Written by Ashley Friedman
Canadian singer-songwriter, JP Saxe, found his way on top of the charts this year with single, “If The World Was Ending,” ft. Julia Michaels. The song became an anthem for the current pandemic as many people found themselves asking each other:
“If the world was ending, you’d come over, right?”
Throughout the pandemic, aside from learning he is super competitive with board games, Saxe tells Elicit that he has done “a lot of introspective journaling and trying to be honest.” “‘Feeling like you can’t do a lot is a shit reason to do a little,” says Saxe. Honesty is something that he is constantly striving for in his music.
“I don’t make music to make you think something about me, I make music to make you think about yourself. So, I hope I’ve been honest enough to get myself out of the way to allow you to have your own experience with the music.”
His first performance was in 7th grade singing John Lennon’s “Imagine,” but his own music portfolio started when he was 14 when he wrote his first song, “Just Too Me To Have You.” “It was very dramatic,” Saxe comments. Unfortunately, you won’t find the song anywhere today, but we’re sure it was amazing in its own way.
It wasn’t until 2017 with songs like “Changed”, “Anybody Else” and “The Few Things,” that Saxe started to gain traction in the industry. During this time, he also released a YouTube video introducing himself to the world. It’s candid, starting off with a shot of him on the couch as he sings, “All I want to do / All I want to do is write songs / and sing them sometimes / and occasionally eat ice cream / that’s all I need.”
And, as I watch this video, the words “be yourself, be yourself” keep popping up in my mind. Here’s Saxe, singing his way into your heart with his candid lyrics and a dream to be successful. And, it’s here that people have to remember that behind every musician, actor, performer, you name it, is a real person.
“As easy as it is to look at other people and think ‘they are winning, I have to do what they are doing to win,’ it’s not how it works,” says Saxe.
“Your success isn’t measured by anybody else… The only way to win is your own way and accepting that being yourself is not only ok, but it’s your superpower! Sounds corny, but it’s real.”
There’s a moment in the video where he points out a Grammy sitting on his piano. He jokes that it’s his and he won it at three years old, but then goes into a touching story about his Grandfather, Janos Starker, a Grammy award winning cellist, and an inspiration to Saxe.
“‘I put it on the piano to intimidate myself when I’m writing. He dedicated his life to pursuing beauty with the cello.” He continues, “Someday I’ll put mine right next to it.’”
Not too long after that, the singer-songwriter was recognized by David Massey, the President and CEO of Arista Records, while performing at the Mercury Lounge in NYC. In June of last year, Saxe was then signed to the label.
His advice for aspiring musicians is to, “Be yourself better and if you don’t know what that means yet, that’s ok, but that should be the goal to figure out what ‘be yourself better’ means!”
Since signing with Arista Records, Saxe has released a handful of music including an EP Hold It Together, followed by singles, “Hey Stupid, I Love You,” and “A Little Bit Yours.”
On “A Little Bit Yours,” Saxe tells Elicit that he had the song written about two years before releasing. “I had written that song quite a while before I recorded because I didn’t think I could sing it at the octave the way I do in Chorus 2 and Chorus 3,” Saxe comments.
Thanks to the encouragement of producer Benjamin Rice, Saxe was able to hit the octave in the song and production on the single continued. “We recorded the piano and vocals with Ben Rice, Ryan Marrone finished it up and Josh Goodwin mixed it like always,” says Saxe.
“I think it was a song I needed to write to get over the feeling that I wrote it about,” Saxe comments. “I had no way of knowing how much more wonderful love would become not too long after that. It gets better.”
Currently, his favorite original song to perform is “3 Minutes,” commenting that, “f*ck you doesn’t always sound like a love song, but in this song it does.” Saxes continues, “‘F*ck them all’ is the lyric, but it’s hard to be that aggressive and still sweet at the same time, but, I think this song does that.”
Will there be any more new music this year from Saxe? It’s possible. There are talks that he will be releasing new music next year, including a full-length album. As of right now, the singer-songwriter just released a duet with Julia Michaels a few days ago called, “Kissin’ In The Cold.” The new single talks about the idea that despite getting older, holiday traditions and spirit will live forever in its own unique way. “I can’t stop the seasons / But there’s one thing that I know / We’ll still be kissin’ in the cold.”
The goal for Saxe prior to the end of 2020? It has nothing to do with music. “I want to touch my toes,” he comments. Don’t worry, we will definitely be checking in on JP’s progress with this.
As for the future, his dream would be to have Chris Martin in the audience at one of his shows, but a collaboration with Alessia Cara, Stevie Wonder, or Paul McCartney is top of the list too. Oh, yes, and definitely being on Celebrity Jeopardy would be an ‘I made it,’ moment for the singer.
“If The World Was Ending,” is nominated for Song of the Year by The GRAMMYs this year. Cheers to hoping that there will be two GRAMMYs sitting atop JP’s piano next year.
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