Jonathan Shechtman released his debut album I Pissed Somebody Off last year and he describes it as evidence of his personal growth: “What made this album work is the fact that I wrote the songs during high school and it shows how I progressed, and how I became more comfortable with who I am.”
Jonathan moved to the United States (Seattle, to be specific) from Russia when he was sixteen years old and he admits that he “had a hard time” fitting in at first because people there were “so different” from what he was used to and that’s why he resolved to producing songs. “Music was my only place where I could express my real emotions and be with myself.”
Right now Jonathan’s got about 10 000 monthly listeners on Spotify and one of his singles from the album has already reached over 200 000 streams, but he doesn’t care about these numbers much. “I’m definitely not doing this for attention,” he says. Jonathan believes that gaining a big social media following makes people become “superficial.”
Jonathan also avoids posting photos of himself (though there’s a few of him in button up shirts on Instagram) and his daily life on social media, because he wants people to focus on his artwork instead of what he looks like of what he eats for breakfast.
In terms of music classification, Jonathan wouldn’t categorise his songs as “completely pop,” or any of other genre for that matter. He tries to experiment with production and avoid following the most common formula that’s used to produce the majority of songs. “I don’t think you need to have a specific genre, but you need to have something that signifies you,” he also mentions, discussing how his beloved artists Billie Eilish, her brother Finneas O’Connell and Rosalía have specific sounds that make them stand out from other artists nowadays.
One thing Jonathan finds quite interesting is people complimenting him on his lyrics and voice as he considers production to be his “strongest side.” He also makes a confession that he wasn’t able to “sing that well” about three years ago, but he practised a lot and he’d like everyone to know one thing: “Singing is no different than any instrument.” In his personal opinion, it takes a huge amount of work to develop any decent musical skills, but everything’s possible.
“I just make songs in my bed,” Jonathan later tells me, talking me through his creative process of developing a song. Not only does Jonathan sing and play both the piano and the guitar, but he also writes his lyrics and produces the back tracks for his songs. As told by Jonathan himself, people are surprised by his versatility — or people being able to do more than one thing in general — and he finds it quite weird. “People don’t understand that all you need is motivation.”
Additionally, Jonathan makes his own lyric videos and cover art. He tells me that striking visuals are truly important to him, because “cover art is underrated” and he’s “never going to listen to a song if it doesn’t have good aesthetics” on YouTube or any other music sharing platform, where such illustrations are included.
When asked about music reality shows and whether he’d like to participate in any of those, Jonathan answers negatively: “Reality shows care about story lines more than the music itself.” He then continues to reveal that he doesn’t “have a sad story,” which the producers would value and could commercialise. Quintessentially, when he’s vulnerable, Jonathan prefers to tell his experiences on his terms and limit the amount of personal information that’s published.
Jonathan’s currently an eighteen-year-old student at University of Washington and it’s obvious that he’s got a bright future ahead of him, because all the things he’s done so far prove that making music is his great passion and he’s ought to keep on evolving as an artist, and experiment as much as possible.
Our lovely conversation ends by Jonathan summarising the journey he’s gone through so far in one simple word — “crazy.”