Recommended If You Like: Jack Garratt, James Blake, DVSN, James Blake
JonoJosh’s debut Outside EP may sound quintessentially 2016, but his message is timeless. The Toronto artist blends powerfully evocative soul singing with catchy pop songwriting and electronic production elements to create music that is progressive and unequivocally current, but also clearly linked to the past. One cannot hear his smooth licks and guttural croons without being reminded of Nina Simone, Lauryn Hill or Amy Winehouse; their influence is embedded deep in his veins, giving his songs a familiar feel as he questions the boundaries of “modern soul.” Thick pads resonate, alien synths pop and bass drops boom, fusing James Blake’s cold world with Jack Garratt’s warm one.
Through this electronic haze there comes an authentic human voice. Electronic music, so often used to channel the unfamiliar and distant, is here employed as vessel of raw human emotion as JonoJosh embarks on an exploration of the self. Life is journey of external and internal understanding. We are forever learning, forever experiencing the new and the foreign. Outside EP, which Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering today, finds JonoJosh at a critical moment in time: The transition from childhood into young adulthood, where one must turn one’s focus inward and truly get to know oneself.
Listen: Outside [EP] – JonoJosh
What better way to debut than by presenting your truest self? JonoJosh sings about understanding oneself and finding one’s place in life’s myriad situations: Recognizing the good and the bad; appreciating and working through flaws; differentiating love and romance from lust and desire; learning to be true to oneself and comfortable in one’s own skin; and ultimately, celebrating the individual.
Outside chronicles JonoJosh’s personal coming-of-age saga, but its message is just as applicable to each and every listener’s life: “Outside is about experiencing life – whether it’s love, heartbreak, freedom, self-reliance or discovery,” details JonoJosh. “The style, although reminiscent of soul, is infused with 808s and is meant to take the listener on a journey of discovery and connection.” Though this music heavily rooted in this moment, JonoJosh’s words will be forever accessible and relatable.
“Birds do not need the world to be explained, but I do,” he sings in EP opener “Birds.” The artist is an open book from the start, immediately drawing the audience closer into his intimate world. JonoJosh describes his EP as a journey, and indeed it feels like one. “Everyone goes through things in life and it’s great that we can share them with each other in song to relate to each other.”
JonoJosh effectively captures 2016’s musical Zeitgeist on his debut Outside EP. Experience the full record via our exclusive stream, and peek inside JonoJosh’s Outside EP with Atwood Magazine as the artist provides his personal take on each of these six stellar songs.
:: Inside Outside ::
This whole EP has a special place in my heart. “Birds” I wrote because I was transitioning out of college into the real world and I wanted to find my place.
“Hypnotized” I wrote in college. I had met someone the night before and who I was completely taken with but I knew was the wrong fit for me. So when I fell asleep I dreamed this entire musical number almost like Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal,” and this song was the backing track. When I woke up I immediately grabbed my pen and pad and wrote it down. It wasn’t until after I wrote out all the lyrics that I realized what the song was about and it rang true. Often in this world, we want to find appreciation from other people rather than trying to be comfortable in our own skin.
“Outside” out of all of these tracks has probably changed the most. When I moved out I saw a lot of different things: some positive and some negative, but all were things that I needed to learn to become who I am today. It’s easy to look at negative circumstances and live in them. “Outside” is about being able to recognize a good thing when it comes around and appreciate it.
Take Down Your Gaurd
“Take Down Your Gaurd” came at a time for me when I realized I was building walls to keep people from seeing who I really am. I’m a total goofball who loves way too intensely and probably jumps around too much. That song was about my journey to self-acceptance.
“Fleeting Gaze” is definitely the ‘straight to the point,’ ‘cut the crap’ song for me. There’s this idea in culture, where dating has to be in one night stands; perhaps it’s just because I’m single, but this is me saying that I don’t want to be just another “Fleeting Gaze” that’s here now and gone tomorrow.
“IYGS,” also known as “If You Got Soul.” The final song on the EP. It actually wasn’t originally going to be the final song on the EP. We had planned to do a remix of “Take Down Your Gaurd” at the end. Who knows, we might still release it. But in the end, it seemed fitting that this close it out, just because it really does sum up the EP. It’s saying, “Yeah we all go through life living with junk, but that junk makes us who we are today. So instead of looking down on it, we’re gonna celebrate it and rock out.” It’s also calling us out to be unafraid of who we are and to stay true to it.