In this interview I talk to to Jon all about music and singing.
How long have you been singing?
Believe it or not, there’s video evidence of me attempting to sing from as young as the age of five, so technically, quite some time, but nothing is ever that simple. I’ve had more flings with music than John Mayer has A-list celebrities. There’s been multiple reasons as to why I’ve put singing to one side since starting. First there was the peer pressure, then the voice break and then the huge issues I had with nerves when performing live. Funnily enough, I only started to find time for singing again about 5 years ago after my teaching career took over my life. It helped me realise how much I wanted to make music though. I really missed it, which is why I resigned and made singing and songwriting my career three years ago.
Do you write your own songs?
The first time I remember writing a song was for my music GCSE coursework. It was something I felt really uncomfortable with, as I’d spent the whole course learning piano. I had no idea what to do. My solution was to rip off the latest Daniel Beddingfield track. I’ve still got the recordings and my vocals we’re awful! They were so bad in fact, they really put me off trying to sing again. However, the experience sparked my interest in songwriting, which is something I came back to during my final year of college, thanks to a massive emergence of indie bands, such as Arctic Monkeys, who approached storytelling in new and unique ways I’d not heard before.
What type of music do you prefer performing?
A month ago I’d have told you any big sing-a-long song. Having a room full of people dancing and singing along with you is incredible, but since lockdown I’ve taken to Twitch and I’ve experienced something new since I’ve started streaming regularly. I set up an online requests system so people can choose what songs I play and something I never expected was that people would request my own original music as much as, if not more than, the covers I play. I really get a buzz out of that. I always held the belief that people touring the same album all year, or their one hit wonder from years back would get boring, but my opinions changed. There’s no better feeling in music to have people connect with the songs you’ve written yourself. Songs that really mean something to you. When live music venues open up again, I’m going to make sure I slip a few of my own songs into my sets.
What instruments do you play?
The first instrument I learned to play was piano, but despite playing to a grade five level, I quit my lessons after I passed my music GCSE as I really wasn’t enjoying the pressure that came with it. The indie scene I mentioned earlier had me fascinated with guitar though, so when I found out my dad had an old one hidden away on top of his wardrobe, I claimed it as my own and got to work teaching myself how to play. It’s now my main instrument, the one I’d say I play best, but I’m still able to find my way around a piano. I’ve also gained a bit of experience playing bass, percussion and recorder along the way!
Where is your favourite place to perform and what has been your best set so far?
I’m not really sure I have a favourite venue. You could play in the same bar all week and every gig would be different. I guess how much I enjoy a gig or a set comes down to how people respond to it. I used to think the best gigs would be the busiest ones, or those in the most prestigious venues, but you can have a room full of people who don’t even notice you’re there. Obviously, when that room full of people gets involved it’s amazing, but it’s no more amazing than that one full table in the bar getting up and dancing on the tables. What really makes a gig feel special to me is when people take the time to come over at the end of the night and personally thank you for making their night. It’s often those people who go out of their way to come and see you perform again too.
Where can people find your music?
The main place to see me doing my thing at the minute is live on Twitch at www.twitch.tv/jonpagemusic. I stream five days a week and you can get notifications about when I go live by following my channel. If people would like to listen to some of my original music, when I’m not streaming, it’s available for download through my website www.jonpagemusic.com and platforms such as iTunes and Google Play. You can also find it on music streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music. Just search Jon Page.
What’s behind your brand change and what’s coming up?
I had a little dilemma when transitioning from being a teacher to becoming a singer-songwriter. I needed to be able to start promoting my ‘brand’ but not make it too easy for the children I taught, and their parents, to find my content. I had that happen on a teaching placement when I did music the first time around and it made things really awkward. I ended up going with JPAGE as it was on my name badge, so even if my content did get found, at least my name would still be a secret. The problem was, when I introduced or promoted my website and socials etc. at gigs, people would think I was saying my name was ‘Jay Page’ making it really difficult for them to find me on Facebook etc. so I decided it was time to make a change. The funny thing is, that name left its mark. Some friends I met during that period still call me ‘Jay’ to this day.
Where do you see yourself next year?
I don’t know if it’s a good approach, but I like to take each day as it comes. Looking ahead of the current week can feel a little overwhelming to me, so I’ve never really thought about it. I guess something I’d like to work towards is building a strong community online, particularly on Twitch, and maybe even get to a point where I’m making my living gigging and sharing my music online.