Bio : JP Saxe
JP Saxe writes songs to discover and explore what it means to be himself. It’s why he doesn’t hold back or pull any punches. It’s why he speaks so candidly about life, loss, and love. It’s why he’s quietly emerged as a multi- platinum GRAMMY® nominated phenomenon whose voice can be felt across pop music and especially on his second full-length album, A Grey Area [Arista Records].
After dedicating his life to music, the Toronto-born and Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter, and multi - instrumentalist captivated audiences everywhere with “If The World Was Ending” [feat. Julia Michaels]. Nominated for “Song of the Year” at the 2021 GRAMMY® Awards, streamed over one billion times, and certified double-platinum in the U.S. and six times-platinum in Canada, it paved the way for his full-length debut, Dangerous Levels of Introspection. Powered by “A Little Bit Yours,” “Line By Line” [feat. Maren Morris], and “Here’s Hopin’” with John Mayer, the record earned acclaim from People, Entertainment Weekly, American Songwriter, UPROXX, and EUPHORIA. who even rated it “5-out-of-5 stars.” He delivered show-stopping performances on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert accompanied by Mayer, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Live with Kelly & Ryan, and more. To date, Saxe has amassed 2.5 billion-plus total streams and received two iHeart Award nominations for Best New Pop Artist and Best Lyrics. He won Breakthrough Artist of the Year at the 2021 JUNO Awards and was nominated for two 2022 JUNO Awards, including Artist of the Year and Album of the Year. Plus, he has delivered memorable live performances, opening for Alicia Keys, Lewis Capaldi, and John Mayer.
In the midst of this journey, he assembled what would become A Grey Area. By mining his deepest thoughts, anxieties, and emotions, he opens up more than ever.
When on display in the songs, his feelings may not look all that different from yours…
“My favorite art makes me feel closer to a part of myself,” he states. “If my art can get you closer to a part of yourself you get some new emotional access to, that’s a win.”
This time around, he creatively plunged as deep as possible. He didn’t do so by himself though. He diligently worked alongside collaborators such as GRAMMY® Award-winning phenomenon Malay [Frank Ocean, Lorde, FLETCHER]. L.A. sessions with Malay bookended a month-long sojourn to Colombia where he wrote a significant chunk of the album.
“I made two songs with Malay, went to Colombia, came back, and we did the whole record together,” recalls JP. “He’s become a core creative partner. He’s as obsessed with production details as I am with the nuances of the words and melodies. We share the same creative intent, and that makes shit rather magical I think.”
He set the stage for the album by illuminating the expanse of its scope, sharing “When You Think of Me,” “The Good Parts,” “Moderación (Con Camilo),” “I Don’t Miss You,” and “Everything Ends” [feat. Lizzy McAlpine & Tiny Habits].
Now, the single “Caught Up On You” finds JP in the pocket of a stream-of-conscious lyrical deluge affixed to a woozy jazz beat and nimble piano playing. His clever and oft-quotable rant dissects his romanticization of intellect.
“I’m all for the heaviness but it’s not the only feeling I wanted to exist on this album,” he admits, “One day in the studio I invited a bunch of my friends who play instruments over. TJ Whitelaw came over with a guitar. Adam Hanson was on drums. William Wells played the piano. I sat in the corner and wrote. I completely turned off my filter and wrote nine of the weirdest verses I’ve ever written and picked my favorite four. It was a way to clear the pipes creatively, but I ended up being obsessed with the song. It’s still my favorite song on the record cause it’s the closest feeling to where I’m at in this current moment. When you’re used to talking about intense emotional shit and you write a song about kinks and communism, it’s a nice little break.”
On “Anywhere,” JP picks up cello for the first time since the age of 12. He uses the cello bow on the guitar, widening the sonic palette even further. These strings bolster the piano and give the album another sonic dimension.
“It’s a complicated song,” he admits. “It reframes the phrase, ‘No matter what and wherever I go, I’m not going anywhere’. It’s about how there are more ways to be there for the people you care about than to simply being beside them. Musically, it took a long time to arrive at this simplicity with the strings, humming, and the piano.
For the opener “Old Times Sake (Epigraph by Yesika Salgado),” he converted one of poet Yesika’s pieces into “a singable one-minute piece.”
“There’s nostalgia and self-awareness in her poetry,” he notes. “It’s a little romantic, but it’s rooted in reality and thinking where your love lives and what home means.”
Fittingly, the album closer “If Love Ends” leaves the story open-ended.
“It concludes with a question,” he says. “If love ends, what would we call it anymore?”