The Jon Hill Project Finds Hope After Addiction and Divorce on Debut ‘Rebirth’ Album: Premiere

Multiple life-threatening overdoses. A crumbling divorce. Childhood bullying. The pressures of being thrown into the highlight. These are all elements that made Jon Hill -- a 30-year-old percussionist and songwriter from Houston, Texas -- need to hand over religion in restoration. But as a substitute of succumbing to the demons that had been his drug addictions, he sought solace in getting clear and creating music.

Hill initially adopted fame as the previous husband of immensely well-liked YouTuber and wonder influencer Jaclyn Hill, whose make-up channel has greater than 5 million subscribers and has raked in over 470 million views. Things appeared superb with the couple on the floor, however behind the scenes Jon was combating an dependancy that was brewing for years.

"My dependancy kicked off after I was 17 years previous in highschool," he tells Billboard. "I used to be at a bonfire when a buddy requested him to strive the prescription drugs he was taking to handle the ache from his damaged leg. I keep in mind when it hit me, and I used to be like, 'Oh my god, that is the very best feeling I’ve ever had.' It’s like all my insecurities of what individuals considered me simply went away. I felt untouchable."

The highschool dependancy carried on in Hill's marriage, because the medication and a stint in rehab strained the connection between him and Jaclyn. Last May, the latter introduced the couple had determined to divorce after practically 9 years. After a short relapse and one other push to go to rehab by his father, Hill states that he's now totally clear and able to share his story by his debut album Rebirth  -- which is premiering solely on Billboard right this moment (Jan. 10).

Dubbed as "The Jon Hill Project," the musician, producer Spencer Bradham and Tides of Man guitarist Spencer Gill referred to as upon numerous rock singers (together with Copeland's Aaron Marsh, Finch's Nate Barcalow and Hail The Sun's Donovan Melero) to vocalize Hill's painfully sincere street to restoration. Dive into Hill's troublesome journey under.

Why is now the fitting time to inform your story by music?

There’s a number of false impression of me and the way issues went down with my divorce. Originally, I used to be ashamed of my dependancy and I didn’t need anybody to know I went to rehab. So this album is my realization that I can use music to assist different individuals. That’s the very best excessive you possibly can ever really feel. I’m blessed with a giant following and if I can contact anybody with my story, that may hold me clear. 

Was the divorce a get up name to go to rehab?

During our third yr of marriage, it received to a degree the place I used to be having seizures as a result of I used to be on a lot stuff. I began breaking out in hives. So it turned noticeable that one thing was incorrect. I had a horrible second the place I began taking Suboxone, which is what they offer to heroin addicts. I took that too early -- as a result of there was a lot different stuff in my system -- and I went by this insanely precipitated withdrawal interval on my own in the home. I attempted calling 911 however I couldn’t. My mind simply didn’t work. So that’s after I first went to rehab [in 2017], and [Jaclyn] thought all the things was superb after I received again dwelling. I believed I used to be doing it for her however midway by, I believed “No dude, you’re doing this for your self.”

Once I received clear, I felt this confidence come over me the place I believed I might do something. It was an incredible excessive that was higher than any drug I’ve ever taken, to only lastly know and see the actual me. But after that, [Jaclyn] determined she didn’t need to be with me anymore. And that was an enormous shock to me. We had been married for 9 years. For some cause, I used to be desirous about how wonderful it might be to get pleasure from Christmas along with her whereas being clear. She typically mentioned, “You don’t love me since you by no means need to do issues with me.” But it was as a result of I saved having to cover [my addiction] from her on a regular basis. So after I knew there was nothing to cover, I had all the things to supply her. My selfishness was gone.

So coming dwelling to see all my stuff gone and never realizing who she’s with… I used to be simply devastated. Within two months, I used to be again on medication. This time round, I used to be simply tremendous heartbroken. I used to be reaching out for assist, however at that time I had severed all these relationships. My dad was the one who saved my life. He came upon I overdosed and that the individuals I used to be round stole hundreds of from me. So my dad referred to as me in the midst of the evening after I was in withdrawal, however I used to be undoubtedly coherent sufficient to inform him all the things. The subsequent day, I snapped out of that susceptible part and advised my dad I used to be superb -- however he was already on the airplane to choose me up. I used to be again in rehab on July 1.

Listening to the music, it sounds such as you’ve substituted songwriting for substance abuse. It’s placing an optimistic spin on what you’ve been by.

If I might put any hope behind one thing as horrible as dependancy. Because whenever you’re in it, you actually really feel locked in. I’ve been by this detox course of so many occasions that now I do know what to say and what I'd’ve wished to listen to after I was coping with it. Just having this inventive outlet is robust sufficient to maintain me away. I by no means had sufficient clear time earlier than to even put out new music and write stuff that I used to be proud about. Now I’m realizing how a lot I might’ve finished if I didn’t go down that path. At the top of the day, I welcome that ache, as a result of after going by the painful strategy of getting these medication out my system, all the things else turns into really easy.

