Jon Hugo
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Jon Hugo

New York City, New York, United States

New York City, New York, United States
Pop Singer/Songwriter

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Hugo's been known to attack his piano from a horizontal position; he also likes balancing sarcasm and satire. - The Boston Globe


There's something charmingly old-fashioned about Jon Hugo Ungar's piano-driven pop songwriting on his latest self-released EP, Low on Blood Sugar. Billy Joel, Todd Rundgren and Joe Jackson might all recognize a kindred spirit in Ungar's breezy feel, clever wordplay and intricately crafted retro production. Fans of Ben Folds, Fountains of Wayne and Maroon 5 would do well to lend an ear. - Time Out NY


Hugo is Jonathan Hugo Ungar who has been, and it is evident in his capabilities, playing since he was five years old. With his style of playing and extreme knowledge of the instrument, he gives [the music] its heart and soul. Hugo's lyrics are fun and clever and show that the piano isn't his only talent. - Southofmainstream.com


Hugo decided he needed to kill the traditional idea of a rock band. Sturdy piano rock tunes that sound like stream-of-consciousness Joe Jackson with the lyrical tone of a twenty-something Woody Allen. In the wake of other piano-oriented rock, like David Grey and Cold Play, Hugo offers us something different, and skillfully raw. - Miami Herald


This is refreshing. After years of guitar-based rock, bands are finally starting to experiment with new instrumentation on a mainstream level. The problem is, most people radically diverge and lose their pop sensibilities in the process. Hugo has found the middle ground, forgoing the guitars and distortion for tricky time signatures and piano, yet somehow still incorporating catchy choruses and sing along melodies.
"Educational Facility" is a light and bouncy affair that picks up into a driving, head-bobbing melody. "Without Words" has all the snap and pop of a Billy Joel song, and the cutesy woo-hoo's and yeah-yeah's to match. "A Little Humiliation" builds and boils to tumultuous anti-climax with surgical syncopation and a climbing, tense chorus. There's this great Gibbard sensibility to "So Distant", with a spacey piano on top of sizzling cymbals, and the muted refrain "don't be so distant" seems to deflate out of his mouth. The last track, "Cockroach" is a departure, but oddly compelling, with its bizarre, post-apocalyptic musings and tolerable but still cheesy vocoder.

Impeccable songwriting chops are all over this record, in the style of obvious Ben Folds Five and Elvis Costello influences. This is where pop music needs to head - ebullient piano, clockwork drums, fluid, gliding bass lines, and clever structuring with challenging, diverse rhythms. Hugo excites with bubbling energy and an incredibly tight sound that fills up the space of a band twice its size. These are three exceptional musicians, who understand how to dazzle without losing the hooks - impressive, to say the least. Hugo is one to keep listening to, and I expect great things to come real soon. - Adequacy.net


Calling his style "Indie Pop Piano Rock" this singer/songwriter (and yes, pianist) shares qualities with the masters of melodic, piano-driven Pop songwriting like Billy Joel, Elton John, Ben Folds and Joe Jackson. With clever, witty lyrics (Which have an almost cabaret-like playfulness) and a cheery, infectious bounce, Hugo's music could probably be used as therapy - listening to it makes it really hard to stay in a bad mood.
Dig: Todd Rundgren, Ben Folds, Power Pop night at the piano bar. - Citybeat.com


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Jon Hugo loves pianos really really bad. He was born in piano.
Piano in the previous sentence means Chicago. He started to learn the instrument at the age of piano. Ok, in that last sentence piano represents the number five, and not the word piano, and definitely not Chicago.

Piano describes Jon Hugo's songwriting as having the "lyrical tone of a twenty-something Woody Allen."
Woody Allen is a wry and sarcastic writer and director.
I totally forgot to tell you that piano in the sentence before last means the Miami Herald.

JH's piano-driven sound is influenced by Billy Joel, Elton John, Leon Russell, Ben Folds, Elvis Costello, and Michael Jackson. When I say "piano-driven" I mean piano as in the instrument and not as in the Miami Herald newspaper. Jon Hugo has also been influenced by musical theater, and is finally comfortable admitting that.

Jon Hugo calls his music Indie Pop Piano Rock. Piano means an inescapable undying lust of determination and dedication to playing his heart out every single show with unbridled passion and charisma pumping through his blood so he can fully live his life in true expression and artistic rejoice.

Jon Hugo is constantly redefining the piano.

Quick Hits:

Recently sold out Mercury Lounge in NYC (Feb, '13)

"Leave Love Behind" music video reached over 100,000 views with no promotional campaign

"Ready" Licensed by MTV, Fox Sports, Discovery Channel, E!, and Oxygen networks

Brand new full length album, "Ready" released Spring 2011. National radio campaign by Tinderbox music Summer 2011.

2013 Red Gorilla Music Fest Showcasing Artist

2012 Cape May Singer/Songwriter Conference Showcasing Artist

2012 Red Gorilla Music Fest Showcasing Artist

2011 LAUNCH Music Conference Showcasing Artist

2010 CMJ Music Marathon Showcasing Artist

2010 Solo UK Tour

2009 & 2010 Red Gorilla Music Festival Showcasing Artist

2009 Solo UK Tour

2009 Voodoo Music Festival Performing Artist

2009 MidPoint Music Festival Showcasing Artist

2009 Summerfest Performing Artist

2009 MOBfest Showcasing Artist

2009 LAUNCH Music Conference Showcasing Artist

Make Out With Me music video featured on mtvU, MTV Latin America, and Much Music's The Wedge

Uncommon Courtesy music video featured on Much Music's The Wedge

Dear Walker selected as Pandora.com's Music Video of the day 10/4/09

Five song placements on MTV's The Real World

Live Performance on Fuse (8/08)

Featured on Sirius XM Radio's Ron and Fez Show
Dubbed "Elvis Costello Folds Five" by Ron Bennington

Cover story in January/February '08 issue of Campus Activities Magazine