Singer-songwriter Jonathan Whiskerd released his debut single Blind Belief this week.
Born in the UK, Whiskerd spent much of his childhood in Austria. He taught himself guitar at school and performed in a series of bands. He spent some time after university busking and playing covers and is now launching his career as a musician.
We caught up with Jonathan to talk about his single, his forthcoming album and his refreshingly bold lyrics.
How are you today Jonathan? Where does this email Q&A find you?
I’m well, thank you. It’s Friday – always a productive day for me and my favourite day to write songs! I am currently in my (rather modest) studio at home, working on some ideas.
Your new single Blind Belief is out soon. Tell us about the track.
I’m very proud of this track. I think it has a lot of energy and we had great fun recording it. I like the fact that it is simple and (hopefully) quite singable.
The song’s lyrics are pretty bold. What made you write this song?
The song is about believing in a person, rather than an institution. I feel frustration towards any belief system that seeks to judge or exclude people because of who they are. I feel very fortunate to have people in my life who love and support me unconditionally, even if I say or do things that they don’t personally agree with. The song is about having someone I can turn to.
Would you say Blind Belief is indicative of what your album is going to sound like? What can fans expect from the record?
The whole album was recorded over six weeks in a small studio in Austin, Texas, so yes, this single is a good representation of what the album sounds like. Listeners can expect to hear honest and heartfelt songs, driving rhythms, atmospheric arrangements and a big American pop sound!
What do you hope that people take away from your music?
I hope that people listen to my songs and feel included. My whole reason for writing is to communicate. I like to think of my songs as conversations.
Earlier this year you did a schools tour. What was that experience like for you?
The schools tour was an amazing experience and I was absolutely bowled over by the reaction of students to my songs. I had no idea what to expect and, to be honest, I felt nervous about playing in front of young audiences – but they were so receptive and uninhibited that it was a joy to gig for them (even if it was at 9 o’clock in the morning!)
How did you get into music and when did you decide it was going to be your career?
I first started singing when I was in primary school but my obsession with music really started when my Dad bought me my first guitar for my 14th birthday. I loved learning songs and this is when I started to become interested in songwriting. I didn’t really know how, but I knew I wanted to make it my career. I have played in all sorts of bands, I’ve busked, I’ve worked the covers circuit. I’ve always found great fulfilment in being able to support myself from playing music.
Which artists have really inspired you so far in your career?
I am a huge fan of American singer-songwriter John Mayer. I also love Guy Garvey of Elbow and Jeff Buckley. All of these artists have unique and engaging voices and they are all wonderful lyric writers. Lyric writing is a real passion of mine and I am constantly hunting for that balance between simplicity and intricacy that Mayer, Garvey and Buckley all seem to have mastered.
When can fans see you playing live next?
I am with my band at The Good Ship in Kilburn on 29th May and at Marylebone Summer Fayre on 16th June.
What else do you have coming up this year?
I will be doing another 3 week national schools and radio tour in June/July, which I am very excited about!
Jonathan’s single Blind Belief is out now.