Beloved Swedish musician with his naive look and romantic nature Jay Jay Johanson was again in İstanbul last month. If you have missed the chance to watch him live, don’t worry, he is so popular here that he will come back.
The unique and impressive lyrics that he writes capture the listeners immediately. “So Tell the Girls, I am Back in Town” especially became popular in our country. He had written these lyrics when he went back home after visiting his grandmother. As you will realize, he is a talented person with a depth to his character. Jay Jay Johanson who captured our hearts with his naive voice answered our questions about him.
You have been given concerts in Turkey before, what can you tell us about the listeners here?
I was surprised when I received the first concert offer from Turkey. Later, when I came, it was again surprising to see that I had so many fans here. Not to mention the next surprise when I heard the audiences sing along my songs during the concert. My Turkish fans have always been so warm to me. My latest concert was at the Zorlu PSM last month.
Which of your songs are most often sang along by the audiences during your concerts?
I can tell that Believe in Us, Far Away, She Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.
Do you remember when exactly you decided to sing and write lyrics?
When I was very young. I used to love going to concerts way before I became a musician myself. I used to live in a small town and I was going to all concerts that came to our town. One day, there was the Chet Baker concert, whom I liked very much. He was an American Jazz music trumpet player. He is an icon. Jazz lovers know him well. I was so influenced by him that I decided to become a musician that day.
What do you need to write lyrics?
A pen, a piece of paper, my diary, and people… I write my emotions that I need to take out of my heart and share. The lyrics are mostly the stories that I want to tell based on my life experiences. I can tell my stories in length but I am sharing them by turning each into its simplest state. Think of it as poetry. The result will be most effective when you tell what you want to tell as simply as possible.
All of your songs must be special for you but is there any that comes to prominence even a little bit?
Almost all of the songs in the album called “Whiskey” are so special to me because it was my first time entering a sound studio for my songs. This was an important experience and a memory. “Believe In Us” and “Far Away” are also special. Other then those, “Tomorrow” from the album called “Antenna” and “Only For you” from “Long Term”. In addition, the album called “Spellbound” has a special place in my heart because of the writing and recording processes of the album.
Why Believe In Us is special for you; what is the story behind it?
I wrote “Believe In Us” on my 30th birthday. I didn’t have an apartment at the time, so I lived in the sound studio. We decided not to work that day because it was my birthday. I was alone in the studio, no one came to visit me and I started working on my own. I began in the morning and I finished it before I went to bed that night. “Believe In Us” is the only song I’ve recorded on my own, no other musician was involved.
You were on stage on Valentine’s Day, are you a romantic?
I think I am but you should ask this to people who know me well. Then you can get an objective answer and a right one. I can tell that I am conservative in terms of some certain aspects but I still cannot assess this completely.
In which language are you most comfortable with writing lyrics?
Definitely English… It is not my mother language; however, I have produced in English to reach everyone, so it will go on that way.
You had received arts education, how did this education reflect on your music?
Yes, receiving education in arts was an important process also in my journey towards self-discovery. For me, music was a process that was shaped by my self-discovery, so the arts training had a great influence on my music.
Do you continue painting?
Yes, I did never quit painting. It is my favorite hobby in life.
How did you find your own path in your long music career?
I used to write lyrics and made compositions that were influenced by Jazz. It took me a while to make my works interesting. Search and discovery never end in music. I still experiment with new ways. I am making new arrangements and records.
What can you tell us about the popular music culture in the world?
I like different styles of music. I take great pleasure out of listening to today’s young singers.
What do you have to tell about İstanbul? Did you get the chance to explore the city?
I went to places where I could watch the beautiful views of İstanbul. They took me to the touristic places too because I am a tourist. İstanbul is a beautiful city. Other than that, I wish someone could guide me to truly discover İstanbul.
What do you miss the most when you are on a tour?
My wife, my child, and my piano.
Who is your favorite author?
Definitely Oscar Wild…