Toronto-based singer-songwriter Jonah Yano already made an impression with his appearances alongside fellow P&P-approved duo Moneyphone, but "Shoes" is a revelation. Recorded with his father Tatsuya Muraoka during a visit to Japan in October 2019, the song and its accompanying video documents his first time seeing his father in 15 years. Personal and lovingly tender, "Shoes" is a triumph and a reminder to never drift too far apart.
"'Shoes' is a song almost 20 years in the making," Yano explains over email. "My dad first recorded that song in the late '90s. The recording you hear is actually that same recording except for my vocals which I recorded last year. The song is conceptually inspired by the Earl Sweatshirt song 'Playing Possum" where he samples his mom and late father. When I heard that song it made me realize that I have a story like that to tell so I listened back to all my dad's old music and after experimenting with a few different tunes I landed on the version of 'Shoes' that came out. I've been trying to figure out how to reconnect with my father for almost my whole life and this song turned out to be the perfect way"
"Shoes" tells a beautiful story, one that's partially conveyed through emotion alone, embracing the innate power of a bond with his father half way across the world. It speaks for itself, and it's a beautiful introduction to Yano's output. But he also has a debut album on the way that promises to live up to the high watermark he's set with "Shoes." "It's my first musical body of work that follows a specific intention and theme all the way through," he adds. "The songs all tell the different stories of my family dynamic growing up along with my grappling with my cultural identity... This album has a lot of the stories that make me who I am today."
Jonah Yano's debut album Souvenir is scheduled to drop later this year via Innovative Leisure.