Pop Folk Musician, JONNY CARROLL Opens Up About His Breakout Album, “Leaving On The Light”
Posted On 13 Jul 2016
Sitting somewhere on the fence of chart pop and contemplative folk, Jonny Carroll’s sound has been cultivated by his eclectic taste in musical extremes and his manic depressive sense of creativity. Hailing from Grand Rapids, MI, Carroll cut his teeth by busking the streets of West Michigan for a living, spending winters playing shows and street performing in England and Scotland.
His debut EP “The Willow” was nominated for 4 WYCE Jammie Awards in 2014 and his music has been featured on a number of regional radio stations spanning from Midwest America across the Atlantic, as well as in the award winning short film ‘Step One’ by Chris Eckenwiler.
Jonny’s debut album ‘Leaving On The Light’ was released on June 17th. He adds “Most of this album was written just after an abandoned wedding engagement, and I found myself wandering the streets of the UK for a couple of winter months trying to make sense of it. The songs are very pop in melody, but folk in narrative.”
Learn more about Jonny in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! How’s 2016 treating you so far? How’s your summer been going? What were some of the highlights of 2015 for you?
Of course! Thanks for having me. 2016 has been a slow climb to this album release, and so far one of the most challenging character building years to date. But I love it. I’m leaning into it. The summer has been really good so far. We leave for the tour on Sunday, and we are heading south first, so we’re preparing for the heat. Last year’s highlights were definitely the UK tours that I did — one of them lasting 2 months. I wrote most of this album on that tour.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
I did, actually, but I used to want to be a drummer, because I thought it’d be easier. To this day, I can’t drum. I have a lot of early, fond musical memories. One that comes to find wasn’t too young, but when I was about 10 — my father was serenading my mother with a song called, ‘Flower in the Rain’. I remember standing in the hall way crying, thinking to myself ‘This is so beautiful. I want to be able to do this.’
You recently released your debut album. What did that feel like? How long did it take to put together?
It felt great. I first started preparing the idea for this album 22 months ago, so to finally come to its release is surreal to say the least. In that time I’ve toured the UK twice, lived in a van, worked on a mushroom farm, rented space in a closet (to sleep in) in rural Michigan, and met so many great people along the way.
Was there anything surprising to you about putting together an album? What was the hardest and easiest part of the process?
The hardest part was fighting day in and day out for a means to fund it. I’ve mostly been on a shoe string budget, so I had to rely on crowd funding, generous people, and finding a balance between keeping myself sane and healthy while also pinching pennies.
What was the inspiration for your newest single, “Leaving On The Light”?
It came from the end of a very serious relationship that I had end — an engagement, actually. The song is about the process one goes through when you’re forced to learn how to let something like that go.
Who are some of your favorite artists? What artists continue to inspire you? Who would you love to work with in the future?
Those are all the same answers: Passenger, Ed Sheeran, and Gavin James are the three top runners. Pretty much my career goals are just to make these guys my besties.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
I want my music to be accessible to as many people as possible. The structure tends to me poppy with mass appeal, but the lyrics have a lot of depth, and you can find a significant amount of layers of complexity in the content if you’re willing to look.