INTERVIEW: VIENNE (JONATHAN KORSZYK)
Born and raised in southern California Jonathan Korszyk, AKA Vienne, is an American singer and songwriter who burst onto the L.A. music scene in 2009. It all started when he was introduced to the Beatles and a second hand piano at the age of 15; which led to him performing in churches, camps, coffee shops, and festivals all over the United States. He is also one-third of a side project called The Music Dept. In late 2008, two of Jonathan’s songs were featured on hit television shows Gossip Girl (CW) and Chuck (NBC). In early 2009, he had entered the studio with producer/guitarist Chris Franz to create Vienne’s first official EP. Currently, he has chosen to partner with Pledge Music for his upcoming album release. Pledge is partnering heavily with one of his close friends non-profit organization “Just One”. When you donate, 10% of the funds raised from the Vienne Pledge campaign will be going to them.
First off, how did you come up with the band name ’Vienne”?
Vienne is a place in south-east France that came to me in a dream one night. In my dream I had these virtual reality sunglasses and all that I could imagine would come to pass. I guess the name and location was buried in my sub-conscious and became this mystical paradise. Still I've never been there, and that needs to change.
How did you know you wanted to be a musician?
My mom was a singer when I was a kid, and she started me off on the idea of music as a passionate expression. Then when I listened to The Beatles - White Album it changed my life. After that I surrounded myself with the most musical and melodious humans I could find, and am still trying to do that now.
You’ve had your songs featured on some hit shows such as Gossip Girl, Teen Mom, The T.O Show and Chuck. What was that experience like? Did you watch any of those episodes to see your songs being played?
It's been a huge blessing to have heard my music playing (albeit ever-so-quietly) on those shows. We threw a party for the Gossip Girl episode and it was very exciting. Since then it's been a bit more low key, but I like to watch it all by myself. The Teen Mom scenes were done very well... And I'd like to meet T.O. one of these days (Hit me up mate!)
Your song ‘She Breaks’ is about human trafficking, what inspired you to write this song?
I heard a young lady tell her story about being trafficked and sold into sex slavery at an event called Freedom Day put on by my friends at JustOne. I knew trafficking existed but the issue had never called for my action until then. In a moment I went from hearing facts and numbers to knowing I had to act. I wrote the song in less than 20 minutes and have vowed to use it to shed light on the issue. We are putting the finishing touches on a music video directed by Nato Braga and starring Kathryn McCormick (SYTYCD, Step Up 4) which will be released in May 2012.
How would you describe your music to people who haven’t heard it before?
I'd call it passion pop. The sound is emotionally compelling and energetic with lyrics about love and relationships and sad sappy stuff too.
What inspires you to pursue a career in music?
My obsession with writing songs and sharing art with people. It's a desire that I feel I was born with and can be both a blessing and a curse. I also want to buy a white Steinway concert grand piano, a private jet, a billion dollar home, and those virtual reality sunglasses I keep having dreams about.
What are the main inspirations behind your lyrics?
I am inspired by truth and beauty. Many times these subjects present themselves in hopeful and inspiring lyrics, but they can also be disquised in pain and suffering. And love is a crazy thing! It's the beauty of the soul, so there is always so much to write about both as an experiencer (is that a word?) and as an observer/interpreter.
Who do you think changed the music industry? Why?
Al Gore for inventing the internet. No, I believe it was the people over at Napster that changed the entire world of music. Digital access to pretty much any song by any artist at any (or no) price really changed the landscape of music as an artform and how it is released. It's a much more Do-It-Yourself/Be-Independent structure for many artists these days, which is an incredibly good thing in my opinion.
You’ve partnered with Pledge Music on this upcoming album, where fans can support not only you, but your friend’s non-profit organization, “Just One” (10% of funds raised from the Vienne Pledge campaign will be going to them). Tell us a little more about this album and what fans will get when they pledge.
It's a 3-song release right now, and I loved the process of making these songs! Pledge Music is such a fantastic way for artists and fans to connect through exclusive content and updates. I'm giving away some treasured posessions, offering to play for different settings and giving someone the chance to design the first Vienne t-shirt. Some cool stuff! Plus you get to give to a phenomenal non-profit who dedicates themselves to fighting against human trafficking.
What bands/artists do you look to for inspiration? Any bands that people wouldn’t think of when listening to your music?
I really love Peter Gabriel, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Queen and Bob Dylan. Aqualung and Magnet are certainly up there as well, and the surprise would most likely be Tupac Shakur. Surprise, right?
Lastly, what’s in stores for you in 2012?
These 3 songs (Silent Unusual, Heal my Heart and Feather) will be released in May, as well as the music video for She Breaks. I will be playing out as well and am very much looking forward to co-writing with some amazing artists. But then the world will end and I will be somewhere in space playing hacky sack with Flava Flav (VR sunglasses)