24kGoldn’s Escapist Yet Melancholy ‘Mood’ Moves the Masses

Rapper, singer and songwriter 24kGoldn (real name: Golden Landis Von Jones) is in a sunny mood. Naturally, the 19-year-old has good reason to smile this season, even though summer is nearly over, as his latest single featuring Iann Dior, “Mood,” has been a surprise hit: with over 110 million streams on Spotify alone since its release in late July and a Top 10 showing in the United States at radio this week (the song is also Top 5 in the UK currently).

“Right from the jump, I knew ‘Mood’ was gonna be huge because I’d never had a song debut so strong,” the San Francisco-born artist tells Variety.  “With [past singles] ‘City of Angels’ and ‘Valentino’ it took months for them to take off, so when I saw it start strong without TikTok, I knew it was game over,” he says, stressing that “Mood” took off organically, not needing the aid of the Bytedance-owned app, even though it has done well on TikTok as well.

Last month, the upbeat track, featuring sometimes morose lyrics (“We play games of love to avoid the depression / We been here before / And I won’t be your victim”) juxtaposed against furious hi-hats and an impossibly catchy sun-kissed guitar riff, exploded not just online from organic shares, but also on mainstream radio across America (the song remains in rotation on some of the biggest pop stations in the United States, such as KISS FM in Los Angeles).

“I had an idea it was gonna be big, but I had no idea it was gonna be this big….I don’t think any of us did,” says one co-producer of the song, UMPG writer Blake Slatkin, who helped give the song its pop polish after co-writers Von Jones, Michael Olmo, Keegan Bach and Omer Fedi had an early version ready.

“I had to bring Blake in because he just knows how to elevate songs to the next level,” Von Jones says of Slatkin, a protégée of Benny Blanco’s.

But Von Jones also has high praise for other collaborators of his such as Omer Fedi when it comes to making music that resonates with his fans

“Omer Fedi came up with the guitar part for ‘Mood’ and he freestyled it at Iann’s [Iann Dior, the rapper/singer/artist co-featured on the song] spot the night we made the song and then the whole song kind of just made itself,” says Von Jones of the tune’s genesis.

When asked if he was surprised by how well the composition has done so far, Von Jones says “I try not to question the magic too much, but when you put two of the fastest rising superstars together with a smash chorus like that, it’s a no-brainer why ‘Mood’ is doing what it’s doing.”

For Los Angeles-based Electric Feel Entertainment, “Mood” has been marvelous — as the firm manages 24kGoldn, Iann Dior and Blake Slatkin and they also publish Omer Fedi (in partnership with UMPG), contributing to the “team” feel of the hit.

Now, the same crew is turning its attention to a forthcoming full-length from 24kGoldn, which is expected soon via Columbia Records.

“I’m excited to put out the album, but I’m definitely not in a rush,” says Von Jones. “I’m trying to create a cohesive visual and auditory world for my audience to live in and that takes time,” he adds.

When asked if he identifies as a Bay Area artist still even though he now calls Los Angeles home, Von Jones says “you can take the man out the Bay, but you can’t take the Bay out the man.”

“Your environment molds you into what you become and I’m not an exception to that… if it wasn’t for everything the Bay let me experience and learn, then I don’t know if I’d even be in this position,” he adds.

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