Jon Vinyl is finally releasing his first new music of 2021, and it’s every bit as emotional and exciting as we’ve come to expect from the up-and-coming R&B singer-songwriter.
We last heard from the 23-year-old in 2020 when lockdown was still in its early stages. Now, a little over a year later, we’ve caught up with him again and discovered he’s kept himself busy cooking up new music and gearing up for his debut project which is expected to drop later this year.
With his smooth new single “Told You,” Vinyl pulls on our heartstrings while weaving together a story that’s sad but romantic, dramatic yet simple. The intimate music video cycles through the ups and downs of a relationship that’s falling apart as Vinyl attempts to delicately mend it, mirroring the song’s roots in a difficult breakup he experienced.
“My significant other and I weren’t on the best terms, ultimately leading to a huge lack of communication in our relationship,” he tells Complex. “I was in this hopeful headspace where I felt like I needed to let her know that she is my person and that we can get through this, which wasn’t easy. Feeling quite helpless, I turned to what I know—the pen and paper—to create this song which encapsulates all the things I was having trouble expressing to her back then.”
Putting the heartbreak behind him, the Pickering native has channeled this vulnerability into his songwriting, resulting in a poignant and emotional outpouring that’s relatable and somehow nostalgic. There are moments when it radiates some Boyz II Men energy, which is fitting since they’re one of Vinyl’s inspirations.
We connected with him to dive into the song’s process and explore its personal significance.
“Told You” was inspired by a breakup—how do you think expressing your feelings in the song has helped you grow as an artist?
For me, expressing my emotions and being overtly transparent with my music has been extremely therapeutic, but it hasn’t always been this easy. It was definitely tough for me to be vulnerable when creating music in the past, but it’s something that I’m working on daily as it is essential for my growth as a songwriter. Knowing that my listeners are able to relate to what I go through fuels me as an artist. It is so rewarding to know that my art is both true to my story and relatable to my fans.
Is there a particular lyric on the song that you hope resonates with listeners?
“I’ve been way too caught up in the past tense.” I hope this line really resonates with listeners. At times, I think we all put too much time and energy into the past. I’m beginning to learn that the present moment is the only moment we have control over and I feel much happier when I focus on just that.
How do you feel your sound has changed or progressed with this song?
Over the last year or so, I haven’t released much music which gave me the time and clarity to focus on fine tuning my sound. I don’t feel that it has necessarily changed but rather has become more polished. I’ve figured out exactly how I want my music to sound and I’m not willing to compromise.
How did the music video come together and how do you feel it brought the song’s narrative to life?
The music video came together super organically, thanks to our Director Alim Sabir. We shared a demo version of “Told You” with him back in October of 2020 and he immediately understood the vision and how we could effectively portray it on screen. I feel like the video painted the perfect picture of what I personally experienced and envisioned when I wrote “Told You.”
This is your first release of 2021 and your debut project/EP is coming out later this year. What was it like writing and recording during lockdown?
Writing and recording during endless Toronto lockdowns has been one of the toughest challenges, and I can only imagine many other creatives who would agree. A big part of my creative process is simply experiencing life and then writing about it. But during the lockdown, it became the same routine every day which made it tough to be inspired. It’s also really important for me to be surrounded by other like-minded creatives, which is something we haven’t had the opportunity to do anymore due to social distancing.
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