FFO: Philip Jonathan – I, Hope | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Northumberland-based artist Philip Jonathan releases his second single, ‘I, Hope’ along with a music video to accompany it. This latest offering from the singer-songwriter, and classically trained instrumentalist, personifies hope and uses their perspective to explore relationships with disappointment. It’s a beautiful track filled with haunting melody, tender guitar playing and dynamic altering musical ambience and percussion to keep you on your toes as the track progresses.

Here, Philip tries to encapsulate its sound using three other songs…

Ben Howard – The Wolves


When people ask me what my music is like, my short answer is ‘Ben Howard in the front, Sigur Ros in the back’! At live gigs, people often compare me to Ben Howard. I wonder if that’s because of the genre (ambient/indie folk) or the distinctive yet familiar tone of his voice? ‘The Wolves’ is a great track to get the feet tapping and head nodding. My debut, Seafront, is a bit slower and more chilled – but I included this Ben Howard track because I write songs that are more upbeat too! Another part of this song I particularly love is that epic end refrain (love, love, love) which builds almost out of nowhere, just as you think the song is wrapping up. I’m always looking to try something a little bit different and surprising in my tracks, and I particularly love moments like this.

Ophelia – Roo Panes

Many people I speak to haven’t heard of Roo Panes (bizarrely for someone with nearly 1.5m monthly listeners on spotify!) so I thoroughly recommend you take the next 5 minutes to listen to this gem. There is a deep authenticity to Roo’s lyrics, not skirting darker or more raw emotions. However, he writes about these with such poetic depth, finding beauty and ultimately hope-filled redemption in the most painful of experiences. This is something I also try to work out authentically through my songs – to find hope and beauty in the highest, lowest and most mundane moments of life. His music – a core of intimate, rich vocals and finger-picking guitar surrounded by a rich soundscape is also comparable to my sound.

Blood I Bled – The Staves


I’m not a 3-part band of sisters, unfortunately… but I am heavily inspired by The Staves’ uniquely beautiful harmonies. I’ve experimented more with this in the Studio. There’s a bit towards the end of ‘I, Hope’ that explores contrasting harmonies and you’ll hear a lot more in future releases this year. I chose this song specifically because of the broad use of different sounds and instruments to create a gorgeous, moody atmosphere that communicates the subject matter so much deeper than just mere words. I particularly love the moments of silence and space within this huge production. I spent a lot of years playing violin for local artists such as Tom Joshua and The Lamplight Poet, and (I hope) I learned a lot about listening to what the song needs, not just what I can play. Creating a narrative in the music that reflects the lyrical meaning is certainly key to my process, and I try to build in moments of silence, space and atmosphere into broad and sweeping soundscapes.

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