Interview: Jonasu Shares “On My Mind”, Inspiration And More

Reading Time: 9 Minutes

Hey, Jonasu! We’d love our readers to understand you on a deeper level. Can you be ever so kind as to tell us a little about who you are and what you do?

I just moved to Berlin after living for 11 years in Amsterdam. Since I was a little kid I’ve been making music. I started playing the drums at five and went on to learn some piano and guitar along the way. This led to me studying drums in Amsterdam and the conservatory blades. A lot of sessions, musician gigs as a sideman, you know, just throwing in bands. Then got into music production and songwriting and ended up writing some stuff for television, like TV series, and commercials. These days I’m an artist, a music producer, releasing my own music that I write and produce. It’s great and it’s often together with other people, such as JC Stewart.

So your single “On My Mind” certainly is a vibe! Tell me how the song came about and what was it like working with JC Stewart?

The link with JC Stewart was kind of like, I knew his name, his music and was a big fan of his project for a long time. He wasn’t necessarily the first name that was in my mind when I thought about who I could collaborate with. I think the label somehow suggested his name and I was like, oh, yeah, this guy I remember now. Originally it was a female vocal, that was the reason why I didn’t even consider any male artists like JC. Thinking about it though, I was pretty convinced that the song would fit his voice, his story and his songwriting.

When I sent it to him, he was somewhere on a festival, touring, and he was in a dressing room with his manager and the photographer, and he played the song and they liked it. So he recorded a demo in that dressing room on his MacBook without any gear and it sounded pretty bad, not because he sang badly just because the recording quality was so poor, however, you could hear that his voice worked well. A few months later, he came to Berlin, and we recorded it together and yeah, the rest is history.

Where did the name for the song come from?

The name of the song came from the lyrics. I think the whole song is about obsession. Everyone knows the feeling when you meet someone special. You’re literally thinking about that person every second and it’s a kind of obsessive. It’s about something positive, but also it kind of feels strange and isn’t that nice, necessarily healthy. I think I wanted to capture this whole atmosphere, a bit like the dark side of it, although it’s a very positive song because you’re apparently in love and with the obsessiveness of that it was pretty clear that the title is going to be ‘On My Mind’. 

You’re signed to 3Beat, home of notable artists such as Cheryl, INNA and Alexandra Stan. Tell me how that came about and how it made you feel?

Although I knew 3 Beats from some songs that were out there that I liked, the link was made through my management who worked for a long time with the team of 3Beats.  So my management reached out to them to see if they wanted to be involved in my project, and we met them on Zoom and talked a bit about my views and my whole vision for the project, and they were kind of, like super enthusiastic from the first moment, it was a good feeling. We had good energy and so it was kind of like an easy decision to sign with them. I wanted to devote myself more to this project, rather than producing for other people.

It was a big moment when I signed my record deal. You realise it’s getting serious, you’re gonna have to commit more but at the same time, it’s an amazing feeling. It’s a great achievement to sign with a record label, have so many people behind your project and pushing it. It was an energising day that was like ‘okay, let’s go, we can do this. 

The power of music releases my stress, what do you do to keep your well-being in check?

Yeah, that’s a good question. Music is also a big part for me. I mean, I’m still consuming music, although I make music pretty much every day. I like to put on records to wind down. At the end of the day I think for me, it’s just like being aware of where my limits are. The balance between work and not work. That’s been something I’ve been trying to figure out for a while. So far, it has worked quite well, I started to take more time off and have breaks.

When I first started out, I was working on stuff, which was good to get the ball rolling, but you can only do that for so long because  I think a lot of inspiration also comes from actually the time that you don’t spend on exactly the creative things you’re doing. So just doing different things, sports, just to be like in good health in your mind and your body.

Now you’ve worked with talent such as JC Stewart, who next would you love to collaborate with and why?

There are quite some names on the list. I like working with great singers and special voices, just like voices that capture your attention right away. A couple of people that I’m such a big fan of, for example, are Raye. I think she’s just an amazing singer, amazing personality and personality in her voice and she’s such a good writer, so I would love to get in the studio with her. I’m trying to get back to London soon to work with Ella Henderson. I am a huge fan of hers as well, so hopefully, we can make it happen soon. 

You’re a pretty cool guy with a great distinctive style, is there any item in your wardrobe you cannot live without? We’d love to know!

