Jonathan Roy admits he has had “a crazy start to the year.”
“I started the year in the Philippines celebrating my seven-year anniversary with my wife. I just got back and now I’m busy with rehearsals, interviews, and preparing for the release of my new album.”
This week Roy will release his new album Life Distortions. The new record will be supported by a fourteen-date Quebec tour, which kicked off at MTELUS in Montreal, after which he will embark on his first journey into Europe.
Life Distortions is a collection of songs that span genres and weave through many moods. The provocatively named “Stay in Bed and Fuck (While the World Burns),” the most recent single from the album, is a playful track that brings a lighthearted element to the project. The vintage, Motown-inspired tune showcases Jonathan’s soulful vocals and offers an edgy, contemporary R’n’B backbeat. With over 200 million combined streams and views under his belt, Jonathan’s unique approach to pop music is undeniably intriguing and impossible to ignore.
“I feel like I’m honing my skills slowly,” he says. “This project is about making your dreams a reality. Whatever you’re thinking or wanting, you have the power to control your outcome. That’s what it’s all about.”
A team of music industry heavyweights came together on the album, with production credits from Jonathan and his percussionist Marc Beland alongside Brian Howes (Nickelback, Simple Plan), Drew Popovitch (JORDY, Oston), Stevie Aiello (Mumford & Sons, Lana Del Rey), TEE (EXO, DVBBS) and Heavy (lovelytheband, Dirty Heads).
Immediately before his tour kicked off, we chatted with Jonathan via Zoom to find out how he felt about such a busy start to his year and what it’s like to play Montreal’s legendary MTelus (Metropolis).
“I’m incredibly nervous. We’ve started rehearsals, and everyone’s busy, so we’re trying to condense everything in just a few days. We’re hoping to have something really cool for everyone to see, feel, and listen to. And then to play in a place so iconic which I’ve seen a couple of shows, and, you know, you kind of sit there watching somebody up there, and you’re looking at this place and you’re like, damn, I wish I could fucking be here one day and play some music. And it’s happening. So I’m incredibly grateful and truly excited for this opportunity. And I mean, hopefully it’s gonna be a sold-out show and we just have a blast with everybody presenting this new album.”
It must be strange playing new songs that people have never heard before.
“I love it. It’s easier because when people know the lyrics and you mess up, they notice. It’s also more exciting for the audience to hear something new. And also, when you go see a band, you want to hear that version too, right? So there’s a lot of pressure on bringing something that’s really solid when nobody knows what you’re gonna bring to them. It’s just an experience. We can make mistakes, but they won’t know about it, you know? So it’s actually a lot more freedom and it’s quite exciting cuz I mean, I’ve been writing for the last two and a half, three years, and I think this is my best work yet, and the band is really feeling good about it, and I think we’re ready to show where we’re at and it’s gonna be a lot of fun.”
Life Distortions comes at a time when Jonathan Roy is beginning a new chapter in his life, with a fresh outlook on how he would like his life to look moving forward.
“I went to do an Ayahuasca ceremony out in Mexico and it completely changed my life, man, and inspired this whole album because I’m someone that kind of has difficulty with the relationship of love, just love itself. I struggle loving myself enough, loving others, loving this earth love, and I realized that I needed to give and let love into my life a lot more. And so this whole album is about this connection and this relationship that I have with love. You know, from the first track, which is Ayahuasca, all the way down to the last. It was really special to get this thing out because I think there’s nothing like it. It’s got this alternative, psychedelic, pop, singer-songwriting. It’s weird. It’s cool, it’s quirky. It’s got a vibe, and it’s just where I was at with my life during those years.”