It was late 2016 I really decided to go from recording the occasional song hoping maybe someone would listen to them, to really decide that I wanted to go for it and make me somewhat of a music career. And what a journey this last year has been. It feels like I went from almost nothing to a bunch of releases, a lot of radio plays and new fans but most of all a lot of new friends that I’ve met in the independent music scene. Both other artists as well as journalist, radio folks and just regular music fans. And to read about my favorite independent music from this year, check the previous post
To make this year a little more graspable for my self I decided to summarize it in this post. And maybe it can be of interest for all of you as well and might also be of some inspiration for some of you. If you don’t care reading it, check out this playlist with all my songs from 2017.
At the moment I was working with my EP but I desperately wanted to release something since I just had upgraded my whole home studio. So I sat down and translated Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” and recorded it and mixed it in less than 10 hours, hence the quality is not the best, but it was an important mile stone to actually get something out there as quickly as possible.
I was also recording the last vocals for my EP in Studio Ljudriket together with Ruben who has since then become a good friend of mine and he’s now producing my new EP together with me. To see some pics from the recording check here.
Since all the stuff I was doing and the stuff I bought for my home studio I was running a bit low of cash and decided to split the release up and started with the release of my first single professionally mixed and mastered by Brian Skeel and Chris Graham at Chris Graham Mastering. At this period I was also taking mixing classes with Brian and even though mixing isn’t my favorite part of the process, it thought me a lot about how sound engineering works. Nonetheless the result was my best song so far, Your Dreams.
Just after I released Your Dreams I was roaming around all the spammy music groups on Facebook and as a coincidence I stumbled over Atom Collector Records, and what a game changer that proved to be. I can’t stress enough how much mr Juxta John and all the others on this fantastic community has meant for me in my progress this year.
I was also scrutinizing “The DIY Musicians Radio Handbook” by D Grant Smith, who I can consider as a friend after having a lot of contact this year. Great guy and if you wonder were to start to learn how to make it as a independent artist, this book is a must have.
Thanks to what I learned I started to actually make some connection with radio people, bloggers and other media folks getting some airplay and also getting to know some great people that helped me connect with even more great people. I wont write about all of them here, instead check out my list of recommended media outlets on “Tips for Independent Artists”. And in the end of this post I will list all the people, platforms, radios, blogs etc that I wanna thank.
Had a great few lessons with Pär Berglund from Meadowmusic and PR site Blindmen that deepened my understanding on how to create relationships in the music business. And at this moment I was working a lot promoting Your Dreams to radio and blogs.
Then I got to release the second single from the EP “Ode to a Friend”. A new recording of this tribute to one of my best friends, who passed away when we we’re adolescents. I know this song has meant a lot to a lot of people and some of the messages I got has been truly moving.
Later in March I released a new recording of my old tribute to Leksands IF and also recorded a bonus song. Just in time for the play offs to Swedish Hockey League (that sadly led to Leksand getting relegated).
In April I finally had saved enough money to finish the last two songs and finally release my EP “Psalms for Sinners”. And I can’t express how happy I am for all the great reactions and exposure I’ve gotten for it over the years and the words from “For The Love Of Bands” is maybe the ones I’m the most happy about since eclecticism is exactly what I’m striving for.
“Stockholm’s Jon Magnusson has unleashed a confident EP which manages to be more eclectic in four tracks than most artists can muster across a full album.”
At this stage I also challenged my self by doing my first live streamed concert via Facebook. It was a hell a lot of fun and I have done some more of those during the year, and will do even more the year to come.
Among a lot of other stations I was able to spend 10 weeks on “The Swedish Independent Charts” and peaking at number two which felt quite unrealistic.
May started really well when I released my first remix, made by one of the first new friends I made earlier this year, TC Newman. He’s cinematic take on “Ode to a Friend” was breathtaking.
And in May I did my first ever gig at Southside Cavern in Stockholm. Such a amazing feeling overcoming my former stage fright and getting to preform my own songs in front of a small but enthusiastic crowd.
In May I also started to get involved in Music Hour UK getting to know some really cool people that I hence would get to meet in person and also play live with, more on that later.
In the beginning of the summer I got the crazy idea of putting together a mini-tour in the UK, despite the fact I’ve only been playing live once. I also continued to promoting my EP to radio and one of the coolest experiences was being interviewed on South African public radio.
In June I also started recording my new EP together with Ruben (the same EP I’m finishing at the moment) and I also made my second live show at PSB together with my old friend from Fagersta, Vincent Jedselius.
Since a few weeks I had started tagging people on Twitter that I thought should get in touch with each other. This lead to the #MonsterThread-playlist and later on the #MonsterThread-community on Facebook. The name came from the fact that the original Twitter-Thread was indeed becoming a monster.
In the middle of June the second remix of one of my song was a fact. This time it was the amazing Italian electronica artist Jayber.C who did his interpretation of “Your Dreams” and gave it a really cool summer vibe.
