Singer, songwriter, and producer Jawny began honing his blend of bedroom pop and lo-fi indie funk under the stage name Johnny Utah in 2016 and scored a viral hit with 2019's "Honeypie." After issuing two EPs, he officially began operating under the Jawny moniker, releasing his debut mixtape, For Abby, in 2020. The Story of Hugo EP arrived the following year. A collaboration with Beck appeared in 2022, leading up to his 2023 full-length, It's Never Fair, Always True.
San Francisco native Jacob Lee-Nicholas Sullenger got an early start on his musical career: He began playing guitar when he was six and started producing in his teens; at age 15, he crafted beats for rappers. After briefly attending college, he relocated to Philadelphia at 20 to pursue music full-time. Adopting the pseudonym Johnny Utah, a nod to Keanu Reeves' character in the 1991 film Point Break, he released an eponymous debut EP in 2018 through Z-Tapes Records. His second EP, Big Dogs, arrived later that year and featured the single "Really Meant," which appeared in an episode of HBO's High Maintenance. His funky 2019 single "Honeypie," which drew comparisons to Mac DeMarco and Beck, became his first mainstream hit, garnering millions of streams as well as use in thousands of videos on TikTok.
Early in 2020, he signed to Interscope Records, which released his mixtape For Abby that year. His first release as Jawny -- an homage to the Philadelphia slang "jawn," a catch-all noun that can refer to almost anything -- the release was a concept piece about a guy trying to win back his ex that was largely recorded in Sullenger's Los Angeles apartment. In 2021, the For Abby single "Sabotage" charted on Billboard's Alternative Radio and Alternative Airway charts. Later that year, he issued the four-song For Abby-adjacent EP The Story of Hugo. A collaboration with Beck ("Take It Back") appeared in 2022, as did the singles "Strawberry Chainsaw" and "Adios," all of which worked as the first tracks off Jawny's full-length debut, 2023's It's Never Fair, Always True.