FINNISH SINGER/SONGWRITER JULIAN JONES AND HIS DEBUT ALBUM ‘GENTLE PARADE’

FINNISH SINGER/SONGWRITER JULIAN JONES AND HIS DEBUT ALBUM ‘GENTLE PARADE’


by Tomi Hinkkanen
Photo Credits: Tomi Hinkkanen

Julian Jones was born in Finland and came to the U.S. with his family at the age of five. His father Markku is a well-known photographer, his mother Anne is an art director, and older brother Tomi is a graphic designer. Julian found music as a teenager and has written songs ever since. Julian’s debut album, ‘Julian Jones’ Gentle Parade’, came out this Summer.

The record launching took place in Malibu. Tall and slender 23 year old Julian sings and plays the guitar. “Come and spend some time with me down by the water…” His music is melodic, with influences of folk, pop and rock. Themes of the songs come from Julian’s own life. They deal with relationships, beach, friends, struggles with Finnish and American identities. Even the Northridge earthquake in 1994, a traumatic childhood memory that has stayed with him to this date.

“I had only been in Finland, and I had never heard of earthquakes. I did not understand what happened. I was pretty horrified by the following couple of months after the incident”, Julian recalls. The band does two sets and gets an enthusiastic applause from the audience. We sit down to talk. His Finnish language skills has remained smooth thanks to the childhood Summers spent with grandparents in Tampere.

“At home we speak Finnish. Fortunately, it was important to my parents that I maintain good Finnish language skills and visit Finland regularly, so I know where I come from,” he acknowledges. “Upon arriving in America, Julian started school right away. Fortunately, he had attended an English preschool in Finland which eased the transition into the American school system. “I didn’t have many friends initially because I did not speak English as well as they did. It was also difficult to get accustomed to the pace of the school. It took a couple of years before I understood the language well enough to adapt and to make more friends. I became more American,” Julian says. He certainly considers himself first and foremost a Finn.

Music arrived in his life by chance. “I had a really good schoolmate with whom I hang out on a daily basis. One day we started playing with guitars in his parents’ house and then I realized how much fun that was. I went home and began studying the music of the Beatles and Oasis. That’s how it started.”

Through devoted determination, Julian trained himself to become a musician. “I read books, studied sounds, listened to songs and started to play along. Playing and singing came easily for me. It’s probably why I became interested in them more than other hobbies. It was easy to continue on the musical path, learn more and enjoy it.”

He graduated from Calabasas High School at age 18 in 2005 and enrolled in Santa Monica City College.” I wanted to study music, because I just started to play a couple of years earlier. I wanted to learn how to read and write

music through theoretical models. But somehow the teachers and other people there did not take it so seriously. So I left after a year,” Julian says. He then started playing in small clubs as a vocalist and guitarist, but something was missing. “It began to feel weird to play other people’s songs when I had so many of my own. The truth is that as soon as I learned how to play, I began to write my own songs.” Julian then formed his own band ‘Spring Hill’ (translation of the surname Lähdesmäki). He then got an internship at a music studio. “I worked as a trainee in Emblem studio in Calabasas. They did not pay for my work, but it taught me the business aspects of music.”

Julian has also partnered with the Grammy-award winning Jeff Silbar who is best known for the Bette Midler song ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ which he co-authored with Larry Henley. Julian and Jeff Silbar have already written 6 songs together.

Inspiration for the songs comes from Julian’s own experiences and news from the surrounding world. Sometimes he comes up with a new song in ten minutes. “A couple of years ago there were school shootings in Finland. I went to my room and I started to play the guitar. Five minutes later, I ran downstairs to say that “hey, I have a new song”. The name of the song was Going Down.

His song ‘Summer Said’ is a fond remembrance of childhood Summers: “It tells how wonderful Summer is for a child. School was out and you felt free. I shared Summers between my relatives in Finland and friends here. Nowadays, when you do not have school, and subsequently no break from it, that summer feeling has somehow been lost. The enjoyment is not quite the same.”

Julian’s debut album ‘Julian Jones’ Gentle Parade’ contains ten of his songs that are easy to listen with lovely melodies and thoughtful lyrics. The album is available at:

http://www.julianjonesmusic.com/

iTunes

FACTS:
Name: JULIAN LÄHDESMÄKI
Born: 9/28/1987 in Espoo, Finland
Parents: ANNE AND MARKKU LÄHDESMÄKI from Tampere and Pori
Education: Calabasas High School and Santa Monica City College
Resides: Malibu, California, U.S.A

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