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  • Bryan McDonald

24kGoldn, Class of 2018

It’s October 26, 2020. The COVID pandemic is raging, and many in America turn to televised entertainment as their means of escape. On this night, Jimmy Kimmel Live features a singer named 24kGoldn. This teenager performs his recently released hit song, Mood, an infectious dance groove (featuring guest rapper Iann Dior) that listeners can’t help but bop their heads to, regardless of their musical preferences and their daily cares.

The song, released three months earlier, would eventually go on to spend eight weeks in the #1 spot of Billboard’s Hot 100. A huge crossover hit, Mood also became the first and only song ever to hit #1 in the categories of Adult Pop Airplay, Pop Airplay, and Rhythmic Airplay, while also reaching the top 10 in Alternative Airplay and Rap Airplay.

24kGoldn’s real name is Golden Landis Von Jones (his first name a nod to the year he was born, 2000, which was the Chinese year of the Golden Dragon). He’s a San Francisco native, born to a white Jewish mother and black Christian father. Both of his parents are one-time models, and he spent part of his early childhood doing modeling and commercial acting gigs and singing in a choir in middle school.

24kGoldn is more than just a performer, though. He’s smart and ambitious, and after middle school his good grades and intellect merited him a spot at Lowell High School.

It was while at Lowell, in his sophomore year, that 24kGoldn gained the confidence to explore putting his music out to the public. He states in a 2020 Entertainment Weekly interview: “I made that first song. That same day, I mixed it, uploaded it to SoundCloud, and sent it to everybody. I went to school the next day and everyone was like, ‘Yo, this is fire,’ so I was like, ‘All right, people like this, I like this, let's just keep going.’ And every song got a little better, and one thing became another.”

In 2018, while still a senior, The Lowell newspaper asked him how being at Lowell influenced his budding music career. 24kGoldn responded: “Lowell is a great platform for me to market to because everyone at Lowell has friends from other schools, so I can spread my music at Lowell and then it just blows up throughout the city. ... Also, Lowell keeps you sharp. It’s an academically challenging school, so it keeps me sharp and about my wits.”

When asked in an SF Weekly cover story in March about his Lowell experience as a person of color, 24kGoldn described an environment of open-minded community-building between different groups. This atmosphere worked well for him because, as he said, “I’m all about bringing people together.”

He excelled so well at Lowell that he received a full-ride scholarship to the University of Southern California to study business. “I want to teach financial fitness and financial literacy to minorities and people that live in low-income neighborhoods,” he said.

24kGoldn may have that opportunity sooner rather than later, as his songs blew up big-time while in college, and he’s since had to step back from USC to focus on the business side of his music career.

The future looks very bright for this young San Francisco native, one exceptional Lowellite you should know as he builds his career in music and business.

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