The public is always waiting for the next best thing in music. At least for now, that wait is over. With soul stirring lyrics and a smooth voice to match, Ian Spooner has in a short time captured the attention of the masses, and now stands ready to establish himself as a force to be reckoned with.
Smart, witty, God-fearing, and talented; however these four words only begin to illustrate the colorful person that is Ian Von Spooner. Born and raised in Baton Rouge, La., Ian grew up in a very musically inclined family with its roots planted firmly in the church. This is where he first began to hone his skills as a musician. “ In my family, it seems as if music is almost a birth-right”, says Ian. All of his brothers, his mother, his sister, and even many of his cousins are all fine musicians in their own right. One of those cousins, Micah Stampley, has already made quite a name for himself in the music industry by signing with Bishop T.D. Jakes’ Dexterity Sounds/ EMI label. It would be these “in- house” influences that would first help a young Ian to develop his talent.
With a vocal range spanning several octaves, Ian quickly became a standout within the Baton Rouge church community. Performances with different choirs and groups took him to cities around the world including Detroit, New York, London, and Paris. These trips abroad would serve to expand Ian’s musical appetite, exposing him to a Gospel community with voices unmatched in the secular world. “ Growing up, our house was filled with Gospel music all day, everyday,” he recalls. “ The sounds of the Clark Sisters, the Winans family, Kim Burrell, Fred Hammond, as well as many others became the soundtrack of our lives”. Artists such as Commissioned, J. Moss, and Karen Clark-Sheard became some of his personal favorites.
But as Ian grew older and became increasingly aware of his surroundings, he began to explore the sights and sounds of his neighborhood. A product of the hip-hop generation, the culture was inescapable. Much of the popular music of the day spoke on conditions and a lifestyle not foreign to him. The voice of Brian McKnight, the harmonies of Boyz II Men, and the street poetry of Nas all influenced the teenager, and as he puts it, would later help him become a more balanced and well rounded artist. “ I’ve had many experiences, both good and bad, but all of which I’ve learned from. My music is a reflection of that”, Ian explains.
In 1996, while still a junior in high school, Ian’s musical journey would lead him in a direction that would eventually prepare him for his destiny. His high school choir director suggested that he and 3 of his fellow classmates form a group. Ian agreed to test the waters, but fearing that their families would not allow them to sing secular music, the group decided on a one time only show at their annual choir retreat talent show. However their plans would change once they had a taste of the spotlight. That one performance lead to many more as the young men experienced many highs and lows while chasing their dream. When the lineup was downgraded to trio status, the remaining members became convinced that they had the formula for success. A new name reflecting their identity was found in Us3. Years later because of a cease and desist order, they added one letter to the name, becoming jus 3.
jus 3 spent the next few years perfecting their craft on the underground circuit of Louisiana. It was during this time that Ian would grow as an artist, musician, and writer. After endless empty promises, jus 3 looked inward and focused their energy into producing their debut album, released in March of 2004 via the independent label Starving Artist Entertainment. During this same time Ian welcomed his daughter Amari Mian into the world, and married his longtime companion Catrina Parker. They since have added a son, little Ian, to their young family. Yet somehow inside he felt incomplete.
While jus 3 went on to become regional phenoms, Ian was simultaneously fighting an internal battle; one that has plagued many artists throughout the years. It was not so much a question of whether singing R&B was bad. It was more of a personal dilemma with him being drawn in a different direction. Though he felt widespread success for the group was eminent, he also heard the calling on his life and felt compelled to answer it.
“ Growing up I remember being told that I had an anointing on my voice, and that I should be singing for the Lord”, says Ian. “But it took me becoming a man, going through all the trials of life, and even struggling with my group to realize that I would never get to where I wanted to be without being what HE wanted me to be. It’s not my will, but thy will be done. And in that moment I put it all in His hands.” As hurtful as it was, Ian Spooner walked away from the R&B group he had spent over eight years helping to build.
Despite having to start from scratch, Ian threw himself into the word, deciding to be lead in the right direction. And where he was lead, he also followed. The right people at the right time were put into his life; the result of that collaboration being a musical work of art mirroring his life and experiences thus far. A fusion of hip-hop, soul, and alternative sounds were mixed with Christian ideals to create that equilibrium that Ian had searched years to find. Now he stands on the brink of fulfilling his destiny. He prays that he can build a diverse ministry, but knows that the music will provide a platform from which he can affect many people’s lives.
“I am firm believer in the saying to whom much is given, much is required,” Ian concludes. “ So as long as I’m called, I’ll answer.”
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