I believe the riskiest track on the album is “Would You Save Me Now.” The video itself explicitly particulars your struggles each with the wedding to Jaclyn and your drug use. 

That track and “Take the Next Step” had been essentially the most troublesome songs to put in writing. “Take the Next Step” is mainly asking, “Where do you go from right here?” People at all times say staying clear is tougher than getting clear. “Would You Save Me Now” is much less of a cry for assist, and extra like after all the things I put [Jaclyn] by in our marriage and hurting her... would she nonetheless save me? It’s a extremely sincere track to place on the market, realizing that her followers are gonna hear it. It’s mainly me throwing myself underneath the bus. But I knew I wanted to try this -- as a result of we each made errors, however I undoubtedly wished to come clean with mine, as a result of they had been considerably dangerous.

And the music video reveals virtually all of these low moments you skilled. Were you nervous concerning the attainable backlash -- particularly since you've a Jaclyn lookalike within the video?

Definitely. I didn’t need individuals to suppose I used to be utilizing the divorce in an affordable approach, like I’m making an attempt to capitalize off a foul scenario. But I simply knew that I needed to be sincere with all people. I’ve gotten tons of of messages saying they both knew somebody who was struggling like I used to be, or additionally they struggled with dependancy, and it made me blissful that I did this. There was a woman who advised me she was sitting on the sting of a bridge wanting to leap, and my track got here on by shuffle. She mentioned it made her really feel like she’s not alone. I need to thank everybody for that as a result of I’ve by no means felt that type of acceptance earlier than, particularly in terms of my music.

And this was my first time performing too, however I didn’t need it to be cringe-y. I needed to convey myself again to in direction of the top of our marriage. I present the blissful occasions, however there have been additionally dangerous moments that I set free on digicam. That was actual anger within the video. I wanted to blow off steam, as a result of I haven’t finished that earlier than. So placing out that video was very therapeutic and it closed that chapter in my life. Now it’s time to maneuver on.

My favourite track on the album is “Drifting Towards the Sun.” There’s a lyric that talks about peace of thoughts -- however have you ever discovered that inside peace?

I undoubtedly discovered extra peace that I used to have, however I nonetheless have dangerous days too. That’s the factor about getting clear -- you embrace having feelings like a traditional particular person. So I’m in a greater place the place I’m snug with who I'm, and pleased with what I’ve finished.

Another line that stood out to me was on “Hang Em High”: “Don’t allow them to in/ These associates will not be your folks.” How did you escape enablers?

That track is certainly aimed in direction of the individuals I frolicked with at my lowest level. There was this man who was initially my neighbor, and I might inform he did medication. At this time I used to be shopping for over-the-counter drugs. My associates would see me with him and say, “Man this man doesn’t appear to be excellent news.” I didn’t actually suppose something of it, however in direction of the top he burned me actually dangerous by stealing very costly jewellery from me, and blocking my quantity.

There was additionally a gaggle of individuals I met whereas doing drug offers. I used to be going by extreme heartbreak throughout this time, and as a substitute of being there for me, they'd watch me overdose and steal my stuff. There had been different individuals who I believed had my again, however after the divorce it was clear that they selected sides. So the track is aimed toward these sort of people that I anticipated extra from.

For these at present combating dependancy, do you've recommendation on how one can survive it?

I do know that lots of people who're going by this simply need to get out. When you’re in it, there appears like there’s completely no gentle on the finish of the tunnel and no approach of escaping. But I simply need to allow them to know there is a approach. Once you hit that backside and understand you possibly can’t do that anymore, that's gasoline for you and extra compassion for the subsequent particular person. The darker you get, the extra function you’ll have as soon as it’s over -- so long as you get clear and need to get individuals.

For individuals going by withdrawal, your mind at the moment is not working for you -- it’s working in opposition to you. Every little a part of the physique is telling you to exit and get excessive, as a result of that’s the one factor is gonna show you how to. But when you simply refuse to take heed to that voice, minute by minute you’ll hold getting higher. I keep in mind there was one morning the place I lastly wakened hungry for the primary time, as a result of medication actually take your urge for food away and you may’t abdomen something.

Waking up hungry was essentially the most assured I ever felt in my whole life, like, "I beat this." After each little mistake I’ve made, I earned it. You simply really feel this new function that’s come over your life, and it’s lovely. They name it the “pink cloud part” [of recovery], however for me that feeling has truly lasted for much longer. I really feel like a child once more.

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