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Self-made Calif. singer shoots for the moon

editor in chief

Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013

Updated: Thursday, January 17, 2013 15:01



The Utah Statesman interviewed Jonathan Jones, frontman for the California-based band We Shot the Moon. In anticipation of the band’s upcoming performance at USU, we asked him about his life as a musician and his ties to Utah.


US: We heard you’ve done some recording in Utah. Why?


JJ: The album that’s coming out in March ... was recorded with this guy Mitch Davis, who lives in Farmington, Utah. He reached out to me and he’s just fantastic. So yeah, it was kind of weird. Usually I do my albums in Hollywood or New York or Seattle, even, but this one was done in Farmington, Utah. I think, sonically, it’s going to turn out to be one of my better ones.


US: You funded your last album, “Love and Fear,” through Kickstarter, and backers donated nearly twice your original goal of $7,500. What prompted the move to crowd funding?


JJ: “I’ve been on multiple record labels. For this (album), I wasn’t on a label. To kind of keep up the bar, to make the album my fans have been accustomed to, I went to Kickstarter. Because usually you draw the funds from the record label — they pay for the album. I could have paid for it myself, but it would have taken a couple of years. 


US: Do you think crowd funding sites like Kickstarter will play a role in the music industry’s future?


JJ: Yeah, it already is playing a major role, and I see it continuing to play a larger role. If you can be transparent with your fans and build a good fanbase, I don’t see any problems. Especially if you’re a mid-level artist. 


US: It’s hard to make a living through music. What was the key to your success?


JJ: Change. I try to anticipate where the market is going for music and change with it. Don’t be stubborn — be open to change. Find people you trust and then listen to them. When they say something, actually listen. And then work hard. Everyday, I’m like thinking eight months ahead.

And be nice. You never know. I’ve seen — especially in my career, it’s been really crazy — I’ve seen small people get very big and big people get very small. So you just try to treat people like you’d like to be treated, because at the end of the day you never know who’s going to break through.

I remember a little teeny band opened up for me and the singer reached out to me. This was like back in 2004. He was like, “Oh, hey, my name is Teddy, I’m from kind of the L.A. area. We’re going to be playing somewhere with you tonight. Just wanted to say hi and here’s a link to my music.” And I checked it out was like, “Oh, this sounds really good. I can’t believe this band isn’t bigger.” Well, they got very big. The next year, they broke as OneRepublic. And then I was able to play some shows with them, because I wasn’t a jerk or anything.


US: What is playing in Utah like compared to other places? Is there anything unique about the atmosphere of a Utah show?


JJ: My biggest fanbase is throughout Utah and Idaho, so it’s always generally these high-energy shows. It’s like home. It’s that kind of hometown show for me.


US: Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans planning to attend your show at USU?


JJ: Come on out. Come be a part of my home-away-from-home show.


We Shot the Moon will play in the TSC Sunburst Lounge on Jan. 18 at 8 p.m. The concert is part of Traditions Week and admission is free.

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