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John Lensing Discusses Recent Single “Talk To Me” and More

Courtesy of John Lensing

Thank you for chatting with us John. Fans seem to be loving your new music! Did you grow up with a musical family? Neither of my parents are very musical, but they were always very encouraging. I learned piano at a pretty early age, and music slowly became this intensely personal thing. I think I’m glad it went that way. My dad really passed on his work ethic and my mom passed on her empathy for other people. I felt a lot of freedom to explore music on my own, and slowly found teachers who helped me believe in myself along the way.

Tell me about your current single, “Talk To Me.” What was your inspiration? This song was a bit of an exercise in feeling free for me. I really just wanted to make something that I’d love listening to. I grew up listening to a lot of music between country, folk, and hip hop. I’ve always been inspired by artists in those realms, and this song was about finding the space between them that felt genuine to me.   

How long have you been honing your craft as a singer/songwriter? I've been writing songs for maybe seven years now. The whole time I’ve been pushing myself to saying what I mean as directly and honestly as possibly. I find it really beautiful to realize you can dedicate a whole lifetime to that one simple thing. 

Are you mainly inspired by what happens around you for your songs? I'm mainly inspired by relationships. With others, the world, and myself. Sometimes watching a movie or reading a book helps too. There's so much learning we still have to do about how to be good to people and be honest to them. If something has been on my mind for weeks, I usually find it makes a song that feels important.  

Who would you love to perform or write with? I'd love to play with Glen Hansard. One of the most heartfelt performers I've ever seen. Never have I seen someone deal with hecklers and fans yelling in such a clever and loving way. I imagine following him around on tour would teach anyone a lot.

Now that the single is out what can fans look forward to next? Video? Are you going to be releasing a full album soon? I’m hoping to have more songs come out over the course of the winter/early spring. This is the first song on an upcoming EP of mine. It’ll be the first release on my self run record label, so I’m taking the time to do things as thoughtfully as I can. Very excited for it all. 

What's the last song you heard that you wish you could have recorded? "Millennial" by Aisha Badru. That song is heavy but also overflowing with emotion and honesty. It feels like something she had to write.  I really like that.

At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people take away from your songs? I hope that people realize how important vulnerability is through my music. I think a lot of our actions that we regret come down to feeling scared. The only way to overcome that is to know when we are scared. To be strong enough to admit it. The better we get at this the better we’ll get at noticing everything, including the moments we feel happy.  

Courtesy of John Lensing

Singer-songwriter John Lensing released his new single “Talk To Me” on September 21, 2020. Hailed as "an artist to watch" by No Depression, Lensing is a burgeoning songwriter who pens lyrics of quiet confidence. With much of his music stemming from topics of mental health, Lensing allows listeners to experience an intimate and vulnerable confidence that allows room for being thoughtful. "Talk To Me" follows in that vein with a soundscape that walks the line between folk and acoustic pop. "This song is about communication. A lot of the choruses are reminders to myself.  The things you have to push through to keep trying," says Lensing. "Sometimes you just need to remind yourself that everything takes time. I think a lot of people struggle with that idea."

A lover of stories, John Lensing writes songs for the same reason he street performs: to make people care. About themselves, about others, and about things that sometimes hurt to care about. He has toured and street performed in six different countries around the world from North America to Europe, sharing his introspective music and connecting with people in a meaningful way. Lensing’s candid lyrics are set perfectly against a soundscape that blends alt-folk with bedroom pop and incorporates elements of hip-hop and traditional acoustic songwriting side by side. Finding his voice in the space between genres, Lensing blurs the line around what acoustic music is in similar styles as that of Noah Gunderson and Dermot Kennedy. “I want to create more beauty in the world and reduce the stigma around expressing the pain we feel,” says Lensing. “I can’t help thinking vulnerability is contagious."


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