Desperado Orchestra
Gig Seeker Pro

Desperado Orchestra

Lihue, Hawaii, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010

Lihue, Hawaii, United States
Established on Jan, 2010
Solo Jazz Soul




"5 Artists Who Have Close Ties to Hawai'i"

Desperado Orchestra AKA J. Lawson, born in 1979, is an American singer/songwriter who decided to pursue his musical journey after serving in the military in Iraq. He feels at peace living in Hawaii where he also teaches music. His very groovy music incorporates soul, blues and jazz. His latest work is a song called “Outer Space” which embodies all those different genres into a powerful track. - Go Hard in Daa Paint

"Desperado Orchestra's "Outer Space" Encompasses a New Kind of Funk"

Desperado Orchestra has released his new song “Outer Space” which embodies influences of American roots music through blues and electronic beats, creating an exotic fusion of sounds.

The soulful beats give off a funky, eclectic vibe that gets you grooving to this track. The lyrics are written to inspire the fans to be the best you can be, no matter what circumstances you are placed in.

J Lawson, a.k.a. Desperado Orchestra, has served in the military and has suffered through economic and social turmoil upon returning to the United States after his term in Iraq.

From his desperate and vulnerable experiences, he sings to us about pursuing our dreams and becoming greater than we think imaginable. Have a listen to this electric harmonic mix to experience Desperado Orchestra’s trailblazing style. - This Song is So Sick

"Desperado Orchestra Releases Groovy New Track"

Desperado Orchestra releases groovy funk-infused new track “Outer Space” and we can’t help but get hooked on its eclectically soulful sound. Mixing a myriad of genres, you hear everything from funk to electro to blues, allowing every listener to interpret and hear the track in their own individual way.

J Lawson, AKA Desperado Orchestra is a multi-instrumentalist whose life journey has consisted of (among other things) homelessness and a military term in Iraq, both of which pushed him even closer to his music since the more engulfed in his art he became, the more he was able to release and heal from the traumas of his past.

With “Outer Space” we are given a sound that celebrates J’s path through his struggles and his successes. This track is made to get the world grooving and with the impeccable mix of electronic string orchestrations , harmonic developments , and engaging melodies you cannot help but do just that. Have a listen below and stay tuned for the next pieces of Desperado Orchestra’s journey to be released. - LA on Lock

"Spin Charts Radio Interview with J Lawson"

Spin Charts Radio interviews J Lawson of Desperado Orchestra. January 5, 2018 - Spin Charts Radio

"Desperado Orchestra Hits Hilo"

Kauai’s Desperado Orchestra performs at 8 p.m. this evening at Hilo Town Tavern. The performance will present the orchestra’s recent work from its latest self-titled EP and is part of the Decible Studio’s Intra-Island Music Tour 2016 (IIMT2016).

This is Jaron and Elizabeth Lawson’s second year performing around the islands with IIMT and their sixth year performing as a duo together. Their set list includes one of their most popular hits, “Outside My Window,” recently streamed on internet radio sites such as Jango and Spotify.

“This performance has a bit of a spin. I will perform on the drums and guitar, and Elizabeth will perform on the keyboard and violin. We are creating a diversity of sound as a duo, stretching our artistic creativity and expression through a variety of instruments,” Jaron said.

Performing the same night are several other local artists including Ekolu and CRSB. - Westside Hawaii Today

"Desperado Orchestra - Self Titled"

Desperado Orchestra is a two person music project formed in 2010 consisting of J Lawson and Elizabeth Fong. Both Lawson and Fong have been music instructors for over a decade, and were working and performing in Los Angeles when they met and began to collaborate on tracks that would later make up this debut EP. The two musicians have toured California, particularly around the Long Beach area. J Lawson handles the guitar and vocals while Fong plays violin throughout this four track EP. Lawson and Fong seek to connect world music influences together with American-based material to create a truly eclectic and culturally vibrant experience.

A good way to describe this album would be to classify it as something like “contemporary world-soul”. Elements of African-inspired percussion are heard throughout the EP, but Fong's encompassing violin melodies serve to introduce a sense of contrast which creates a distinct fusion between eastern and western instrumentation that might remind listeners of mid-late sixties American Motown and soul music. The guitar sound is very subtle and clean, typically flowing through a series of mellow seven chords and basic riffs that allow the drum rhythms to sit clearly in the mix while the violin melodies take somewhat of a leading role. The only track on the EP that breaks this formula is “Narcissus”, which implements spoken word and electronic sensibilities that seem to focus on artful commentary as opposed to the more personal and intimate nature of the rest of the lyrical content. J Lawson's vocal performance is very pleasant; most of these songs are simplistic in form and arrangement but succeed in creating a peaceful mood through their thoughtful and worldly aesthetic. The instrumentation and arrangements of these tracks might be something listeners could expect in a slow-paced Earth, Wind & Fire song, but with the vocal presentation of a soft and warm soul singer like Marvin Gaye. J Lawson's musical approach is quite similar to that of Marvin Gaye's; songs are generally positive, genuine, and display a bright sense of optimism all through a very honest, soft, and effortless vocal delivery that maintains its clarity throughout a host of African-inspired percussive elements.

