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Producer · Engineer · FOH
Jon-John Robinson

Jon-John Robinson

Producer, multi-instrumentalist
Jon-John Robinson

Jon-John Robinson is a producer, song writer and multi-instrumentalist who has played with and produced some of the biggest stars in American music, including TLC, Diana Ross and Lady Gaga. Recording with so many leading vocalists Jon-John has had access to all the big brand mics but, as he reveals, his current world beaters are Astons…

Diana Ross, TLC, Boyz of Paradise, Jon B, Pink, Another Level, Lady Gaga, Kristinia DeBarge, Sharon Tedford, El DeBarge, K-Ci & JoJo
Jon-John uses...
'You know what to do… just do it'

"There was one particular album that made me know I wanted to be a producer and that was Babyface's Lovers. My older brother introduced me to multiple genres and styles of music, but it was that album that made me fall in love with the actual production. It really spoke to me as far as style and also in the way that I approached music.

Around the age of 20 I happened to run into Face [the producer Babyface] at a restaurant called Larry Parker’s in Beverly Hills and the rest is history. The first act that I worked with was El DeBarge. I wrote a song called 'Can't Get Enough' but I didn't produce that as I didn't know anything about production then. Nowadays people have something like Garageband and call themselves producers but I'm glad that Face didn't allow me to be called a producer back then.

He said 'you need to come to the studio and watch how I do what I do, and then you'll become a producer.' So he taught me things like how to deal with the engineer, the terms to use, what to listen for in a mix and what to say to the different people working on the project to bring about your vision. After watching him in the studio for several months I had the opportunity to work with Johnny Gill. It was terrifying as I hadn't done any production on my own but Face said 'you know what to do, just do it' and all the fear dispelled. From there on I worked with everyone including TLC, John B, Diana Ross and so many other artists.

Knowing who the stars are

"I've had many great experiences and the first was during the recording of the El DeBarge song that I wrote. It wasn't like I was new to music – I'd had experience being around the music business - but I'd never been in on a session and seen how it worked. Hearing how the voice came out of the speakers, hearing the reverb and and hearing it as a person who hadn't experienced those things...

Then there was working with TLC [Jon-John co-wrote 'Let's Do It Again' from the multi-platinum selling album CrazySexyCool]. At that point they were established, and working with Chilli, T-Boz and seeing the dynamics of Left Eye and then watching them become the TLC that we know now was something else.

Another one would be Diana Ross – that was special because she is a legend. It was intimidating as I remember seeing her as a kid introducing Michael Jackson and seeing her in shows and movies – she was Diana Ross! It was different back then as artists were not as accessible as they are now on social media. You met an artist then and it was like 'wow!'. I worked with her for four months and we did four tracks.

It was great working with Lady Gaga. She'd just signed to Interscope Records and it was before anybody knew who she was. She had some cult fans in New York but that was it, and I worked with her on a song for a movie soundtrack. If you have been in the music business for long enough, you know who the stars are. Seeing her back then in my studio, I knew at that moment just talking to her that she was going to be huge. It was a great experience as I got to see her at the beginning and have been able to see her grow to become what she has."

Nothing sounds close

If Jon-John wasn't experienced in the ways of the studio during that first El DeBarge session, he certainly is now! He explained his current software and hardware choices:

"I have a couple of setups, but I’m really all 'in the box' now. I’m a huge fan of working with Presonus' Studio One DAW and Native Instruments' Machine. As far as outboard gear goes, I don’t need it with my UAD and IK Multimedia plug-ins. My signal path is an Aston mic and Halo, Presonus 192 and UAD Manley Vox Box.

I’ve been in the biz for a long time and what amazes me is the technology that goes into making mics hasn’t really changed… until I came across Aston mics. What I really love about their mics is the durability along with the amazing sound. I had a project I was working on and realized after I finished the song, that I didn’t use my popper stopper. With the Aston mic, I didn’t need it. Between the two mics, the Spirit and the Origin, you really don’t need another mic – they work with multiple tones really well. They’re not brittle on the highs – they just have a really nice sheen on them.

I’m currently working with my daughter Tai Marie. Let me tell you, I’ve tried a few mics, but nothing sounds close to the way the Origin sounds on her voice. Aston is a first class company and they created a mic with the vocalist in mind – it’s all in the design. I've also used them with a gospel artist called Sharon Tedford and I used the mics recording her and the guitars. I used the Spirit on the guitars and the Origin on the vocals which worked really well on her voice and timbre.

I would say that Aston microphones are even as good as a Telefunken and I've worked with one so I know! You can hear night and day between a Telefunken and most other mics but there is no night and day with the Aston mics. You can put an Aston mic in a room with a Telefunken, a Neumann, a Sony and an AKG and record a vocal and people would think it was an expensive mic, it's that good."

Out-takes and Credits


Q. Who are your favourite artists?
A. Prince, Earth Wind & Fire, Sting, Stevie Wonder, Mint Condition, and Babyface.

Q. If you weren’t working in music what would you be doing?
A. Music!

A. What would your fantasy mic be?
Q. Let me get back to you on that!

Q. What are the 4 words you’d chose to describe Aston or your experience with the brand.
A. Quality, excellence, durable, amazing.

Q. What was the first song that made you cry?
A. Donny Hathaway, A Song For You.

Aston Credits

Tai Marie 
Sharon Tedford 

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