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Over the last ten years Jont, the singer-songwriter and creator of “Unlit” (a unique mixture of a party and a gig that has recently become a global internet phenomenon), has grown from unknown to an artist and cultural catalyst attracting critical acclaim and on the brink of mainstream success.
2008’s “Supernatural” was Dermot O’Leary’s album of the week on Radio Two, and was given 4 stars by UNCUT’s Nigel Williamson who commented on his “achingly lovely melodies” and a voice somewhere between “Jeff Tweedy and Damon Albarn”. Live appearances followed on Radio 4’s Loose Ends, BBC World Service, and on both Johnnie Walker and Dermot O’leary’s Radio 2 shows. While Dermot declared Jont “a true innovator”, and called Supernatural “a beautiful album”, Johnnie got Jont back to play his show a second time and then later in the year even invited him to his own house to put on one of his increasingly legendary “Unlit” nights.
But what exactly is Unlit and why are so many people getting excited about it? Jont says: “Unlit is a beautiful way to break the rules. It’s a mixture of a party and a gig that is open and free to anyone, held in the houses of fans and like-minded souls. The bill is made up of artists, either established or new, who play two or three songs, and their vulnerability and intimacy with the audience allows people to stop thinking and look at music in a different way”.|In the last year, people really have connected with Unlit…since Jont started taking it on the road – across Myspacers houses in the USA, across the UK twice (secondly this summer with sponsorship from Orange) – the short films of the nights which they post on Youtube, made by his friend Dave Depares, have, as The Independent stated, “grown in to a viral internet phenomenon” attracting over 2 million viewers. The magical little episodes capture the vibe of the night, and see Jont interview the people who have invited him in and the musicians who play. This is the Skins generation with a twist, fronted by music’s very own Louis Theroux. But it isn’t just a successful online TV series – it has recently unearthed an amazing array of musical talent. Past Unlit acts that are now enjoying mainstream acclaim include Tom Baxter, Sam Sparro, Newton Faulkner, Joanaspolicewoman, The Duke Spirit, Polly Paulusma, Das-Pop and Adem. No surprise then that Monkey Kingdom, the production company behind hits like The Charlotte Church Show and TFI Friday is currently pitching Unlit to terrestrial UK TV channels and planning for it to be a revolutionary mainstream music show in 2009, with Jont at the helm.
At the heart of Unlit though is Jont’s music and his phenomenal live performances. Whether selling out the South Bank Centre’s Purcell Room or playing in peoples houses across the country, whether having his music on the Wedding Crashers soundtrack or having his song “Another Door Closes” on the season opener of the latest series of Grey’s Anatomy, whether he is just singing with an acoustic in your living room or onstage with The Infinite Possibility, his new 7-piece band whose members are all past Unlit performers…Jont’s music is the engine around which everything else revolves. With a new album on the way in 2009 – recorded live in two days at Wandsworth’s Raezor studios, a TV show in the offing and a groundswell of respect and appreciation for his music and Unlit, the possibilities for Jont really do seem, well, infinite……|
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