Kid Astronaut has decided it’s time to climb back into his spaceship and take off. His new home? London. The Denver-born and -raised soul singer and musician has decided to make the move across the pond to focus on his music career and expand his style.
Performing under the name Kid Astronaut since 2015, Jon Shockness previously performed with the soul-tinged, pop-soaked hip-hop group Air Dubai. Shockness was an integral part of the group’s inception back in 2009 but decided to depart from the group six years later, in 2015, to focus on recording more solo work.
“I honestly don’t really like working by myself. But Full Moon was just so personal to me — it was a chapter of my life that I just needed to close,” said Shockness. The first full-length solo album under the moniker Kid Astronaut, Full Moon was released this past March and is filled with deep and haunting vocals, as well as acoustic samples recorded by Shockness himself. “I started learning the guitar back in 2015,” he said, another step in the direction of becoming a fully independent solo artist.
The last three years have been tumultuous for Shockness, especially last year when Shockness became a father to not one, but two sons born less than a year apart. His brown eyes still popped with shock as he talked about adjusting to fatherhood and preparing for his move abroad. “I didn’t talk about the boys at all [on Full Moon]. I have a whole album that I’m going to release in the future called Sun,” a riff on the content of the record (his sons) as well as playing into the celestial, astrological theme Kid Astronaut carries.
Shockness has a brother and sister in London and wants to move not only to be closer to his siblings but to immerse himself in a completely different music scene. “I’m really excited to grow Kid Astronaut, meet new musicians, just gain some new experiences,” Shockness said. Most importantly, however, he wants to be an international touring artist. “I was able to tour with Air Dubai for about two years straight,” Shockness said, and ever since, he hasn’t been able to shake off the desire to travel and play his music across a variety of cities. “Being in London would be more of an access point to all of those other places, more so than Denver,” he explained. “Ideally I would be based in London, but touring around as much as possible.”
Shockness also has several boundary-pushing projects in the works, including working on bringing his dream of virtual-reality music videos into fruition. Additionally, he just finished recording a collaboration with Denver-based Latinx hip-hop group 2mx2. The track is slated to be an exclusive release for 303 Magazine’s curated vinyl album of Colorado musicians, 303 Music Vol. 2, which will raise money to benefit the local non-profit music organization Youth On Record.
Shockness was a part of the groundwork of Youth On Record, “back when it was the Flobots’ project,” he said. In fact, Shockness has been involved with many local community programs, including Vocal Coalition, which is how Shockness came to meet 2mx2. Vocal Coalition works to bring Colorado musicians into the classroom, stepping away from traditional choral pieces and incorporating more contemporary music in an effort to keep students more engaged.
Though he plans to jet across the globe, Kid Astronaut will always be a Denver musician at heart. Shockness plans to return to Denver in March 2019 for a show at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in conjunction with Vocal Coalition. Kid Astronaut will perform a farewell show on December 12 at Globe Hall with support from Kayla Marque, Dylan Streight and Shalom Dubas. Tickets are available here.