. As a musician, he tries to infuse sounds from the likes of Hozier, Anderson .Paak, H.E.R., and The Weeknd into his tracks.
His latest single "Queen of Parkdale" is a sultry, smooth, summer-ready track that’s heavy on instrumentation to give the illusion of a live set—which we’ve obviously been missing in recent months. The track was produced by J. Hutton’s frequent collaborator Losh, who he met on Kijiji.
On his unconventional meeting with his go-to producer, J. Hutton said that it was “kind of serendipitous.”
“I had gone to university in Halifax and when I moved back to Toronto, I was just looking for someone to work with. So I went on Kijiji to find a producer. I went through five or six pages of ads and he was the only producer with music that I really loved.” Nearly four years later, they’re putting the finishing touches on his debut album, set to be released next year.
Get to know J. Hutton by learning what he’s been watching, which songs have been on repeat, what foods he’s been craving, his online obsessions, and latest cop. These are J. Hutton’s 5 Senses:
“Dark on Netflix is so good that I binged it. Once I started watching, I didn’t stop until it was done. I have no clue what’s happening but I’m learning some German, so that’s neat.”
“I was watching an Italian movie and a song was playing in the background and when I Shazam’d it, it was Peppino Gagliardi. I downloaded his entire catalogue on Spotify right away. He’s an Italian soul singer from the mid-'60s and he is so good. His music is beautiful. I have to use Google Translate sometimes, but it’s still great.”
“Burrito Boyz in Toronto means everything to me. It’s so good. If you’re just going for something on the go, their steak burrito is so great. Especially with guac and extra burrito sauce. There’s that place and then there’s Los Guaca-Moles on at Bloor and Euclid. They make all of their sauces in-house and it is phenomenal.”
“First We Feast’s Hot Ones and Yoga with Adrienne have been my COVID crutches. My favourite Hot Ones episode is probably the Shia Labeouf one. I’ve watched it like four or five times. He’s a gem and we don’t deserve him.”
“I bought some Saxx Underwear and it is by far the most comfortable underwear known to man. It’s like they stitched a hand in the fabric to prop up your hopes and dreams.”