An Interview With the UK Singer-Songwriter, JON ALLEN!
Posted On 11 Jul 2018
Jon Allen is a singer-songwriter from the UK. After a four-year break, Allen returns with a new album, “Blue Flame”, which was released on May 18th. This album takes on a different sound, as Allen honors the feel-good vibes of soul music while including his signature raspy vocals. The first single of the album, “Jonah’s Whale” released March 9th, is an upbeat groove that beautifully starts the journey of the record. The single has been featured on BBC Radio 2 and has over +30K plays on Spotify.
Check out the live recording of “Jonah’s Whale” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKSrgZQWQEU
Also check out the new album here: https://open.spotify.com/album/3d6v4ZtUS7D4Z8e5E7JYOV
Throughout his career, Allen has become a go-to favorite for US music supervisors, with his songs being featured in hit prime time TV shows such as Homeland and Bones, along with movies like The Oranges, Safe Haven, and Army of One.
Allen has toured with some of music’s greatest talents such as Mark Knopfler, Emmylou Harris, Seal and Damien Rice, amongst others.
Learn more about Jon Allen in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you now? What’s on tap for the rest of your day?
It’s a lovely sunny evening in South East London. Wimbledon tennis is on the TV and I am feeling sleepy.
Overall, how do you think 2018 has been treating you and your music career? What has been one goal that you have had this year and how close are you to reaching it?
2018 seems to be a continuation of 2017. My ambition for 2018 is to continue making a living from music. It has been a struggle to get the radio play we have had for previous albums on this new one in the UK. My hope is that the songs might find a way into the public’s consciousness in other ways, perhaps through syncs in TV or film.
Growing up, was music always a big part of your life? Can you recall your first ever musical experience?
I think my mum used to sing to me as a baby. I will have to ask her. My older sister and I had a double album soundtrack of The Jungle Book on vinyl that we would play a lot. Also from the age of four, I vividly remember pop music playing on the bus to primary school. Those songs hit me with a lot of power.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? Has there been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
I would probably say the emotional roller coaster of this life. It’s a life of extremes, even at my level. Moments of illation and adrenaline from a live performance interspersed with a lot of downtime and the solitary experience of songwriting. Then presenting your music to the public and industry, dealing with all the ups and downs that entails.
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live today? What is the music scene like there these days?
Growing up in the country probably is in my blood and I tap into images of nature in the music at times. Not sure if I am apart of the music scene in London. The music world is so interconnected by the internet that it’s just one big soup.
How would you say that you have grown as an artist since you first starting making music? What has remained the same?
At first I was in a band and it took awhile for me to accept the fact that I was a solo artist. I think I know myself now and that gives me confidence. I don’t know what has stayed the same. I am still singing from the heart as I always have. It’s still guitars, drums, piano, and voice in various forms.
What was the inspiration for your new album, “Blue Flame”? Did anything surprise you about getting back into the studio to record this? Why do you think you needed the four-year break?
I needed a four year break to let my mid life crisis really mature uninterrupted. Soul music has always been important to me and on this record. I wanted to expand my sound to include a brass section and more soulful set of songs. The inspiration was, as always, what I was going through at the time – love, life and all that jazz.
How did you go about choosing “Jonah’s Whale” to be the first single released from the collection? What other songs on this album are you particularly proud of?
My plugger in the UK picked it, although the producer opened the album with it so we noticed it’s immediate appeal. My favourites on the album are probably “Hold You In My Heart”, “If You Change Your Mind”, “Tightrope”, and “Waking Dream.”
What do you think makes for an ideal show for you? What has been a favorite performance of yours so far? Do you have any upcoming shows this summer?
We did a very enjoyable London show a few weeks ago that had a great audience and sound. That was a real high point. I am doing a European tour with Dionne Warwick in the autumn that I am really looking forward to.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how your own music is reflecting this time period? If you don’t think it is, why is that? Would you say that other musicians are making music that has been influenced by this climate?
I have been influenced by politics on this album. The song “It’s Just The End Of The World’ was inspired by Trump’s victory as was “Better Day”. Also the Brexit vote in the UK has slit the country and created a feeling of division that mirrors that of America right now. I wanted to make a record to heal those scars as well as reflect on the craziness of it all.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all?
I try. I think it’s all got a bit much. I feel like we have gained a very close connection to our fans but lost a bit of mystic at the same time.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
Bob Dylan is a constant source of inspiration as a songwriter. Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Al Green and Bill Withers were big musical inspirations on this record.
If you had all the money and time in the world, which one of your songs, new or old, would you make a music video for? What would the video be like?
I would love to make a black and white classy video of a pensive Natalie Portman walking the streets of Rome to my song “Night & Day”.
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island forever, what musical item would you take with you and why?
A grand Piano. I could use the wood to build a hut.
If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?
“The Handmaid’s Tale”. It would be good to bring some hope in a really dark show.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music?
I hope it moves them and transports them.
Where can our readers connect with you?
I’m on facebook- https://www.facebook.com/JonAllenmusic/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/jonallenmusic