Interview: Jon Sandler

Jon Sandler is an acclaimed pop singer-songwriter from New York City who is accruing considerable attention across the US and the UK.
He is releasing his first full album this year and looks to be firmly on the pathway to success. Charlie Piercey got the chance to interview him just off the back of his UK tour:

PopBucket: How would you describe the sound of your music and who are your major influences?

Jon Sandler: It’s definitely a hard to describe sound – I like to call it a pop fusion.  I am inspired by artists like Michael Jackson, The Talking Heads and Elton John – amazing songwriters who also know how to put on a show.

PB: When did you start working as a musician/song-writer?

JS: I don’t necessarily feel like I have ever “worked” as a songwriter.  I have been doing it since I was so young (about 9) and it comes so naturally to me that it feels like a function on my body, like breathing. Luckily, since I feel like expressing myself that way was not a conscious choice for me, it is one of the things that I enjoy doing the most in the world.

PB: Tell us a little bit about your latest L.P Late Night Champ and upcoming single Stars Align. What inspires you to write and how has this changed across your different releases?

JS: Late Night Champ is my first real full-length album.  It is basically a compilation of songs that I wrote over the past 10 or so years that I think tells a pretty good story of my emotions and experiences up till now. Produced by my piano player Dominic Fallacaro, mixed by Justin Gerrish (Vampire Weekend) and mastered by Chris Gehringer (Lady Gaga), I am extremely proud of the way it sounds and have been so excited and honored by the positive response we have been getting.  I am inspired by everything and anything – deep topics like life, death, time and love and also more superficial things like my cat Judy or Vodka. Stars Align, whilst it sounds like a love song, is actually about not wanting to be with someone and telling them facetiously that I’ll “see them when the stars align”.

PB: What’s it like working with a production team whose credits include Lady Gaga and Muse, have you learnt a lot?

JS: Working with experienced professionals is always an amazing experience and I always learn a ton.  Living in NYC, I often find myself in the presence of greatness and just try to absorb all I can.

PB: What have you gained from working with other musicians?

JS: More and more lately I have enjoyed collaborating creatively.  It really helps you to create unique things and think outside your comfort zone.  It’s a good way to grow.

PB: This modern technological climate has seen a rise in D-I-Y artists, with this in mind have you ever considered setting up your own record label?

JS: These days it is possible for artists to gain success being completely self-sufficient and releasing their own music.  I have been signed to a great independent label for a few years now and I enjoy having other people taking care of the business side of things and supporting me in other areas, it allows me to focus more on the music.

PB: What has been your biggest challenge in the music industry thus far?

JS: Definitely the biggest challenge is just getting your name out there amongst the thousands of other musicians all trying to do the same thing, trying to infiltrate the same eyes and ears.  Especially when you are just starting out, you definitely hear ‘no’ more than ‘yes’.  It’s hard when the music is so personal.

PB: What’s your ultimate goal as a music artist?

JS: My goal is to just keep making music and to be able to tour and share it with people that want to hear it.  I hope that people relate to my words and gain comfort in hard times, or pleasant accompaniment in the good times.

PB: How did your recent UK dates go, did you get a good reception?

JS: I was overwhelmed by the positive reception I got in the UK.  People were responding and connecting to my songs in a really special way.  It was awesome to feel so welcomed so far from home.

PB: It’s widely known to be extremely difficult to break into the music industry as an artist; do you have any advice for those who aspire to?

JS: Just stay true to yourself and don’t give up.  Also, only pursue this journey if you can’t not (yes, double negative) pursue it – if it’s what your soul needs to live.  It is not easy, there are a lot of sacrifices and a lot of discouraging moments, but if it’s what you are meant to do, the extreme joys and fulfillment you will get, makes it all worth it.

PB: How can potential fans gain access your music?

JS: All my music is on iTunes and Spotify and you can get all updates and news at Facebook, Twitter and on my site. Thank you so much!

PB: Thank you very much for your time Jon, we look forward to the release of your new album and wish you the best for the future.

Late Night Champ is set for release on 29 July with the new single Stars Align coming to us on 1 July.

Author: Charlie Piercey

Musician, Journalist, Expert Procrastinator.

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