Posted On 24 Jan 2019
In 2017, singer-songwriter Jonathan Tilkin first burst onto the Instagram scene. He quickly gained 100K followers with his unique and inventive multi-cam covers of major pop songs.
His debut single, DAYDREAMIN, was released on August 18th and has surpassed 2+ million streams on Spotify, charted in 10 countries, and the accompanying music video has over 275k plays. The track was created by Tilkin’s team, which includes Aaron Hagan (Vocal producer for Ariana Grande, Meghan Trainor and Selena Gomez) and Ryan Summer (Engineer/producer for Flo Rida, Jason Derulo and Daniel Skye).
His follow up single, SOMETHING TO HOLD ON TO, a soaring ballad showcasing his development as a songwriter, was released February 13th in conjunction with Bonne Magazine for NY Fashion Week. The track has 700k+ streams and the accompanying video has 85k+ views.
His newest track, SAY YES, already has over 13K views on Youtube! Check it out here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvuDxJpySqE&fbclid=IwAR1T8WTQEv_Qxfi-JZLNi4G9QLfTWzT6Atkliyf9W6pxn4ixVP4fX2Y-ep4
Originally from Boca Raton, Florida, Tilkin’s distinct vocal style blends his love of virtuosic greats like Stevie Wonder with pop acts like One Direction and Ed Sheeran.
Connect With Jonathan Tilkin Here:
Learn more about Jonathan Tilkin in the following All Access interview:
Where does this interview find you now?
Right now it’s 1:30am and I’m in my house here in LA!
Now that 2019 has started, what musical goals do you have yourself this new year? Did you make any new years resolutions?
Yes! 2018 was the year of hard work, but 2019 is gonna be the year of smart work. I worked intensely but mostly on my own this last year. This year my goal is to write with new writers, perform live a ton, and build a strong network of collaborators to work with.
Growing up, how important was music in your life? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make? Was there ever a time when you thought about doing something else?
Music has always been a part of my life, but I spent most of my childhood convinced I couldn’t be a musician full time. I had some vocal injuries when I was a kid and was in rehab for years before I started gaining back my voice. It wasn’t until I was 20 that I even decided to pursue music. My vocal coach was working with Ariana Grande at the time and while they were doing the Jingle Ball circuit, a new singer at the time, Shawn Mendes, was performing. My coach said to me one day randomly that if a kid like him could become a pop star, I could do it too. It was really the first time anyone had ever said anything like that to me and something just clicked and I immediately put all my energy into pop music. That year I picked up a guitar for the first time and wrote my first song as well – Daydreamin.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
The biggest surprise so far has been how many people can completely ghost on projects. Everyone from managers to investors can be involved non-stop for months and then suddenly not pick up a phone. It’s very strange and unnerving, but the deeper you get into this business, the quicker you begin to spot the red flags. Most importantly, it forces you to become your own team and biggest support system, which is really important as a developing artist.
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live today?
It’s funny that you mentioned my hometown – I had a great childhood – but I don’t think I’ll ever live in South Florida again. So many of my old friends have moved back home and while I support their decision, I can’t imagine doing so myself. I’m so terrified of normalcy. I know that’s a weird thing to say, but I’m hyper aware of how fast time is moving and the more unique events I go to and new people I meet, the slower things seem to go. That’s why I love LA – there’s so much to do and so many interesting people to get to know.
Let’s talk about your single, “Daydreamin”? What was the inspiration for this track? What was it like working with such incredible and well-known engineers and producers on it?
Weirdly enough, I was going through a break up when i wrote Daydreamin. I was tired of feeling sad and bad for myself, so I wanted to write something that gave me hope and reminded me of what it was like to feel excited again. Working with Aaron and Ryan was really amazing, They’re two guys who keep hunting and trying new things until they get it right. You don’t always get to endlessly explore songs before finalizing them for a record, so it was a really special song in that way.
