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Style and substance

  • Published at 04:46 pm January 8th, 2020
Photos: Mehedi Rahman Ehab

An exploration of everything that makes Jon Kabir

What do you expect when you meet a widely celebrated individual, whose name in itself has become a household brand? When the said individual is Jon Kabir, it’s easy to momentarily forget the stardom that comes with him. A musician who has reached great heights in his field over the last two decades that he’s been around, Jon is known for his humility and down-to-earth nature among those who’ve met him. But the journey he has had has been nothing short of exciting -- for himself and his fans alike.

Jon started his career as a founding member of the renowned band, Black, in 1998. Eventually, he stepped aside to venture into his own creations in terms of music, and is now part of the Indalo army. Apart from his endeavours as a singer/songwriter, Jon has been known to be a part of various advertisements, dramas and telefilms. He stands out from the crowd, not only because of the work he puts out, but also for his distinctive style and charming persona.

At 40, donned in his infamous tattoos, paired with the newly added nose-ring and the beanie that is now exclusively known as the “Jon Kabir tupi”, Jon’s minimalistic style is heavily influenced by the grunge music scene he grew up loving. But these elements that add up to create the brand that Jon Kabir is has, unfortunately, been subjected to much scrutiny by his audiences. Jon believes that people’s aversion towards tattoos was something that grew much later -- as a lot of people from the earlier generations were also very well accustomed with the style elements of popular Western musicians. The nose piercing, on the other hand, was something Jon had always wanted to get, having grown up as a fan of Slash. Another reason for getting the piercing, however, was a little more elaborate. Jon says that a lot of the Bangladeshi TV serials we see contain recycled stories, with similar character moulds that actors are made to fit into. With the distinctive look Jon has, he aims to only attract offers that match his style -- he would rather have a story written around him, to bring in the originality he craves.

But doesn’t a man of such stature also suffer from self-esteem issues? Given he’s under so much scrutiny, as a public figure, with everything from rumours to memes being generated about him almost every month, it may seem natural for anyone to have self-doubt creep in. Jon, however, seems to be exempt from this natural phenomenon. He informs us that he has never felt such a thing; this, he says, stems from his deep-rooted belief in the quality of work he produces, rather than basing an unnecessary amount of importance on physical appearance. Yes, his style and fashion choices have been questioned and mocked by many (in addition to every mundane action he has carried out that has been exposed to the public), but that never wavers his decision to dress or do exactly how he pleases, simply following the mantra: “Why restrict yourself?”

“In front of the camera, you’re always wearing someone else’s skin. But I wanted to break out of that”

Despite the haters, Jon also has a dedicated fan-base that is devoted to all that he does. He often receives compliments on his looks or his style -- none of which seems genuine to him. What matters the most to Jon is the work he does, and when people truly appreciate his music with the same passion that he creates with. As an enthusiast himself, Jon believes that music holds the power to not only convey messages, but unite people and bring out emotions that could not be expressed otherwise. Hence, when he succeeds in doing so with his own songs, he feels the utmost sense of satisfaction.

The year 2019 was one that Jon would not want to relive again. What with a band mate’s deteriorating health conditions, and his own father’s demise, Jon experienced the lowest lows of, probably, his entire life. This led to him taking a short break from creating music and performing live; instead, he focused his energy on building up the mental strength that had, inevitably, been affected over the year. This year, however, Jon is all geared up for new beginnings. A YouTube channel in the works, Indalo’s new album being released, and a number of live performances -- are just some of the things Jon, and his avid fans, have to look forward to in 2020. With the strength, passion and hope he embodies, it is safe to say that Jon’s journey is yet to hit pause, and we can’t wait to see all that he has in store for us all.

The Jon Kabir routine

“You must always have a routine. Without a routine, there is chaos”

How to go from derp to dayum

•    Start the day early. Jon wakes up as early as possible, no later than half past seven

•    Next, he takes his beloved golden retriever baby, May, out for a walk

•    He returns home and has his first cup of coffee of the day

•    Afterwards, Jon heads to the gym -- he works out six days a week

•    He returns by 11am, and then has green tea/ coffee

•    Jon follows an intermittent fasting routine four days a week. On such days, he has his first meal of the day at 2pm, and the last at 6pm

•    After 6pm, Jon only drinks water until he goes to sleep

•    He is asleep by 12am latest. “You can work out regularly, follow a healthy diet, basically do everything right,” Jon says, “but if you don’t get eight hours of sleep, none of it will matter.” 

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