Dance Music Cities – New York City
New York City – Jonathan Mendelsohn

A singer superstar with the voice of an angel

Hi Jonathan, you’re currently in Ibiza making your first European appearance thanks to El Divino and the ‘Fierce Angels’ night – how did the night go and what do you think about the greatest party island in the world? What have been your highlights?
“The night was amazing – the Fierce Angels crew certainly know how to throw a great party. Everyone I met at El Divino seemed ecstatic to be there and were having a ball, so it made for a really great crowd to perform to. I definitely felt the good vibes whilst on stage and it really showed through my performance. The club is beautiful too, right on the water – so when you’re on the terrace you almost feel like you’re on a boat.”

So a native New Yorker, what musicians made your head spin growing up that made you want to sing?
“Honestly, I have to give the credit to Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. Mostly because when I’d listen to them, I envied their unlimited vocal range and powerful voices so much that I would push my voice to mimic them, and eventually this has helped stretch out my vocal chords to what they are today.”

Were the rest of the family musical at all, your mother we hear…
“It’s funny because my dad is completely tone deaf.  It’s surprising to me because I like to believe my talent was passed down through his side because of the musical last name, but it isn’t so. My mother is a classically trained pianist and vocalist so she was my first music teacher and major influence. Generally speaking though, music was a big priority in our household as my brother and sisters all had their own music tastes and we were all equally passionate about our own favourites.”

So many kids want to break into the music industry one way or another, you only have to see the amount of people auditioning for the America’s Got Talent and X-Factor to see that. What advice would YOU give to kids who were in the same boat as you and want to break through?
“First off, I would tell them it’s a hard path with a lot of disappointment but it can be incredibly rewarding.  All these TV shows like X-Factor and Pop Idol feel like ‘get famous quick’ scams to me and though they have produced some really talented people, it’s one in a million and it’s not realistic to have this be your only dream. It takes years of pushing and perseverance and I’d say you must have an undying passion for your art and talent. If you have this then you will find success in one way or another. It may not be in the form of a major record deal or winning a talent show on the telly but, hey, that’s okay isn’t it? It takes time, patience, and bucket loads of self-belief.”

Talking of talent competitions, you once entered an amateur night at a very famous venue where some very famous singers once stood on stage, whose footsteps were you following?     
“Yes! The legendary Apollo Theatre in Harlem has debuted some of music’s biggest acts such as the Billie Holliday, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, James Brown and Lauryn Hill.  The show itself is intense because the crowd is incredibly outspoken and will boo you right off the stage if they don’t like your performance.”

So a young white boy singing his own record ‘Over’ to an Urban crowd – how did it go?
“It couldn’t have gone better as I was undefeated four times in a row!  This was unheard of for a white boy doing his own otherwise unknown track.  I was over the moon.”

Whose voice, every time you hear it, gives you goosebumps?
“I would have to say most recently, Adele was the last person to make the hair on the back of my neck stand up.  ‘Hometown Glory’ just transports me somewhere unknown and when she lays into the refrain, I just lose it. She is an amazing unique talent with unlimited amounts of soul and I just soak it up when she sings.”

So like most of us, all of a sudden you were suddenly sucked into the whole rave scene in the early 90s…what were the best clubs you went to back then – and which  DJs made you jump about?    
“Ha! Yeah, It’s funny because most of the raves I went to weren’t at clubs at all and most of the time were in random places like roller skating rings or warehouses. But I did actually go to Twilo for the first time for a rave back in ’97.  I remember Bad Boy Bill was the headliner and he most definitely made me jump about. His sets are always quite energetic and banging aren’t they?!”

You are giving a private show to five people, dead or alive, who would you invite?
“Tough question!  Madonna, Stevie Wonder, Jeff Buckley and my Grandparents who I miss more than anything in the world.”

Your new single ‘Forgiveness’ that you recorded with the Wamdue Project is getting so much hype and praise, out on August 10th. Describe it for people who haven’t heard it…
“It’s just this really sweet infectious pop song I wrote about losing faith in a love you once thought would stand the test of time.  The beat and bassline have this retro 80s vibe but it’s coupled with really lush pads, epic soundscapes and simple beautiful chords.  All of these elements come together to make a truly unique and irresistible song that comes from a very honest, emotional place.”

What are the big 5 tunes on your iPod at the moment?
“1.’Forgiveness’ – Wamdue Project featuring Jonathan Mendelsohn
2.’First Train Home’ – Imogen Heap – I cant wait for the whole album ‘Ellipse’ in August!!!
3.’Walking on a Dream’ – Empire of the Sun – simply brilliant
4.Anything by Lady Gaga – I just can’t get enough of her
5.’This Moment’ – Nic Chagall featuring Jonathan Mendelsohn – a selfless plug but a winner nonetheless…”

What’s the BEST and WORST thing about living in New York?
“Well, I certainly never get bored living there. There is always something to do or see and of course all my friends are there so it’s the only place that feel like home to me.  It does get very loud, noisy and overcrowded in some spots, which takes some getting used to.  The lifestyle there is Go! Go! Go! all the time so you really need to find ways to find your inner Zen.”

What one artist/producer would you most like to work with in the studio?
“I would really love to work with BT. Every since I heard ‘Movement in Still Life’ come out in 2000 I was just floored by his production abilities. I really don’t know how he does it.”

What is the best song ever written?
“‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen.”

So for someone who has never been to New York, what one place would you tell them to visit?   
“That’s a tough one again because there really is so much to see. I would recommend walking the length of Bleeker Street in the West Village.  It has a very classic neighbourhood New York feel to it and it’s a little bit off the beaten path so its not loaded with tourists.  If you do go, make sure you stop off at the Magnolia Bakery and get me a cupcake…”

What are your early thoughts on President Obama is doing?  
“Well, I think so far so good. I am really hopeful of his presidency and I really looking forward to what changes he is going to make in America. It really is such a mess he has to clean up though so I think we all need to be a bit patient.  Only time will tell…”

A couple of years ago, you joined forces with dance music legends Nick Warren and Jody Wisternoff to be the lead vocalist on Way Out West’s new album…how did that come about?
“I actually have been a big fan of Way Out West for some time and when Jody started putting his solo records out I was just blown away.  His style is so special and unique and really gets my creative juices flowing. One day I decided to put my own unsolicited vocal on his track ‘Nostalgia’ and I contacted him through MySpace and asked if it would be alright If I sent it over. Much to my surprise he listened to it and ended up really liking it! The rest is history…”

Okay, we all have one, what is your guilty pleasure tune, what record do you secretly dance around to when nobody is looking?    
“OMG! I still turn into an absolute fool when I hear ‘Low Low Low’ by Flo-Rida. It’s so played out but I really just can’t help myself when it comes on. “

What is coming next from you?
“Well I am off to Japan next month for a week to promote and perform songs for a project I have been writing/recording for. The artists are called World Sketch and they are having me over to support the debut coming out in the Fall. The Fierce Angels crew have a lot more in store for me as well and they will be sending me all over the globe supporting ‘Forgiveness’. Chris Brann and I are working on wrapping up the Wamdue album for a proper release – so stay tuned for that. I also have some performances in the works for the new Way Out West album ‘We Love Machine’ coming out in the Fall too.  Other than that I am just trying to take things as they come and be thankful for all the opportunities that have come my way in the past year and I hope to be at this for many, many years to come.”

“Forgiveness” by the Wamdue project featuring Jonathan Mendelsohn is available courtesy of Fierce Angel Recordings on Digital Download from 10th August. For more information visit