SEPTEMBER 01, 2022
WRITTEN BY ZACK TREMBLAY | PHOTOGRAPHED BY CARLOTTA KOHL
JOHN K TEASES HIS MOST HONEST ALBUM YET
We went backstage with John K on tour with One Republic and NEEDTOBREATHE to discuss everything from his writing process, finding inspiration and his goals for the future. John also reveals details on his most honest album to date!
M U S I C
Fresh off of the Never Ending Summer Tour with One Republic and NEEDTOBREATHE, John K is to preparing to introduce the world to his most honest album yet. We got a taste of John’s new music during his set, as he performed for thousands in amphitheaters across America. John admits, “I thought it was going to be a little daunting going in to it because it’s so huge, but from my experience it was actually a little bit easier in the sense of it didn’t feel as hectic as doing a small club show. I think as far as nerves or adrenaline goes, the smaller the show, the scarier it is. Once we got the first one under our belt, we kind of just ripped through them and knocked them out. The response was incredible, the connection was great and I absolutely loved it.”. When it came to the sound system on this tour, John was able to reach new levels. “To hear it on that level was reassuring and affirming in a lot of ways, knowing we can play at this level and it does translate. The music sounded amazing in those amphitheaters.”
Since signing with Epic Records in 2019, John K has learned a lot about himself during the process. John reveals, “I think since signing with Epic, I learned that I know absolutely nothing about music. It feels like it’s been a very humbling experience to surround myself with amazing songwriters and go after it — completely open to the room, open to the moment and just trying to connect in very different ways. In a lot of ways, when we look at this next album, it is the most honest yet.” John believes that there is a lot more vulnerability and truth this time around. John continues, “I think that only comes with perspective of being in it for a long time and really learning yourself. It’s reflected immensely in this next project.”
“Guitars & Drugs” leads John’s upcoming album and it was introduced to the world on the One Republic / NEEDTOBREATHE tour this summer. John admits that “If We Never Met” and “Parachute” always receives a positive response in a live setting. When it came time to test out new material on this tour, “Guitars & Drugs” gave a very similar feeling. While creating the single, John reveals, “This single came from one of the most, I guess the most outrageous songwriting sessions that I’ve ever been a part of.”. The track was co-written with Ben Burgess, who is an amazing writer in Nashville. This was the first time John and Ben had the opportunity to work together. While John was hesitant about the “Guitars and Drugs” concept at first, they were able to relate it to things that commonly go together. John shares, “We just wrote a bunch of them out on this huge white board. The hardest part of the songwriting was actually deciding which ones to use and what order to put them in. You’ll see if you listen to the song the choruses are changing throughout the song. It was a really free session, it was all just collecting. Every vocal you hear was in the room on a hand-held mic and it was all just like feel it in the moment. It was fun, it was free. We didn’t over think it. We didn’t have to recut vocals and go in a booth and really dive in. I think that it’s full of personality because of that. It’s very honest because it’s just a reflection of what the room was that day.”
John K has definitely developed a lot as an artist over the years. When in the studio, John admits, “I’m always collecting data on myself, how I operate with the flow. I’ve noticed that the flow is unique to each idea. My job is to connect and fully put myself in to each idea, no matter what requires of me.”. John has taken on a lot of creative control, even down to the small details of a recording session. “Every song is different, some songs like “Guitars & Drugs” — that was just a day of kind of not thinking at all and just having fun with the idea. Then there are other songs on the project that I meticulously went in, really thought out all the harmonies, spent a full day cutting vocals and then ended up adding stuff. I worked on vocals with my producer for a full week and we went back in and just did little touches and little extra little things on every single song.”. Family has also played a huge role in John’s new music as well. John reveals, “I love my family and that’s played a huge factor in the style of my writing. I love to sing and I love to do the most that I can inside an idea. Its evolved in the sense that I’m getting closer and closer to what I feel like is really me. I’m not doing any ideas for anybody else right now. That’s really freeing in a lot of ways because at the end of the day — I’ve done enough sessions and written enough songs to know what that spark feels like, when I’m like, “This is a John K song.”.”
There is no doubt this is going to be John K’s best season yet. From traveling the county with One Republic and NEEDTOBREATHE to dropping “Guitars & Drugs”, this is the beginning of something special. John concludes, “The main goal, and I think we captured it in “If We Never Met”, was vulnerability, honesty and connection. If I can bring those in to every song. Its been not being so perfect either. Its been being raw and just being honest and if that requires less — I haven’t shied away from soul, from grit and from not being perfect and not overthinking vocals. It’s important for me now to be honest, for you to feel that lyric rather than hear a pretty little run that is nice. I would say this is the most honest album yet.”
“Guitars & Drugs” is available now across all streaming platforms.