Milwaukee firefighter doubles as up-and-coming songwriter
(MILWAUKEE) - Jon Frost writes lyrics for songs wherever he goes but unlike many songwriters he can be interrupted by a fire and has to be able to shift gears quickly.
He went through a long journey to work with a Grammy winning producer who also makes albums with artists like CeeLo Green and Alicia Keys.
Frost grew up on the North side of Milwaukee and always felt connected to music but didn't realize he wanted to write songs until he was a teenager.
"Started out with like hip hop and I would listen to certain rappers, and then I would kind of rewrite my own lyrics to their songs," said Frost.
In his early 20's he says things started getting more serious. "I used to do a lot of battle raps in Milwaukee on the east side, so I'd go to the east side parties, and typically they'd be in the basement, and there's other rappers there, and this was before it was cool to rap," Frost said.
From there Frost started recording his raps, then recording for others, and finally some big names started approaching him to work with them including the rapper Rhymefest.
He continued working in music until he had a wife and kids and it wasn't paying enough of the bills. That’s when one of his friends suggested applying to be a Milwaukee firefighter.
"I said yeah, that would be cool because it would allow me time to do my music. So I took the test and passed," said Frost.
While Frost waited he worked as a TSA Agent, a realtor, and for the post office. He kept up music on the side and six years later the Milwaukee Fire Department offered him a job.
"It was amazing because I felt like really blessed and fortunate because the fire department is a job that a lot of people would just dream to have," Frost said.
About a week later he got a call from Grammy award winning producer Jack Splash about collaborating on an album.
"To have this music career, and have them both going at the same time, it's truly a blessing," Frost said.
Frost uses his experience on the north side growing up and as a first responder as an influence for his lyrics.
"The shootings and the drug overdoses, and just the conditions that people live in, and it's like. It's painful to see that. And to see, to go into people's houses, and to see children, and everyone. Everyone's angry."
He just dropped his album Kill the Motherboard where he writes about those experiences.
But unlike a lot of other rap he talks about violence as a source of pain and tries to share a positive message. "There's so much music on the radio that's negative. And you hear a lot of stuff about misogyny, a lot of stuff that, you know, about the drug culture, and glorifying a lot of that stuff,” Frost said.
Now after needing to take as many jobs as he could Frost has two jobs that could support his family on their own and he wants to continue working both. "It can be pretty stressful and hectic, but I don't look at either one of them as a job because I love both of them."