At just 20 years old, Jay Johnson is a youngster in the musical world, but his reputation is growing. The Nigeria-born, South-East London bred singer-songwriter has appeared on The One Show and his face is pasted across several buses as part of Gibson Guitars’ “Busk in London” campaign. He also puts on intimate gigs for AirBnB in the capital.
He released his most recent single, Forget It, on 30th August.
The first thing that you notice when listening to the track is how the light guitar fits with Johnson’s deep voice. His vocal is soothing as the fingerpicked chords and drums create a catchy background. His singing initially made me think of Bon Iver, due to its calm nature. The acoustic guitar managed to be poppy yet folky at the same time. The simple-but-effective melody of the first verse brought all of these elements together in a cool combination.
The accompaniment of a female vocalist in the pre-chorus complements Johnson’s voice and builds up the song nicely. The “ooh”s in the chorus again bring out the best in the melody, which has been going on in my head for days. The frequent chord changes of the guitar weave well with the rest of the music. The post-chorus interlude gives the listener some space, balancing the track out, and making me feel content.
The female vocals in the second verse make it fuller than the first. This continues into the second run of the pre-chorus and chorus. A guitar is added, again making the whole sound bigger, but subtly. These extra layers make the song meatier and they build on the emotion evoked already.
A middle eight with only acoustic guitar and vocals spaces the song out nicely, just like the post-chorus had done before. When the chorus returns in all its glory, it has even more of an impact on the feelings of the listener. The contrast between it and the preceding quiet part makes the song well-rounded.
The music feels like that of a love song. The lyrics seem to be about the break up of a couple. However, the reality is that the song is about Johnson’s experiences in the music industry and the broken promises made to musicians. To move on in your musical career, you must forget about all these broken promises.
What I like about ‘Forget It’ is its simplicity. For much of it, there is only one guitar, one vocalist, and percussion. The addition of another guitar and backing vocals brings out the best in the key, original parts. It is a very satisfying song, and it makes me excited for Jay Johnson’s future in the music industry.