We know that music is such a universal language and it connects us beyond our explanation. With the help of the digital sphere, we’ve been able to connect with similar music lovers around the globe… for us, we’ve been blessed to connect with international artist Jonah Mutono to find out more about his latest album GERG. The album was released in May and we’ve had time to have a listen and dig little deeper. Hope you enjoy this chat:
To someone who’s just discovered your music through GERG, how would you describe yourself?
Jonah: I’d describe myself as a Pop R’n’B artist that pulls from many different sources – from electronic and folk to more traditional soul.
You have talked a lot about your personal life journey when making this particular album… What was important for you to highlight about this journey on this album?
Jonah: The most important thing about this album to me is that it’s really a coming-of-age story. I discovered so much about myself, the way I give and emote, and love, and in doing so I hope other people will feel those same barriers break.
You talk about love a lot on the album, was dealing with love lessons a big inspiration or motivation to create the songs?
Jonah: I think a lot of emotions are parallel. Your relationship to your home can feel as grandiose as a relationship with a human being, and I try and connect those things together. It isn’t all necessarily about my romantic adventures, I’ve lost people by getting deported. I’ve lost friends who are simply entering new chapters in their lives. The root of that emotion was really the inspiration.
Take us through the creative concept of the album and artwork. Take us through the storyboard and who have you worked with?
Jonah: It’s funny because the cover of this album was actually an accident. I worked with my friend, Forest Aragon, who had contacted me about a past project. He simply wanted to shoot pictures for his own artistic pleasure. There was no ulterior motive for that shoot. He sent this picture to me after, and I knew immediately. It was murky and classic, and very affronting. I do feel like the album is an account of me that is so close that it starts to look like someone else. The red-eye just adds the mystery – “what has this disembodied figure been through?”. Listen to find out.
From your experience in the music industry, what foundation would you advise someone hoping to enter the industry to have?
Jonah: I advise that you trust yourself and you trust your art. I would advise that you don’t just let anyone be in your team – even if it takes time, find the right support (lawyer, manager). I advise that you have a decent knowledge of the music that is being made in the community you want to be apart of, artists, producers, and executives. There is space for more stories and more representation, just make good music.
It’s quite a difficult time in the world with Covid-19 putting a hold on almost everything. How have you managed to stay sane and do what you love (in music) through this time?
Jonah: Honestly, I haven’t really stayed sane. It’s been a real challenge but I have good people around me. I moved to Los Angeles with family and we’ve been taking care of each other. There is tension in every direction and so far, that has been solid good inspiration to write and explore new ideas. I also put this album out during quarantine and that’s given me work to do, and ways to spend my hours.
Any virtual performances we can look forward to anytime soon?
Jonah: You can follow me @jonahmutono on IG for news on anything live, or some impromptu at-home sessions. It’s all in good fun.