Years ago Jonathan Plevyak came across my baby, Golden Mixtape, we talked about his debut album and more then. It’s been a minute, but it’s always nice when old friends come back around and are doing well. Then he was a singer-songwriter on the solo, today he’s taken a route traveled by many and headed to Nashville, got himself a band and now plays under Plevyak. He and the band have been super busy too! Playing the CMA Fest in Nashville just last week and in the coming months they’ll be on stage at a Fourth of July event, heading out for a week and much more that’s still to be announced. Now let’s talk more with Jonathan as he opens up about growing up, the realness of love, and how his move to one of the best cities for music has helped him…
Kendra: First of all, how’ve you been since we last spoke when you dropped Long Way Home?
Jonathan Plevyak: I’ve been great honestly. I hope you’ve been doing wonderful. I always love reading your interviews and reviews with bands and artists. It’s been a little while since my first album Long Way Home! I’ve been real busy with music full time now. I’ve been writing, recording, gigging a ton with my new band and getting to travel a lot. Making a ton of new friends and fans along the way. That’s been my favorite part of it all. It’s been a lot of hard work behind the scenes, but I’m thankful for every opportunity. With my new album From The Heart I started releasing the music just under my last name, Plevyak. I have a incredible backing band who has truly helped me grow as a musician and a person. They’ve really added to the songwriting and to the new sound. Plevyak is cool cause it’s the Artist/Band name, but it can both work in a Singular or Plural sense, So I can still perform solo acoustic and stuff like that. Its me. My sound has really evolved since the first album.
Kendra: Any differences in your life now that may’ve changed how you approached recording your upcoming release this summer?
Jonathan: I’ve just grown up a lot and have just gotten experience through the last two years through trial and error of what works and what doesn’t. What people like/what they don’t like. My musical tastes have changed completely in the last two years as well as in how I write or sing or play guitar. So I guess it’s just a lot of interpersonal changes that happen with growth and getting older. A huge part too has been my new band and my new production team. I never wanted to be another singer-songwriter with an acoustic guitar. I’ve always been drawn to the full band sound and spectacle. I have the privilege of working with the two coolest producers in Nashville; Craig Wilson and Jay Tooke. Just absolute masters of their crafts, incredible guys and friends. These guys can make any musical vision come to life and also contributed a lot to the songwriting of these new songs as well. It really was a team effort. I didn’t know these people and didn’t have these incredible minds and friends in my life two years ago. So between those three things, I think that really has changed the way I’ve gone about the recording process for the foreseeable future.
Kendra: Did recording in Nashville influence the overall feel at all?
Jonathan: Absolutely. Nashville has become my second home over the last two years. I’m currently in the process of moving from Baltimore, MD to Nash. It’s music city for a reason. Just incredible talent, minds, people, and vibes in that city. Baltimore has a incredible music scene. It’s so different than Nashville. But being in a different music city, you are a small fish in a big pond and you are learning so much new information and applying it to your style and sound and it’s just so fun. The city just reeks of inspiration everywhere you turn your head and it’s just so easy to get lost into the magic of creating there. Especially in the studio. I think the biggest thing for me, is just being in Nashville, and driving down the street and seeing all the major music labels and publishing companies and knowing that some of the best writers, producers, artists, bands, etc all live there. It’s just like a “welcome to the big leagues, don’t screw up” kinda mentality, and I think that brings the best out of people when making an album. It pushes you.
Kendra: When it comes to the new album, what are three emotions you feel listeners are going to have when they put this one on?
Jonathan: That’s a great question. There’s a lot of variety on it. I would say: 1. Happy. 2. Uplifted. 3. Sad (I know that contradicts the first two emotions, but there is a couple heavy songs on it). Overall it’s a very upbeat, colorful album. I wanted the artwork for all the singles and the album to be as colorful and vibrant as possible. At the end of the day, I want to make music that people can have fun to. Riding down the highway with the windows down singing your heart out to. Or late summer nights with your best friends. A soundtrack to stuff like that. The kind that brings them nothing but good vibes.
Kendra: Your lead single focuses on reality, “Something Real.” But what is something make believe that you hold close to your heart that’s as real as can be to you?
Jonathan: Wow. That’s another amazing question. Strangely enough, I’d say love. Which is weird cause I write about love all the time. But looking back, I don’t think I’ve experienced love-love in a relationship form yet. So until that day comes, I’ll view love as a beautiful myth.
Kendra: So you finished up your first tour last summer. What are a few things you learned that you’ll definitely do different the next time around?
Jonathan: Yep! It was some of the best moments of my life. Can’t wait for this new one this Summer! The shows are going to be so fun! But I would definitely say; 1. Budget and organize money better. 2. Plan ahead more in the booking process for shows/travel/costs/etc. 3. Do not eat like kings for the first three nights out and blow most of your food budget in the first three shows 4. Don’t eat so much fast food. 5. Play in more cities where we have more personal connections to fans/friends/family/the music scene in that area.
Kendra: So we know you’re about the music, but we want to switch your focus to art for a second. If you had to choose an art piece that best represents your sound, what would it be?
Jonathan: You knock it out of the park with these questions. “The Great Wave off Kanagawa.” The title track of the album talks all about changing from the heart. Mistakes being washed away like the tides. I’d choose that piece of art because I think my music and me as a person will always be changing and evolving forward with motion, just like the waves.