What about your follow-up single “Something To Hold On To”? How do you think this song shows the growth that you have gone through as an artist? What was the inspiration of this song?
I think the lyrical content was the biggest growth. I was evaluating and talking about a real situation I was in. It wasn’t really young love, I’d consider that song to be about my first adult relationship. I wrote it days after a break up when I wasn’t sure I made the right decision. Half of the song is about believing what my ex and I had was something special, and the other half is more a song about how I hoped I would feel in my next relationship. I guess I have a habit of writing about feelings I’d rather be experiencing.
When do you hope to release more new music and a full collection of new songs? What has been inspiring you musically lately?
I hope to release an EP late Spring/early Summer. What’s been inspiring me lately has been my new writing partner – Emily Brimlow. She’s an incredible musician and I respect her as a writer so much. There’s so much mutual respect that it’s made it so easy to write together. We’ll just keep spitting out new hooks and lyrics until the other persons eyes light up. Then we high five, write down whatever it was and keep going. It’s very fun and easy. Her influences are more on the Urban side so we both bring very different things to the table, which makes everything super interesting.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?
Honestly it’s a lot of work. Especially since the apps change so much all the time. I used to get really bothered when posts didn’t do well – but now I understand that I’m just building my catalog right now and letting the people who have already found me get to know more about me. All it takes is one viral video or hit song to make all your socials explode. I’m trying not to think too hard about it these days and to focus on the part that will drive people to my social accounts – the music. Favorite way to connect though would have to be Tik Tok. It’s all about just being silly and making funny videos. I post covers there but also funny stuff when I can. I’m addicted to the app honestly. It’s not about getting the perfect photo, it’s about making me laugh and have a good 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?
Love that question. The musicians who I had on repeat endlessly at some point in my life are: Michael Jackson, Bryan Adams, Queen, Journey, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, 5 Seconds of Summer, Shawn Mendes, Ed Sheeran, and probably another dozen but those are the ones that came to mind. I’d love to write a song with Julia Michaels and have a song produced by Max Martin.
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island forever, what musical item would you take with you and why?
My guitar! That thing has been there for me through everything. I play it everyday and sometimes when I stop and just think about how I can make what I hear in my head come to life with it I just tear up a little. I don’t know what I would do without music.
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?
One of my good friends is working on a documentary he shot for 5 years of his life. It documents him through college and becoming a videographer in LA – the guy worked with Cameron Dallas and Shawn Mendes before they were big names – and I’m really hoping I can get one of my songs in his documentary. Even if no one were to see it I’d still be proud to have my music be a part of such a unique experience that a friend has created. More mainstream though – I’d be stoked if a big drama like Grey’s Anatomy used “Something to Hold On To”.
What has been a favorite show of yours in the past? What do you think makes an ideal show for you? Do you have any tour dates you would like to tell our readers about?
I did an intimate, acoustic house concert a few weeks ago. It was the first time I felt like the audience really wanted me to be up there and they wanted to hear every story I had and every song I had written. Sometimes you’re just in front of the right people and every let’s their guards down and you can feel free to explore and try new things knowing that everyones just there to have a good time and not to judge. At one point I even pulled out “We are the Champions” but I asked everyone to put their phones away because I might crack on the high note and didn’t want it recorded haha. They actually all put their phones away! It was pretty cool to be that connected with people I didn’t even know.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music? I’d like to know more about how you want your music to be timeless?
The biggest thing I can hope for is that someone out there uses my music to heal a part of their soul the way my favorite songs have healed mine. I’ve never been a trendy guy. I’ve always dressed well, but I grab a classic pair of jeans and a white tee. My music is kind of the same way. I hope that when I look back at my music in 20 years I notice how nice the words were or how catchy the melody was, not how dated the production sounds now, if that makes sense. I love when you can listen to music from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s and it doesn’t feel old, I hope mine is the same way.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
Just that I’m grateful you all took the time to read this article about me and that I hope you go listen to my music on your favorite streaming platform now! 🙂