Have you ever looked back at yourself as a child and wondered when you stopped feeling the same way about things that blow your mind – not just when an outer, ‘cooler’ layer replaced the run-as-fast-as-you-can-cause-you’re-that-happy emotion, but also when it translated to an inner layering on your core?
You may still be haunted or utterly depressed by dark music, or lifted by something spiritual or purely joyous. But do you feel that not anymore does music immediately make you cry on a rather happy day, or give you pure joy right when you are experiencing a very low moment? I may only speak for myself here, but this is how I felt about music as a child. While growing up has brought its share of perks, I often find myself looking back and missing just how I’d be so fascinated by something I had never seen or heard before. I believed in magic – at times even questioning whether it was actually me growing up or the world was losing its magic. Probably the former.
Anyway, just as most people I know, the worst thing growing up did to me was that I became so fixated on making a living, that I actually stopped ‘living’. I became this programmed bot stuck in an organized maze of a routine (Freelance often goes like we don’t care how you get there, as far as you get there ‘as scheduled’). Music always helped, especially in times like these, but somehow during this one phase, while ‘the glow’ of music that would once define phases of my life had faded, nothing new on the music scene of the world had really shook me in a good or a bad way.
Enter this Iranian-faced, guitar-smacking, tuner-twisting, human-capability-redefining, walking-and-dancing-band-of-a-man – an Englishman, as it turns out – Jon fucking Gomm. And the path to finding him was just as unusual as his style. I somehow went from trying to find a certain type of refrigerator on the internet (don’t even ask) to this demigod who absolutely defies belief.
For starters, when you see some of the things he does on the guitar, you will scream at the screen for letting you see that. “What in the heck is the matter with him!?” Before you even think how he managed to do it, you think, “Why would he even try that! NO! Stop this here. Who is he trying to emulate, GOD?!” And the songwriting – look beyond the skill set in itself if you can, and just listen to what he writes musically and lyrically. It is other-worldly.
If ever there has been a perfect musician, it is he. Not only are his works musically and lyrically complete and innovative, but he has given his own inventions to the world of guitar-playing as well as songwriting, especially solo singing/songwriting. The complete musician, if you will. But you know what really got to me – beyond the whole skill and songwriting brilliance? It was just how his face and body moved while playing his songs. I know many artists try to do that, be or at least appear totally lost into the music – but this man’s physical persona while playing his music is a benchmark of how to lose yourself thoroughly while performing art. You can see him gone, transcended into a parallel universe, happy, enchanted, and when you are watching someone so purely and truly indulged in anything, it does something to you that words simply cannot define.
So, instead, I will quote him from the comments section of his own YouTube video, “Passionflower” (Yes, he interacts directly with his fans on YouTube):
“I’m often racked with self-doubt. Which means I find compliments hard to receive: I get embarrassed, and part of me never truly believes them. So, sometimes afterwards I worry that I probably seemed a bit weird.
But… You may feel that music gets you through tough times, or helps you find your own inner strength. It’s a circle: your reaction to their art does exactly the same thing for artists, it’s what gives them the strength to fight their insecurity to keep creating, and gives that creation meaning.”
And as the initial context may suggest, I had reconnected with my childlike tendencies again and how! I have no shame in admitting that I cried the entire day I first experienced Passionflower – first out of sheer overwhelm, then sadness and then pure fucking joy. I had found magic again, right after I’d lost all hope of finding it and that is the rarest of rare gifts that you can find.
It’s like a robot was brought to life by an ultimate power – that’s how highly I rate Jon Gomm. Thank you Jon, I am not sure you know what you’ve done for and to people who have been in my place on a given day or time in their lives, looking for a deeper connect and just somehow managed to stumble upon you.
As for you, whether or not you’re in that same space that I was when I had no idea who Jon Gomm was, I suggest you fasten your seatbelts before you click ‘Play’ here.