Unrealistic Outlook: An Interview with John-Robert

The word “genre” doesn’t mean too much to John-Robert, and that can be heard in the variety of sounds that make up his music.

He is one of the many artists that have found their way around learning music by studying on their own terms and blending styles that are focused more on what they want to make versus what they should make by being put into a single genre.

“When people try to ask me to explain [my] music, it's more so I just give up because I get different answers from different people,” he said. “I made music, so just go listen to it and then you can sort out for yourself what it is.”

It’s a struggle that many artists face when trying to promote their music, but John-Robert chooses to focus on making music that he’s a fan of. With the help of Ricky Reed and Nice Life Recording Company, he not only gets to see his songs come to life but dives into the production side of music and learns as much as he can.

He met Reed through a friend that discovered him on Instagram and shared his demos. Even when he had to move back home to Virginia, Reed kept in contact with him.

“Looking back, it was really cool for [Reed] to hit me up and ask me if I had any more demos,” he said. “It was really nice of him to keep an eye on me and see how I was progressing music-wise.”

Together they created his EP due out in May. The latest single, “Urs”, was written when he was a junior in high school and infatuated with someone who knew nothing of his existence. He calls the song “angsty”, “over dramatic” and “almost delusional”, saying that his unrealistic outlook on love at the time was much so a hopeless romantic with many flaws.

“It's not explicitly said in the song, but I hope people take care of themselves first and I hope people put themselves above all before trying to invest their time into somebody else,” he said.

That unrealistic outlook on love is a heavy theme on the EP, but the tracks also take the listener through his discovery of learning to care for himself first. From coming from a space of spitefulness to trying to find happiness in drugs, religion or other people, the EP is a journey of him discovering how to love.

“It all pretty much shares that same sentiment of being truly invested in one person and thinking that they hold all the answers to your happiness when that's not the case,” he said. “That was more so my learning curve and figuring that out and exploring that through music and songwriting. It was extremely helpful and extremely therapeutic and very constructive.”

For John-Robert, music isn’t about genres. It’s about expressing yourself through art while learning about yourself during the process. His upcoming EP covers the exploration of accepting reality through songs that aren’t meant to be put in one simple description. Instead, it takes on the entirety of musical influence and bends to express him at a single moment in time.