Home > Interviews > Jonatha Brooke

 

Part Three

   
       
       

 

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THE BOSTON SCENE

BB: What are your favorite places to play in Boston?
Jonatha: Well, I love playing the Berkley Performance Center. I played there the last couple times I think that I was in town. I love playing in Copley Plaza, although the last time I played there it was 110 degrees, and we thought we were going to die. But you know, it's always fun playing in Boston. It was really intense on stage because you have the marley floor just making it even hotter. I think I was just wearing my pajamas because I just couldn't even stomach putting anything else on and sweating more. I used to play at T.T. the Bears, and the Middle East Cafť. Those are some great places and the Nameless Coffee House in Harvard Square; I think it was one of my very first gigs with Jennifer. And of course all of the little coffee houses and church basements all over New England. Itís such a ripe scene for working on your craft. There are all these gigs that you can get into.

BB: How do you feel the Boston music scene has changed since you first started playing around here?
Jonatha: Well, I haven't lived there in so long that itís like I'm not sure what's happening lately. I do know that itís still just as great, I mean there are great people coming out of there. With Berkley College being there, is a huge source of great musicians. Everyoneís spent some time at Berkley. You mention Boston and people will say ďoh yeah, I went to Berkley.Ē I just think there is always somebody else from Boston whoís a really cool new voice. So it seems like it's still pretty fertile ground.

BB: Who are some of your favorite local artists? You've sung backup for Ellis Paul & Vance GilbertÖ
Jonatha: Oh yeah, well I love them. I love Patty Larkin. She's just tremendous, although she's not from Boston originally, she's from Milwaukee. But she's a Boston staple. Cheryl Wheeler was around there for while wasn't she? Aimee Mann kind of got her thing going at Berkley she's awesome.

BB: How do you compare the music scene in Boston to other cities you've played in?

Jonatha: I think that itís pretty unusual. It's a really special scene. The caliber of the musician, and the caliber of the writing is right up there at the top, it really is. I think that Minneapolis is a great scene as well, and New York is obviously a great city for music.


IN CLOSING

BB: If you could play on stage with anyone alive, who would it be?
Jonatha: Well, let's see. I'm going to be playing with Joe Cocker this summer; he was definitely on the list. I'm opening for Joe Cocker in Europe in May and June. Elvis Costello would be right up there. Elton John, Sir Paul McCartney.

BB: What do you hope to be doing in music in a few years? What do you hope to have accomplished five years from now?
Jonatha: I do set goals. I've been writing in Nashville a fair amount recently as just sort of an experiment, because I've never been a co-writer and I thought well let me try this. Iíll go to Nashville and see if co-writing is something I can work on, and make my songs work for me more. Write songs that might not be on my records, but that I could offer it to other artists. So that's one thing I've been sort of experimenting with, because I'm a song writer so why not do more of that and make it work for me. I've been writing for film and television more, and I would like to do more of that because I find that really exciting, sort of having a very specific sort of assignment. This song must be a theme song, in forty-five seconds that does this and has this kind of tempo. That's exciting and that's a good source of income, which I'm always looking out for because I have to pay the band. I just want to keep making records. I'm actually going to be spending a lot of time in Europe, because the response there has been really lovely, and it feels like a place where you can make things happen more organically than the massive United States. So those are my goals.

BB: What do you hope people will get out of your music?
Jonatha: Passion, integrity, musicality, craft and hopefully some poetry and a sense of real communication.

BB: What advice would you have for aspiring local musicians?
Jonatha: Well, I have a couple of different thoughts. One of them is you have to have to do this in order to do it. It can't just be a hobby. It's a lot of work and I think there're a lot of people out there doing this, maybe to many. I don't know. If you won't die if you don't do this, maybe it's not for you. But that sounds terrible, so I don't usually say that. But it just seems like everybody and their little sister wants to make a record, and everyone and their little sister is making a record. There are a lot of bad records out there. I think maybe that's part of the instant celebrity cult. Itís funny, I was just in France for a few days, and itís like this everywhere. People, especially kids growing up, they see Paris Hilton and they see Star Search and American Idol, and so they want to be celebrities. They think, ok, well I can be a musician, I could be an actress, I could be whatever, but the goal is celebrity not something they are really passionate about. Not like, oh my god, I have to write this song, I have to sing this song, or acting transports me. Itís about I want fame I want money. So I think there's all these mixed messages coming through to younger people and itís kind of scary. You have to have to do it. If you won't die if you donít do this, then maybe there's something else. Find something else that is that powerful to you and do that.

BB: Thank you for talking to Boston Beats.
Jonatha: Thank you, it was fun.

BB: One last question, In Missing Person Afternoon, where is Louisa?
Jonatha: (Laughs). I donít know. I think she diedÖ 

 
 

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

 

To learn more about Jonatha, visit her website at
http://www.jonathabrooke.com/

 

*Pictures courtesy of http://www.jonathabrooke.com/

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