August was in retrospect one of the most fun months I ever experienced and also the peak of the crazy year I had so far. It started when we got visited by Brunosmoky and his wife Shalak Attack (my wife’s cousin) and me and Bruno jammed to a rhyme he written earlier and that made the foundation to what would become “Pensamentos Relevantes”.
I continued the recording of the EP and thanks to me getting a lot better at guitar me and Ruben laid down some really nice guitar riffs and melody lines.
I had also been starting to make my Messenger my primary channel to send out updates and interact with people and it has proven to be a great way to stay in touch and letting people know what happens.
Then the 6h of August it was time for the great adventure. The Mini-tour in the UK. I wont write all the details here, you can instead find all the blog post from the tour here. But to summarize I got to meet a lot of great people I’ve gotten to know through various networking platforms and especially Ivan Roberts was such a great help connecting me with venues and dragging me along in both London and his hometown Crawley. In total I made six gigs in seven days, despite a terrible cold that hit me the last days. And here’s some photos from all the fun I had.
In the end of August I also started working together with Steve Palfreyman from Music Launch Hub to get even better in focusing on the right thing and create some buzz around my music, especially for the launch of my EP next year.
September was the time I started to make the blog a bit more serious and started putting in headings and themes to write about and it has lead I’ve gotten a lot of new readers and people has been giving a lot of good feedback and I hope I can inspire people not only via my music but also via this blog.
The autumn was a bit slower when it came to new releases and live shows. But at least I did one gig at PSB in the beginning of October. Instead I spent a lot of time evolving my blog, #MonsterThread and working on building my online presence. Also I was reflecting a lot about what I want to achieve with my music and especially what I wanna provide my listeners and fans with through both my music and all the other content I put out on different channels.
Another reason that I didn’t record anything during the autumn was the fact that my home studio was packed down due to me and my wife selling the apartment and moving to a house. But finally I got to finish Pensamentos Relevantes (with Brunosmoky) and thanks to the magic hands of my friend Toby the end result (and the remix) gotten even better then I could have imagined. And apparently it appeals to others as well, since it has gotten added to a lot of fairly big playlists with Brazilian rap.
I also ended November with a gig at Emergenza Festival. Quite a lot of people in the crowd which made it really fun, but since I only brought six people my chance of going to the next round was minimal. But a great experience.
The last month of the year has been almost exclusively about moving to our new house. But now the move is finally made and for the first time in my life I have decent room for a home studio. And that offers new possibilities for me to give all of you even more fun next year, with some new stuff coming out aside the new EP and also I will develop my live streaming concerts, so keep your eyes open.
Summarizing this year I can’t barely believe everything that has happened. All the music I released, all the new skills I learned, all the fun I had and all the new friends I made. And here’s the playlist with all the songs I’ve released this year once more. Enjoy!
To the following radio and blogs for all the support during this year:
A special thanks to the following people that helped me a little extra and/or that I’ve been communicating a lot with and for making this year such a success: Toby Davis, Juxta John, Darren Laurence, Roel Wensink, Ruben Engzell, Ivan Roberts, Mike Cuig, Dr Bones, Patrick Talbot, TC Newman, Jayber.C, Chris Week, Verity White, Izzy Fin, Bee Brock, Iain Ridgley, Archibald Wellington, Ralph (and his master Michael), Graham Marshall, Shaun Alton, Peter Schatten, Sam Prock, Nessi Holt, Alan Forbes, Knut Helge Roise, Stuart Clack-Lewis, Robert Levoy, John Cronin, Susan Moss, Alicia Perrone, Martin Richardsson, Ben Foster, AJ Moore, Miles Prower, Daniel Feinberg, Daniel Scarsella, Dominick Lack, Albin Nordell, Barbara Benedetti, Elmer Bermal, Martina Nilsdotter, Ted Evans, Keith Profeta, D Grant Smith, Steve Palfreyman, Colin Pattersson, Steff Reed, Simon Irvine, Tracey Arbon, Jgor Beni, Helen Olliver, Lisa Diane Smith, Pär Berglund, Sylvie Ann Herfoss Klevgård, Newen Pastor, Daniel Herrington, Louie La Vella, Brian Poole, Carlos Castillo, Rich James, Per Lindahl, Leo Bagge, Alex Montilla, Remo Fiore, SD Hox, Laure Szymanowicz, Vincent Jedselius Måns Stigevi, Alexander White, Joanne Machin, Walter Hargrave, Ed Han, Brian Skeel, Tracy Perry, Michael Jones, Jesper Jonsson, Matthew Owen Martin, Andreas Zausb and all the people listening and supporting my music, my family, friends, the rest of my #MonsterThread-friends and all of you that should feel like a part. You all deserve it.
If I have forgotten someone be sure it is cause you are so many great people out there and if you think you should be on this list, just let me know!
HAVE A GREAT HOLIDAY SEASON AND TO A AMAZING 2018 FOR ALL OF US