The EP is has potential for growth in a few aspects. The instrumentation could have been more dynamic, the vocal performance could have been more assertive, and the overall mood of the tracks could have been more interesting and exploratory. As a soul/world music album, listeners may find these tracks to be very linear and predictable; there are no blistering drum sections, no ethnically- inspired guitar solos, and no general sense of variation or experimentation. There is nothing wrong with contemplative and thoughtful music, but turning up the heat and deviating from similar song formats could really take Desperado Orchestra to the next level.

This is a unique and soulful album. The combination of the violin with the world drums and the Motown-esc vocals creates an east-west fusion that not many other groups have been able to deliver effectively. Desperado Orchestra has some great compositions and they are working with a sound that is very inspiring and has a lot of potential. Further exploring their sound and really showcasing elements of world music will take this band to an even higher level of quality. - No Depression

"The True Nature of Love with "Outer Space""

Hawaii based singer/songwriter Desperado Orchestra delivers a soulful and melodic showcase of romanticism with “Outer Space” that is sure to connect with you. The track has a way of delivering a soundscape that grabs our imagination and delivers a vivid experience in which outer space is the backdrop of this love story. The lyrics are beautifully set in place thus embracing the tempo of the melody and from there caressing perfection and flowing through the airwaves straight to us. It is a fine example of passion, love and a talent that frankly knows no bounds and is ready to take over the city that inspired this gem and beyond. J Lawson is truly one to watch out for, because this track is only part of a growing repertoire that houses refreshing, inviting and amazing gems. So stay put, sit tight and know that he has more to come and the songs are only getting better. - Evette Sarah Johnson


Desperado Orchestra: Self Titled EP



J Lawson (J Law) is a drummer, keyboard player, guitarist and vocalist. His style is rooted in the Blues, Funk and Soul of the African American traditions. As a multi-instrumentalist, it's not a surprise that his approach to performance has taken on the technological advancements of the twenty-first century. With his loop pedal he is able to back up his funky guitar with a groovy bass, provide a heart beat of percussion, and weave harmonic orchestrations under his rich baritone vocals. Through his multitude of musical abilities, he displays a modern approach to the one-man band and gives a unique look at creating songs. 

J Law has performed in Colorado, Washington, Northern California, Southern California, China and currently performs in Hawai'i where he lives. In Hilo and Lihue, HI, he performed with the Decible Studio's Intra-Island Music Tour (IIMT) of 2015 and 2016 alongside CRSB and EKOLU. In 2016 he composed and produced his first EP, "Desperado Orchestra" featured on No Depression music review, and performed a release party at The Downbeat in Honolulu, HI. In July 2017 he opened for O'ahu artist, Taz Vegas, at Trees Lounge in Kaua'i, HI. On July 19th, 2017, he released his newest single, "Tell the Youth the Truth", which was featured in BreadTube TV. On January 5, 2018 Spin Charts Radio featured Desperado Orchestra as a guest artist to talk about his music and single, "Tell the Youth the Truth". The past Summer of 2018 he completed his first solo tour in Denver, CO and Seattle, WA where he promoted his last single, "Outer Space". Now he is currently working on a new single and video release for Spring 2019 with his newest single, a rock infused song inspired by Fishbone and Cody Chesnutt. 

As an artist that has traveled a lot, (from Florida USA to China,) he's always interested in meeting, working and collaborating with new people and artists. His open mind allows him to be available and considerate of new ideas and is always compassionate to the fight of individual's freedom of thought and the pursuit of happiness. With his background in education, he's always aware of the importance to continue to learn, to grow, to be understanding and to build a genuine connection with the global communities he encounters. His music is a reflection of the complexity of struggles we face. It is no wonder that he is able to pull a small fan base from the majority of metropolitan cities around the world.

Desperado Orchestra's latest single, "Outer Space", is available on all digital downloading and stream sites; Tidal, Spotify, SoundCloud and many more. The song has been a featured article on dozens of music review sites, and has had a huge impact on many global music fanatics. He is set to continue sharing his music this year as he tours Hawai'i and the West Coast in 2019!

For more background on Desperado Orchestra, visit

Band Members