Sebastian Janoski – Toy
By: Lisa Steinberg
Q) As a musician, how would you describe your sound?
A) When it comes to my sound, I like my music to have a very noticeable blues influence. I still keep my songs contemporary, but I’ve grown up listening to various blues and soul artists. So, my music has always had a blues flare to it.
Q) Who are some of your musical influences?
A) Billy Joel and Elton John are two of the biggest artists that have actually influenced my sound. Amy Winehouse and Adele have also been huge inspirations though.
Q) Talk about the story behind your new song “Toy.”
A) I wrote this song during a specific moment in my life where I was feeling manipulated and used and I’m not always the best at expressing myself or standing up to others when somethings bothering me. So, I decided to let it all out into a song. This song was one that I finished the quickest because everything just flowed so smoothly because I had been holding in all of the emotion. So, when I finally opened up to the whole situation I basically had a whole song already made up in my head.
Q) How does the video play into the message behind the song?
A) I wanted the video to be as literal as possible. I didn’t want to make up some storyline and go with that. I wanted to exchange ideas with the director and come to a mutual agreement on a storyline that was as close to my real experience as possible. The video is a chronological experience that shows my experience with this specific person, starting at very pleasant and later becoming tense, awkward and questionable. It ends with me finally getting so fed up that I call this person and end it for good. When I wrote this song I hadn’t yet done that, but the song was surrounded by my wish to garner up the courage to finally say, “I’m not your toy.” So, I thought it was appropriate to end the video that way.
Q) What do you think it is about the song that fans connect to?
A) I think everyone has been in a situation along the lines of the one described in the song. Sometimes you just have some people around you who aren’t being genuine or don’t have good intentions like you first thought they did. To realize this is kind of a heart breaking thing, especially if you were extremely close to this person. I think to hear a song like this that you can connect and relate to is really comforting.
Q )What is your song writing process? Do you need music before you can create lyrics?
A) Usually ideas come to me really rapidly. A catchy melody or a clever lyric will pop in my head and it will just build up from that. Sometimes it starts with a chord progression and I add lyrics over top. Other times I’ll come up with some lyrics and find a good melody to fit it. It always happens very spontaneously for me.
Q) How much of hand do you have in the production of your music?
A) Well, “Toy” is completely self-written. I went into a local studio, put down my guitar track, added in my vocals and then the engineer at that specific studio did an amazing job with a simple mix for me. A past single of mine, “Plea,” is also self-written, but along with one of the first singles I’ve ever released, “Pure Gold,” (which was given to me) was produced by an amazing songwriter and producer, PJ Bianco. All three singles though I tried to be very active in the recording process for. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to my music. So, although I don’t like to be too pushy or confrontational, if something in one of my songs doesn’t sound right to me I’ll always say something.
Q) What can fans expect from a live Sebastian Janoski performance?
A) I always try to include multiple instruments in my performances. I play Ukulele, Piano and Guitar so I go back and forth between instruments playing a mixture between originals, released and unreleased, and some covers. I’m so excited to perform some of my new music that I haven’t released yet. That’s gotta be what I’m most looking forward to.
Q) Will you have an EP or album coming out in the near future?
A) Nothing is set in stone yet, but that’s definitely one of the next steps. As of now, I think I might stick to releasing individual singles for a little bit longer and then, hopefully, I can get started on preparation for a full length album or at least an EP.
Q) Where are some of your favorite places to perform and what makes those locations so significant to you?
A) Two specific locations in New York City, The Bitter End and The Gramercy Theater, are my favorites. They are two of the first places I performed in the city and they are both very important places for an upcoming artist. Artists like Demi Lovato and Lady GaGa have performed at these places when they were up and coming so it’s a really cool thing to get to perform there as well.
Q) Who would you most like to collaborate with on a song in the future?
A) Artists like John Mayer and Charlie Puth are two people that I have a huge interest in collaborating with! They both have such an individual and different sound and they both write incredible music. Also, it’s just a personal plus that they both are alumni of the same music school, Berklee School of Music, that I will be attending!
Q) What album/band are you currently listening to and why do you dig them?
A) Currently, I’m listening to Grace Vanderwaal’s debut studio album, Just the Beginning. Every single song is so amazingly written and performed and each one is so drastically different in style and meaning. It’s something so different from what I’ve heard recently and that’s so exciting to me. It’s just an amazing body of work.
Q) You are a part of social media. Why is that such an important way for you to connect with your fans?
A) I think having a direct line to speak to my fans and interact with them makes a huge difference. I want my supporters to feel more like friends than just fans. I want each one to know what their support and attention means to me because, honestly, where would artists be without them? Social media makes it easier to just be able to respond to comments and respond to the love and support I receive.
Q) What would you like to say to everyone who is a fan and supporter of you and your work?
A) Your love and support is appreciated. Incredibly appreciated.
Watch The Video For “Toy”