I grew up hearing my father and brother playing on our piano but I'm not sure how much I actually heard because I was intermittently deaf up until the age of 9 and my father died when I was about of 5/6 but I still got to absorb the beautiful sounds of my bro's playing most nights when I was in bed dreaming.
Throughout my childhood Stephen, my brother, would encourage me to sing when he played, the first songs I remember singing with him were: 'Change is Gonna Come' Sam Cooke, Lean on Me by Bill Withers and Tracks of My Tears by Smokey Robinson. Being encouraged to sing and believing that I could do it well, gave me the confidence to enjoy it and so I sung to myself alot from that point on, particularly in the mornings. I still love to sing in the mornings, when everything is fresh and sensitive to my ears.
My brother gave me a mix-tape once, I must have been about 14 or so and this has had a big influence on my music. It has taken me the most part of my life to find all the albums that the songs were taken from. At the time of getting the
tape my brother lived with another guy called Steve, I just know him as 'Hairdresser Steve' and he must have had an incredible record collection because I think this tape was made from it.
a few songs I remember being on the tape:
sweet thing, van morrison
listen love, jon lucien
the bottle, gil scott heron
move on up, curtis mayfield
walk on the wildside, lou reed
breaking the girl, red hot chilli peppers
all songs that I adore.
My dad left a few other instruments about the house, so I started getting familiar with the classical guitar around the age of 16.. and although my brother had moved out, he'd show me new chords and stuff each time I'd see him. My mum got me a 4 track-tape recorder and I made my first recordings and wrote my first songs.
I thought I was going to be a basketball player when I was a kid (don't laugh, I could jump, alright?) it was my life! but for some reason I had to loose everything to do with that before I could rebuild my life and purpose around my music.
I tried going to college to study art and music but I always ended up dropping out. I had a brief stint at ACM in guilford and it didn't have much to do with what I was interested in, so I gave up trying to study and started looking for gigs.
BrotherDouglas said this to me in an email recently, when I updated him on my progress:
"just keep the focus on the music and the writing, in spite of the new environs and 'business' people... The MUSIC got you here and it'll sustain you if you continue to honor it."
And that's all I intend to do.
- Jono McCleery 17 / 03 / 08
"Jono's music is timeless. Music that is unperishable, that reflects past,
present and future in an instant. Likened to having the melodies and
rich vocals of John Martyn, the darkness of Nick Drake, the soul of
defining a new folk/soul sound in our time."
Arts Promoter Dannii Evans www.onetaste.co.uk