JonPaul Wallace is a singer/songwriter from Detroit, MI. His style blends current pop and hip/hop sounds with the Motown soul of his hometown. JonPaul’s career got its jumpstart at age 17 when he rewrote the lyrics to Lukas Graham’s “7 Years” and convinced his high school administration to let him sing it at his high school graduation. The video of that performance went viral and accumulated more than 20 million views across all platforms. Since then, he has been releasing singles and building his live and online audience.
Interview by Tim Brown
When and why did you start playing? I grew up watching my older sister, Rocky Wallace, singing all the time and I became infatuated with it at a very young age. I started singing when I was 6 years old, and later picked up piano and guitar.
Which famous musicians do you admire? Why? I admire a lot of musicians, but two that come to mind right away are Tyler, The Creator and Frank Ocean because they continue to create music that is so out-of-the-box, yet they continue to find mainstream success.
Were you influenced by old records & tapes? Which ones? Definitely! Being from Michigan, I became fascinated with Motown when I was in high school. In particular, Stevie Wonder influenced me a lot. I am a huge fan of his Songs in the Key of Life album.
Who are your favorite musicians? Groups? CD’s? There are too many to list! Some of my favorite artists right now include Chelsea Cutler, J. Cole, and Frank Ocean
5-Have you been in competitions? Fleadh’s? Any prizes?
Do you perform in public? Describe those occasions? Concerts, radio, TVYes! I perform a lot around Michigan, and I am SO happy to be back playing live again. My live setup varies from performance to performance; sometimes I accompany myself and other times I perform with some very talented friends of mine. My last performance was at the Motor City Pride Festival. I try to keep my sets upbeat, energetic, and fun!
What makes this kind of music “good” to you? I love music with catchy melodies and lots of harmonies, and that’s what I strived for when making this EP. We really focused on making something with good energy and we put vocal production at the forefront, adding a LOT of different vocal parts in each song.
Why did you choose to play this kind of music? Everything I create is a reflection of things I listen to, watch, observe, and enjoy. When an art medium gives me a certain feeling, I obsess over how I can give someone else that same feeling. It’s not always successful, but that is always my goal when creating.
Let’s Talk about your music and your last work… My latest self-titled EP is a 5 song project, released under CBS/at the studios/ITV/BMG Records. We made a conscious effort to make this project super energetic and fun! Here We Go and I Am Built to Win are the first two songs off the EP. Those two are both songs we made for your workout playlist to get you pumped up. The third song is Say No More. This was actually the first song I wrote for this project, and it set the tone for what the rest of the project was going to sound like. After working on Say No More, we knew we wanted vocal stacks and loads of harmonies to be at the forefront of these songs, in addition to having high energy. The fourth song on the EP is Speechless, which is a slow, sexy r&b jam. Finally, the last song is Underlying Feelings, which is a really fun dance song with the most vocal stacks on the project. I recorded well over 100 vocal tracks for that one and it was honestly so fun!
How do you feel about the internet in the music business? Especially over the course of the pandemic, I have grown to be very grateful that the internet allows us artists to connect directly with people around the world who listen to our music. I love having the means to put my true self on display to anyone who is interested!
What are the plans for the future? My immediate plans are to release music videos for this project (which I am VERY excited about!!) and after that I have more new music and a lot of live shows scheduled!
How has your music evolved since you first began playing music? When I first began playing and writing music, I branched out into a lot of different genres. I would say one of the biggest differences between then and now is that now I have learned to incorporate elements of different genres that I like into who I am as an artist, rather than having every song sound like a different person.
Link to the new released EP https://songwhip.com/jonpaul-wallace/jonpaul-wallace