Jono McCleery is a London based solo artist, who recently signed to Ninja Tune. He completed his 1st album 'Darkest Light' independently in 2008 which was self-produced and funded by his fans, including folk-star Vashti Bunyan and BBC radio DJs Tom Robinson and Fiona Talkington. He collaborated with The Part Time Heroes on their debut album Meanwhile and is about to release a new album on Ninja Tune with electro producer Fybe.
He has toured with and played along side artists such as Fink, Little Dragon, Portico Quartet, Newton Faulkner etc and sites his main influences as Gil Scott Heron, Nick Drake, Bill Withers, John Martyn, Terry Callier, Jeff Buckley and John Coltrane.
Rick Pearson, London Evening Standard music critic:
"McCleery's songs echo the hushed magnificence of Nick Drake. Mellifluous melancholy of the highest order."
Dannii Evans www.onetaste.co.uk:
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 Marvin Gaye and the romantic indulgence of Jeff Buckley; Jono is defining a new folk/soul sound of our time.
Fink on Jono and the Dans (live at the Pigalle EP):
it's like Richie Havens meets Joni Mitchell meets Holy F**k
Portico Quartet about Alive Again (from Darkest Light Album):
McCleery's voice falls somewhere in between Nick Drake and Terry Callier, and Matt Kelly has a clear knowledge of arranging. There are some beautiful string sections near the end of this piece, which sound like echoes of Steve Reich Music for 18 Musicians in between the intricate finger-picked guitar. He's supported us live and the reaction is always of absolute praise.
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 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 my brother Stephen, would encourage me to sing when he played the piano, the first songs I remember singing with him were: 'Change is Gonna Come' by Sam Cooke, Lean on Me by Bill Withers and Tracks of My Tears by Smokey Robinson. I sung to myself a lot from that point on, and particularly in the mornings, when everything is fresh and sensitive to my ears.
My brother gave me a mix-tape, 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.
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 instruments about the house, so I started getting familiar with the Spanish guitar and although my brother had moved out, he'd show me new chords and things each time I'd see him. I got a 4 track-tape recorder and made my first recordings and wrote my first songs.
I then had a brief stint at ACM in Guildford and met some great people but it didn't have much to do with what I was interested in, so I gave up trying to study music and started looking for gigs...
17 / 03 / 08
"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."