JP Rose! Time you heard about him

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JP Rose! Time you heard about him

Real name Jonas Rosenthal , the 21-year-old former JFS student is doing music his way

Naomi is a freelance features writer

Why the name J P Rose – was Jonas Rosenthal not cool enough?

Haha I guess it just rolls off the tongue easily and fits with the whole RnB/soul/hiphop vibe that I’m about.

So how did JP Rose come to be?

Well, I know it’s cliché, but I was always musical as a child. I started learning guitar in Year 2 and rapping in Year 3. My parents pushed both of my sisters to do music, but I was the one who took to it! Happy accident.

Where do you record?

I’m actually at music uni at the moment (BIMM in Brighton) doing a BA in music production. But I make my own music whenever I can from home – got the whole gig set up in my bedroom – guitars, mics etc.

So you release music you record at home?

Yes, my songs Control, Can’t Lie and Let’s Get Lost were all recorded in my bedroom! An example of this is Lil Nas X – he recorded his music at home and made it big in the past few years. Amy Winehouse’s Valerie is known to have used a very cheap microphone that is often used in home studios and Michael Jackson’s Thriller album was recorded with the same mic I use now – but a newer version of it of course! I do go to the studios, but to be honest, the pandemic gave me a chance to put all of myself into my music. I’m usually quite social and go to music events to form industry connections, but isolation was both a challenge and a success. I found new ways of connecting and collaborating, such as through TikTok, which really took off during lockdown.

Did you collaborate with anyone you met online?

Yes, I’ve teamed up with artists Feux and Kxmel on my song Let’s Get Lost. I got to know so many musicians during lockdown and make music with them. I am now executive producer on music for Feux.

Would you say your roots affect your vibe?

Oh yeah, definitely. I’ve got a strong sense of self and family values and I’m comfortable expressing that through my music. I was the youth leader for Muswell Hill shul for a while, so hopefully I can inspire the current generation and be a positive role model. I’m also humbled by what my grandparents went through to get here. My grandfather and his twin brother were 12 when they managed to escape on the way to a Nazi work camp. We’ve got a pre-war picture of them in my house and people have always said I look like him. I still look at it and get emotional knowing what that little boy had to go through. I want to create great, meaningful music in their memory, that would make them proud.

Jonas’ grandfather and his twin brother with their father

So is that where your music comes from?

My music is soul music and the history of my people definitely inspires me to bring more to the table. I don’t just want to do songs about partying. Certain black artists I listen to reveal the pain of their history in songs. I aspire to that and as we’re both marginalised communities, we need to stick together and have awareness of each other’s struggles. Antisemitism/racism often come from a lack of understanding.

So bringing that message of understanding is important?

Yeah, of course. It’s also motivating that some of the biggest rappers are Jewish – Drake and Mac Miller (RIP) for a start. I believe that as a Jew, you can’t be scared to go out in the world and connect with other cultures. I’m just out there and proud of who I am – Magen David bling and all! If you show you’re fearless, people will intrude on you less. The artists I admire most in the music world are those who wanted to push social change and be more than a songmaker, like Bob Marley, Jon Lennon and KendrickLemar.

Is there a connection between your process and the message of your music?

Definitely. I write and compose all my own songs and part of that process is letting the everyday inspire me – it could be a meaningful moment, food, a person, a video – I’m always ready to catch creativity! I think ‘how can I make this connect more than just on a surface level? How can it make someone relate? Every time I write a lyric and come up with a melody I want it to give people  the chills.

Are you hoping to get signed up to a big record label?

I’m an independent artist – not signed to a label and I prefer it that way. I’ve got PR people but this way I can be the boss of my own career. There are massive artists who have done it on their own like Chance and Stormzy. I have reached over three million streams on Spotify/YouTube with my own songs and those produced for other people. My debut project Lo-Soul is out on 15 April and has some great tracks, including my new single One n Only, which is out now.

Any parting tips for hopeful young musicians in the community?

The main thing is to believe in yourself – if you have a deep love for making music just go for it. There will be dark times but if you stay with it you will get somewhere. I’m not fully there yet, but with that attitude I truly believe I will get where I want to be.

Instagram: @j.p_rose

One n Only is out now on all major streaming platforms:


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