Jasper Bones is a 19 year old Latinx solo artist based in Pasadena, CA. He and his self-described “Chicano wavy soul” sound has been making waves in the LA music scene. He has opened for acts such as SadGirl, Slow Hollows, Miniature Tigers, and Cuco and has participated in festivals such as Viva! Pomona And Tropicalia and through this, he has built for himself a steady following. Though he does not have the largest catalogue, all the music that he has put out has been of a high quality in all aspects. His sound draws from a variety of genres, resulting in an interesting final product, mirroring the multiculturalism of the contemporary United States.
Jasper Bones released “Someone Like You” on November 16th, this being the final single he released leading up to the release of his first EP, “Cruise Control” which was released on November 30th. The three minute and thirty-one second track makes excellent use of his characteristically dreamy vocals and smooth instrumentals- the waviness of the text on the cover art mimicking the waviness of the song itself. The song is a simple one, featuring just two short verses and a simple pre-chorus and chorus. Jasper Bones said that the song is about “getting someone to crush back on u,” testing the effectiveness of this out by encouraging fans on Twitter to send the song to their current crushes. When fans began to post the overwhelmingly positive responses, it became clear that the song could fulfil its originally intended purpose.
The song opens with an instrumental flourish, then in the first verse, Jasper wistfully sings “You don’t seem to see me to you I don’t exist / I’m ready to love you but I just can’t make your list.” Perhaps stuck in no-man’s-land, aka the friend zone, Jasper feels that the infatuation is entirely one sided. He only builds upon this sentiment in the pre-chorus. There, he goes deeper into his pit of self-deprecation, saying that he is “invisible” and “not irresistible.” This feeling of insufficiency peaks in the chorus, wherein he pleads, “I don’t know how / I could get someone like you / To notice a nobody like me.” Then, in the second verse, Jasper is more hopeful. Though he admits that his crush “[doesn’t] even know [his] name,” he believes that he can “make things right” for this person. However, he undercuts this by saying that this person will “probably think [he’s] lame.” This is then followed by a final repeat of the pre-chorus and chorus, and an outro featuring another instrumental flourish which fades out.
The general uncertainty and flip flopping between mild confidence and deep insecurity expertly captures what it is like to have a blossoming love as a teenager. The honest emotions which are expressed in the lyrics, coupled with the rawness of the vocal delivery and the smooth melodies could woo virtually any person and result in a reciprocation of the infatuation which is expressed throughout the whole of the song. Thus, Jasper Bones aptly captures a seminal part of early adolescence in a sonically beautiful manner.
On a more personal note, being an adolescent Latinx myself and seeing someone like Jasper Bones with an identity and cultural background comparable to mine has been incredibly heartening. While having parts of my identity represented in the music world is great in itself, seeing that Jasper Bones is also using his influence for a good cause, such as playing at shows such as Faithsgiving (an annual thanksgiving celebration organized by the Pico Union Project which aims to bring together the multicultural LA community and showcase local performance artists) and Solidarity for Sanctuary (a benefit concert series coordinated by Doris Munoz, founder of mija mgmt, which aims to garner support for immigration activism), only raises his value in my eyes. So, not only is Jasper Bones a talented musician, but he is also an excellent role model.
Jasper Bones has an upcoming show at the Observatory OC on January 11th in support of SadGirl.