Tag Archives: positive

Spotlight On: Jon Davis

Our spotlight today will be on a conscious musician out of New York City. Jon Davis is a classically trained artist that beliefs in the empowering side of mainstream music.

Jon told us via email how it is his goal to “to inspire people to connect to a greater inner spirit of positivity, and inner growth, and challenge the constructs that all commercial music has to be unidimensional and focus only on indulgence rather than love and growth.”

What issues drive you or motivate you to write a song?

I’m a big advocate for spiritual health, and mental wellness. I believe that mainstream music too often focuses on negative emotions, and reactivity. Life isn’t perfect and art has a responsibility to capture all layers of the experience; however people still need art that reflects hope, even in the expression of pain. I look to modern day artists like Sia, P!NK, and Lady Gaga who have managed to bridge the gap between the mainstream media and lyrical substance. I also pull a lot of my inspiration from Whitney Houston, Luther Vandross, Michael Jackson, and Freddie Mercury.

Both the substance of the music and substance of the artist inspires the listener to think creatively about about life. That to me is the ultimate accomplishment a musician can have, commercial success while still inspiring thought and substance in your music.

I focus on love and inner power in my music. I aspire to create music that communicates honestly to the listener, while shedding light on both the romantic and undesirable side of the journey to self discovery, the thrashing pain when dreams don’t manifest in the way we were promised they would as children, and the draw to continue pursuing an ideal even after defeat and disappointment. 

Ultimately, my goal is for my music to push people to go inward and listen to the little voice inside more than the enormous and subduing voice of the collective, which is why there is a blend of commercial sounds mixed with “anthematic” and “rallying cry” inspirations. I try to always express my emotions openly while showing the inner struggle to push past the voices of doubt, shame, guilt, and feelings of unworthiness. 

Do you partake in any sort of activism outside the music?

I donate music to an organization called Songs of Love which writes custom music for terminally ill children. As a performer and writer, the most challenging thing to give away is energy and time, but it’s also the most impactful thing a person can give. Donating music for such a compassionate cause keeps me humble and pulls me out of the egocentric, and often negative reality of working in the music industry.

It reminds me that despite all the challenges, this whole profession is about touching people, even if only for 3 minutes, and that momentary disruption in the day to day can save lives. It brings us freedom from the confusion and disappointment of reality, and makes life more interesting, manageable, and ultimately conquerable. 

Check out more of Jon’s music on his webpage: https://www.officialjondavis.com/music

Spotlight on: Cassandra Bitterwolf

From Caribbean lands and waters comes a young, conscious singer-songwriter named Cassandra Bitterwolf. She recently released her first EP which can be streamed below and so she reached out to Shouts to share her music with the world.

Check out her positive message and feel good music below as well as her social media links such as Facebook and Instagram.

“Grow Food!” – Interview With Charlie Mgee of Formidable Vegetable

Charlie Mgee is not flying anywhere, anytime soon. Not because of fear of heights, the man seems not afraid of much seeing how he lives in a vegetable oil fuelled truck-house, but because of the irony as he puts it. As you’ll learn below Charlie is a man that puts his money where his mouth is.

Charlie leads the musical collective Formidable Vegetable and sings his lyrics for the band as well. After having studied permaculture he wanted to share the knowledge with more people and through music. Hence the existence of this quite unique band.

On 15th of March Formidable Vegetable drop their 3rd LP and so I figured it was time so see what Charlie had been up to since our last interview.

So, how have you been since the last time we spoke?

Flat out! Just this past few weeks I’ve been demolishing a house (free wood for the future Formidable Veg HQ!), planning water harvesting & ponds for our little patch of land, converting my house-truck to run on waste vegetable oil… oh, and getting ready to release an album!

Formidable Vegetable has a new album coming out. What sets this album apart from the first to LP’s (if anything)?

This one is a bit more “grown-up” sounding… in parts – actually, its part grow-up (songs about wanting to find a sense of home) , part childish fun (songs about composting toilets that don’t flush).

The first album was inspired by the permaculture principles – this one is inspired by the three ethics of Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share – hence the title – Earth People Fair.

You mention that the album is inspired by the permaculture ethics. For those not familiar with the subject, what is permaculture and how to you translate the concept into music and performances?

Permaculture is a way of designing things more in-line with nature in order to help us build resilience in the face of things like climate change and peak fossil-fuels. It’s pretty much a set of helpful tools that can be used to design homes, gardens or entire farms – or even less visible stuff like personal decision making or community structures.

I studied it a few years ago and thought that it was way too important not to be limited to a few people, so I wrote some songs in the hope of spreading it round a bit!

Is your music your tool for activism or do you separate the two in any way?

Music is definitely my main tool for activism. Apart from being ‘active’ and trying to do permaculture related stuff in my own back yard (ponds/gardens/house demolitions etc) I think it’s a great tool for spreading the message and hopefully inspires other people to take action, too.

This week I’m playing at the School Strike for Climate and next month I’ll join a convoy to protest the massive Adani coal mine being planned near the Great Barrier Reef, which will be a great way to integrate with other forms of activism.

Photo by Jono ‘Dropbear’ Chong

What are some other musicians, activists or even politicians that are fighting for nature and harmony that you’d like to give a shot out to and recommend to our listeners to follow?

Pete Seeger is probably my favourite musical activist of all time. He did so much for the environmental movement in the US.

Bob Brown is the former leader of The Greens party here in Australia and is the one leading the convoy to protest the coal mine. He’s a legend as well.

I saw in a recent FB post that you decided not to tour your music outside Australia for now. Can you tell our readers a bit about this decision?

I just thought it was getting a bit too ironic doing so much international travel when I sing about climate change and fossil fuels. I still have a long way to go before becoming fossil-fuel free (not just with transport, but food, business and a whole lot of things), but cutting international flights out of the picture is an important step I think.

If anyone knows of a sailboat heading to Europe, maybe I’ll try and make it back that way!

What’s on the horizon for Formidable Vegetable?

More school shows and smaller house-concerts & garden parties from the back of my veggie housetruck. I want to scale down, not just in my life, but also with my music.

It’s ironic, as obviously I want many people to hear the songs as possible, but doing smaller, more intimate shows – especially in the context of a permaculture farm or garden – I feel can have a greater impact on the people who come. I guess for everyone else, there’s YouTube!

Thanks for participating and for the music! Anything else you’d like to shout from the rooftops?

GROWWWWWWW FOOOOOODDDDDD!!!!

Find Formidable Vegetable’s music on Bandcamp and the group’s webpage. Cover photo by Patrick Latter.