A number of artists have found their way to music and performing through the theater. Growing up JonoJosh was a bright-eyed kid watching Grease on the daily with his sister. Now he’s in the stage production of it while simultaneously working on new EP, and giving us hope with his latest single, “Chance.” We talked at length about each and every one of the above. So keep on keepin on to see what this talent from Canada had to say about it all.
Kendra: Tears were streaming down my face when I read why you began writing “Chance.” My fiance was diagnosed with cancer this year and we just found out he’s in remission. We’ve still got a long way to go until we’re out of the woods for good, but I just had to share that. For you, was this the first time something like cancer had come close to your reality? Is that why you started to pen the track?
JonoJosh: A quite a few years before I wrote this song my aunt Heather lost her life to breast cancer. She had been given her diagnosis far too late but still fought with all she had for two months. When she passed I don’t think I fully knew how to ask the questions that I do in this song. But when I wrote this song I didn’t know how to ask anything but these questions.
Kendra: Over the years you’ve said the song has sort of transformed into this symbol of hope and represents fighting when you’ve got very little fight left in you. When was the was last time you needed that “Chance” encouragement?
JonoJosh: The interesting thing about this song is that I find now it inspires me to fight for my art form. To make sure I don’t give up making music and telling stories through music. Being an artist it is easy to get caught up in the fame monster and lose sight of why you make music. This is my reminder to tell the stories that matter.
Kendra: The song has a grand message, but the video has a whole other one. The scenery is not random. It’s actually land that may be taken over and torn up. Have environmental issues always been a passion of yours?
JonoJosh: I’ve always loved nature but I have to admit, I haven’t always done as much as I should do protect it. Urban sprawl is so accepted today that people, including myself, often forget to protect the earth which is the one thing keeping us alive. For me I try to support causes that bring healing to people and being in nature is sometimes the best way to find emotional healing. So I do feel a need to do what I can.
Kendra: Your Outside EP was amazing. So I have to know is that what we can expect more or less from your new one? I saw on Instagram one was in the works, so…you better have one out soon! Don’t keep those pipes from us!
JonoJosh: The next EP is a very interesting one I’d have to say. It’s definitely a bit different from Outside. It has a more gritty straight-to-the-point edge to it. Each song is a journey. Whereas the outside EP was about finding myself in the world for the first time, this EP “the freaky adventures of the groove” is a bit more enlightened. It’s meant to feel raw and gritty. I can’t wait to share it with the world!
Kendra: Um, can we talk about you being a part of Grease Live in Toronto real quick? That was my favorite movie at 5-years-old. First off, did you partake in the theater before making singing a career?
JonoJosh: I love the theatre! I started off dancing in musicals as a kid but took quite a few years off to tour with the stepping crew, Black Ice. Eventually, I got the theatre bug again and I attended Sheridan for musical theatre. I was then given the amazing opportunity to perform at Stratford last year in a Chorus Line. From there I’ve been doing theatre ever since. So let’s talk Grease! It is also one of my favourite shows. My sister would always play the movie growing up. And I can say that the rehearsals are more than living up to my childhood love for the movie. The production is a true homage to the 1950’s. The whole cast is so talented. I feel very blessed to be counted as one of them.
Kendra: Also, were you inspired by any musicals growing up to be a performer?
JonoJosh: There are quite a few musicals that inspire me: Leslie Arden’s and Cathy Elliott’s Moll, Jason Robert Brown’s Parade, Mitchell Cushman’s and Julie Tepperman’s Brantwood. Each has inspired me for different reasons but I think the factor that was shared by all of them was the honesty in each story that was portrayed. That is something I strive to do in my music.
Kendra: What else is up with you in the coming months? What should we be on the lookout for?
JonoJosh: So as you have gleaned we will be releasing an EP in the near future and I will be performing in Grease for the winter. But what I didn’t mention is that we are currently planning on bringing the fly crew together for a performance in January where we will be performing the songs from the EP.
Kendra: Usually, I ask people to compare their music to a piece of art, but you’re different. If you had to compare “Chance” to a Broadway production which would it be and why?
JonoJosh: Ok this is fun. I think Sunday in the Park with George evokes some of the same emotions visually I was going for when editing the music video of chance. But on the other hand, I would say the music of Bon Iver’s Hadestown is the most similar musically to the full EP. So I’d have to say a mixture of those two.