Ju-Taun (pronounced Zha-Táwn) is a genre-defying band that began as a multi-cultural R&B male vocal group of High School friends from Williamstown, New Jersey. Brothers Jake and James Evans teamed with former talent show competitors Anthony “Brian” Lewis, Peter Garcia and Samoeun Cheng. The group’s vocal coach and mentor was the father of Jake and James, musician Jake Evans, Jr. who incorporated their sound with influences of classic R&B acts like The Temptations, Take 6, and Earth, Wind & Fire. Since then, they have evolved into a full band with an even more organic sound which they can call their own.
South Jersey. Circa mid 80s: Jake and James Evans hang out with a bevy of musicians three times their age as their dad thumps his bass guitar on stage. For the Evans brothers music was never just a hobby; it was a way of life. Morning, noon and night, the Evans house was alive with the sound of music — all types of music; everything from Latin to jazz to funk to gospel. They credit their father with exposing them to an array of genres and lighting that “spark” that today is a raging fire of creative and musical genius.
Thailand. Circa mid 80s: Samaouen Cheng grows up in a refugee camp where he was born after his parents fled Cambodia. A Christian organization in San Francisco arranged for Samaouen and his family to be adopted and they moved to South Philadelphia where there was a large Cambodian community. Samaouen’s parents eventually separated, his mother remarried and the family relocated to Williamstown, NJ. It was there that Samaouen discovered his love for music and would eventually meet two brothers named James and Jake.”
After growing up in two totally different worlds with drastically different backgrounds, Samaouen and the Evans brothers found themselves in the same city bound by a common love and speaking that universal language known as music.
Ju-Taun began in 1999 performing at talent shows and shopping malls in the Philadelphia and South Jersey area. In 2003 the group members quit their day jobs to pursue music full time. They signed with friend and manager David Still and formed Climax Entertainment still based in Camden, Nj. The group met at diners and parking lots to develop their marketing plan. Ju-Taun performed at waterfront venues, festivals and shopping centers selling more than 50,000 self-produced CD’s. They followed every major concert tour performing outside venues and selling their album. Soon promoters began booking them to open for established artists. Their earliest promotional appearances include the Ebony Family Reunion concerts, Crest Latin Shows, and the “Pantene Total You Tour 2006”.
Ju-Taun’s radio singles including a remake of Enchantment’s “Sunshine”; “Go Slow”, “Let Me In”, and “Beautiful” charted on internet and non-commercial stations first, generating interests of mainstream audiences. Ju-Taun was booked on the national BET Black College tour in the Summer and Fall of 2008 in support of educational outreach to minority students.
In the summer of 2009 Ju-Taun appeared at B.B. Kings Blues Club & Grill in New York City’s Times Square and won “Best Male R&B Group” at the Underground Music Awards. The same year they were voted R&B Showcase Magazine’s “Artist to Watch” and Billboard Magazines “Top 10 New R&B Artist.” Most recently Ju-Taun was selected to perform for MTV’s Top Pop Group hosted by Mario Lopez. They competed against thousands of contestants to finish second among nine finalists. Their latest album is Love Changes Things released in 2009.
In 2010, the group appeared on NBC Philadelphia’s 10! Show (the NBC local affiliate morning show) multiple times, promoting new music and a sound they had been refining from their R&B days. The group spent the next few years working with various musicians while developing a new sound to break out of their pop-R&B past.
In 2012, Ju-Taun announced their partnership with legendary producer, songwriter, and music industry icon Leon Huff, with whom they began production on their new CD with. In 2013, the group, now a full band, released the single “By the River”, executive produced by Huff, which currently exceeds 100,000 views on YouTube, has been spun on terrestrial radio across the world, and peaked at number 87 on Billboard’s AAA charts as a release on the independent label Climax Entertainment. In early 2014, the group announced their plans for a new full-length album, tour, and future endeavors.