Oh, thanks, that’s a nice compliment and a good question. I just like comfy clothes, I mean, I have some things I wear such as bucket hats and I like wearing them so I think I wouldn’t be able to live without them. Being experimental, I’m keen to just change stuff up and get inspired and try new things.

Tell me about the music scene in Amsterdam and how this place of identity inspires you?

So yes, I don’t live in Amsterdam anymore but it was a big influence on my life for sure. I spent a lot of time there playing in bands and I think for the size, a lot is going on in Amsterdam. There are several bands with different genres playing a lot of different music so you’re exposed to all kinds, ranging from classical music to pop music and also electronic music. There are a lot of DJs from the Netherlands and Amsterdam, so you are also pretty much exposed to dance and club music. 

I think the biggest influence is cycling, everyone in Amsterdam cycles and so did I and I still cycle a lot now in Berlin. I really enjoyed that form for my creativity, you kind of have this 20 minutes where you go from A to B, where you can just like, play with ideas in your head or think about and come up with melodies or lyrics. You get inspired by your surroundings all the time there, you see people on the streets, or just think you contemplate your own life. Then when I was cycling to my studio, I often arrived at the studio with an idea like, Oh, this is actually what I want to do, I want to write a song about this and there was a really great inspiration.

Going forward, can you give us any hints on any upcoming releases, or are your lips silenced shut?

I can only say that there’s gonna be a lot of music that is kind of like in the pipeline. On My Mind, with JC Stewart was just released, so it will be a few weeks, maybe months till the next single, you want to give the single the best opportunity. I do have a lot of music and hopefully can release an album soon. There are no plans set in stone. Everything is like moving around all the time in the whole music industry so I cannot make any promises, unfortunately. 

Tell us something no one knows about you if you can?

Maybe something random people don’t know about me is that I have been baking my own bread for a very long time. This year got very busy, so I couldn’t keep it up anymore, because I also have a lot of work on. I have a sourdough starter in my fridge that I feed and keep alive and I’ve made my own sourdough bread and I love bread. 

Your music videos are visually captivating. Would it be fair to ask if creative control is important to you?

I’m pretty hands-on in a lot of things I’m doing especially visually like the artwork and music videos. Obviously, I work with directors and teams that actually make the video in the end. I already have a pretty good idea of what works and what I want most of the time. So I do keep things in my head and it’s not easy to let loose If you know everything is about your project. You also definitely have to learn to let some people do their job without trying to be the cook all the time. I do like knowing what’s going to happen and what my visuals should look like.

What advice would you give to other musicians hoping to make a mark in the industry?

Work hard, be patient and don’t worry so much about things. Never get frustrated as things don’t happen overnight, really they just don’t. It pays off if you deliver good work over a long period of time, it gets you noticed.  I think giving up way too quickly is a problem with most people in this industry. It’s a very slow industry from writing a song to releasing it and it can take a year or two. So don’t give up, just keep going. Give your best and if you continue to do so at some point you will have success. It’s like a business that has to grow to be successful.

We all have inspiring figures and people to thank for our journey. Who are yours?

Yeah, great question, my girlfriend supports me very well in everything I’m doing. She’s such a good mirror to bounce ideas back and forth. She’s involved in the whole creative process of everything. Then, of course, I would think my parents, and my upbringing, that I was able to do music.  Having the freedom to do whatever I wanted without judgment on whether I should get a real job or not. It’s very special,  something which I appreciate and I’m thankful for. Inspiring figures would be artists that managed to produce art for a long time and be consistent and keep going. I think it’s the hardest part that your fifth album will still be amazing, and you’re not out of ideas.

To finish with what legacy do you want to leave behind and how do you want fans to remember you?

The big question, I just want to share music with people and try to give them whatever they need. What’s most important to me is that my fans get something from the music I’m making. Whether that’s comfort or a tool to release stress or just emotions. In the end, music is so powerful as it can be such a good thing for your soul. I just want to leave this behind for people to have the same hopefully with my music as with what I have with other people’s music that helped me through difficult times and also good times. If fans remember me for nice moments they had with my music then that’s all I can ever ask for.


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Young entrepreneur and freelance model. Founder of the AW20 Hope & Glory Fashion show, with interests in mythology, spiritualism and astrology among many others. One can be contacted via Instagram @Connormantle

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