Jon Aanestad
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Jon Aanestad

Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States | SELF

Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
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Nice to Meet You: Jon Aanestad
Newcomer Jon Aanestad just might change your mind about singer songwriters with his new EP.
By: Amy Dittmeier


Berklee is like the Rydell High of music colleges. From Quincy Jones to Gwar, it's produced some of the most memorable musicians to date. Jon Aanestad, a Berklee alum himself, is another Berklee cat that has the talent to share in the success of his predecessors. Aanestad started his love for music at age five when he picked up a violin and started plucking away. Since then he's branched from his classical roots into jazz and bluegrass, and added the guitar and mandolin into his armory of instruments. Aanestad exercised his creativity in several bands during his time at Berklee but always concentrated on his personal material. He recently released his first EP Songs From a City, characterising his initimate style of songwriting and proficieny in composition.

Unlike many of Berklee's singer songwriters (ahem, the drop out John Mayer), Aanestad has something that sets him apart from the pack - sincerity. Even if you're not a fan of his style of music, there's something about Aanestad's delivery that makes you believe the words that he sings. In the song "High Heel Hangover," though the subject matter may seem corny to some, is never feels like Aanestad is singing these words just to get the ladies or a major record deal (although I'm sure both of those would be nice). He's singing them because this is what he wants to sing about. The way he presents these subjects about women and living in the city on the EP is also quite interesting. No matter where you go to school, no one can teach you how to be a good writer. People can refine your style but never can they improve it to the point that you're Ernest Hemingway. Aanestad's personal creativity lends itself to not only lush composition but also smart lyrics. "I read someplace, somewhere, that no new music was ever written, just new lyrics," said Aanestad. "I'd like to think that most of my songs tell a new story, and that the music helps tell that story." He sticks to a subject matter he knows about and cares about, and it makes all the difference.

"A Girl Like You" is one of my favorites off of Songs From a City. Little known fact: I'm a sucker for a good song, no matter what the genre. Give me song classic 90s Illinois pop rock or a boy with shaggy hair and an acoutic guitar and I'm good for about five hours. But I would never consider adding Boys Like Girls or Metro Station to my music library. I have some standards I need to uphold to keep my street cred. Plus those bands are terrible. I have no qualms about adding "A Girl Like You" into my collection. It's well-written, well performed and well, a pretty darn good pop song. - HEAVEmedia


Singer-songwriter's debut is an engaging blend of Folk, R&B, Pop, Country and Soul.

Jon Aanestad has released his debut EP, “Songs From A City,” a showcase that captures the talent of a promising new voice. Jon is quickly gaining rapport in songwriting circles. Three of the four songs on his debut EP have earned semi-finalist honors from the UK Songwriting Contest. Jon, who currently lives in Boston, is now promoting the release in the hopes that it will not only help build upon his fan base, but also launch his career as a successful songwriter.

“Songs From A City” consists of four original songs from Jon, each providing a blend of folk and blues guitar as well as organ, Wurlitzer and soulful vocals. The rhythm section is tight but laid back on all four tracks, and the music is punctuated with elements of Pop and R&B.

The EP was recorded at Q Division Studios in Boston, Mass., which has also recorded material for James Taylor, The Click Five, Guster, Ryan Adams and the Dropkick Murphy's, among others. Musicians from Boston and Chicago, who have played with a range of artists including Christopher Guest, Me'shell Ndegeocello, Tony Smith and Bernard Purdie, supported the EP.

The title of the EP is a nod to the transition Jon has gone through in the past four years after leaving his hometown of Iowa City, Iowa, and moving to the big city of Boston. The trains, busy streets and noise of the city are the inspiration behind the songs.

The EP reveals a wide array of influences. The first track, “High Heel Hangover”, a song Jon wrote after hearing a woman at a restaurant complaining about her evening out in heels, is a hooky pop song that will have you singing down the street. The track was also a semi-finalist in the UK Songwriting Contest. “A Girl Like You”, the third track, brings to mind 1970's SoCal folk. The last track, “City Living” has an Al Green inspired groove and was also a semi-finalist in the UK Songwriting Contest.
Jon's style has been melded from years of musical experiences. He grew up listening to his uncle, a jazz and blues pianist from New Orleans, play in the living room. Jon started practicing on the violin at a young age and only seriously picked up the guitar six years ago. After attending Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, Jon earned a World Tour Scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. There he studied voice and honed his songwriting talent. His CD collection in his home studio ranges from Country to Hip Hop to Jazz, but Jon insists that he wants to develop his own, consistent sound.
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Jon has said of his work: “I read someplace that new music is never written, just new lyrics. I'd like to think that lyrically, my songs tell a new story, and the music helps to tell that story. People want to hear about their lives through song, so there has to be some universality to each song lyrically, no matter how personal the issue at hand is. This EP is more of a sampling of my songs than an album concept. This will become a springboard for an LP release later this year.”

For now, Jon is busy writing new songs and piecing them together for a full-length album in his personal home studio in Cambridge, Mass. He plans to start working on a full length album with a producer in the spring of 2010.

“Songs From A City” is now available on CD Baby as well as iTunes. Fans are encouraged to visit Jon's website, www.jonaanestad.com, and MySpace, www.myspace.com/jonaanestad for more information. You can also sign up for the mailing list to receive news and information about new gigs, new releases as well as sneak peaks at new songs and videos.

Jon can also be followed on Facebook at Jon Aanestad Music and Twitter as jonspeak. - Press Citizen


Discography

Songs From A City EP
Happy Dagger's "Question's About Art." (violins and background vocals)

Photos

Bio

Jon Aanestad's self-titled debut EP, "Songs From A City" is an engaging blend of Folk, R&B and Pop. It combines Country sensibility with a soulful backbone. At times, it brings to mind 1970's SoCal folk, but with contemporary feel. "High Heel Hangover", the first track on the EP and a UK Songwriting Contest Semi-Finalist, will have you singing harmonies down the street. "City Living", the last track, is an Al Green inspired tune that you can groove to. Backed by Rob Gould on drums and Claire Finley on bass, the rhythm section is tight. Paul Wolstencroft delivers tasteful organ and wurlitzer tracks to the whole disc. "Songs From A City", a title that was inspired by Jon's move from the Midwest to the East Coast, is sure to make waves.

His music defies categorization--it is simply embraced for its intrigue and accessiblity. Now Boston based, Jon is quietly making a name for himself in songwriting circles.

Awards

Selected for the Radio UK International Showcase Hour
UK Songwriting Contest Semi-Finalist, "High Heel Hangover"
Platinum Blue "Hit Grade Potential" song, "A Girl Like You"
Great American Song Contest, rated hit grade potential
Selected by Gap, "Born To Play" series in Gap stores