5 Minutes with JP Saxe: The Grammy-nominated crooner on the power of introspection

HUNGER catches up with the singer-songwriter following the release of his latest single, ‘I Don't Miss You.’

When it comes to Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter JP Saxe, there’s one thing that’s at the heart of all his output: introspectivity. His breakthrough 2021 album was titled Dangerous Levels of Introspectivity, after all. The multi-instrumentalist hailing from Toronto has never been one to shy away from his authentic self, resulting in a career that has spawned multi-platinum records, including ‘If the World Was Ending’ – which has now racked up over a billion streams across streaming platforms. Basking in that success, Saxe has found himself amongst music’s elite, touring alongside the likes of Alicia Keys, Lewis Capaldi, and now John Mayer (who also featured on his debut).

Now, in 2023, Saxe isn’t slowing down his momentum, in February he released his first single of the year, ‘Moderación,’ providing yet another statement of intent. Featuring Columbia superstar Camilo, a great friend of Saxe’s, the track is a bilingual pop ballad perfect for those times late into the night reminiscing on past relationships. And just last week, Saxe returned once more with ‘I Don’t Miss You,’ a groovy guitar-led tale of unrequited love that would sit nicely on anyone’s 3 am playlists. Here, HUNGER sits down with Saxe to discuss his relationship with Camilo, what we can expect from his next project, and touring alongside his idols.

Congratulations on your single, ‘Moderación,’ which you released earlier this year. Can you talk to us about the inspiration behind that track?

Thank you. I made it with one of my favourite humans and artists in the world, Camilo, and it’s about our shared belief that even if you really love somebody for who they are, if you don’t love the way they love you back, maybe it’s not the kind of the love you want to be in. 

You linked up with Camilo for that too; what was it like working with him on the track?

You know, I love the collaborative elements of music. When it’s with people that are already your friends, and family, it makes life really, really good.

How did you and Camilo link up in the first place, and what’s your relationship like with him?

Originally we connected because I have the song with his wife as well, ‘If The World Was Ending’ (with Evaluna), and he was a part of the writing process for the Spanglish version. We connected through that process, and I love that song. I feel really grateful to have songs with multiple members of his family. 

Has your creative process evolved at all since 2021’s ‘Dangerous Levels of Introspection’?

All I’ve ever really known how to do is write about my own life, and my life has changed, so my subject matter has become different. But I think I’m looking at it from a similar perspective. Similar but changing situations and emotions for me to explore.

How would you say your life has changed since the release of that project?

I feel like I know myself more intimately, and I know a lot more people in the world through those songs because there is just so much of myself in them. I feel like I learned myself over multiple years writing those songs, and to be able to share that process through the songs and with other people has been an extraordinarily connected and special experience for me. It’s one that I’m really grateful for. 

 Do you feel any pressure to follow that up, considering the record’s success?

I appreciate that you think the record was successful, and really I wouldn’t say I feel pressure. I feel grateful that I get to make songs for a living. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received throughout your career?

“Lefty loosey righty tighty.” I feel like that’s the one I use the most often. Also, “if you stop yourself writing bad songs, you stop yourself writing good ones too.” Just remember, no one has to hear the bad ones.

What’s the best and worst thing about being a musician?

The best thing about being a musician is that it’s a fucking surreal dream that I don’t entirely believe is the actual thing that my life is. And the worst thing is hard to answer… let me think on that one.

Are there any hints you can give us on what to expect from your next album?

It’s very wordy. It also, I think, has more of an emotional range than the first album. There is more joy on it. There’s more silliness. There’s more dorkiness. There are more times of day in terms of what it feels like to be me at different times of the day. 

You’ve toured with the likes of Alica Keys, Lewis Capaldi and John Mayer on the road. What’s it like getting recognition from these huge names?

It’s extremely validating, and it’s also just something I’ve had a lot of gratitude for – the moments where I get to see people that I’m fan of before the show multiple times. With artists like Alica and John, who I was a fan of growing up, getting to make music in their world feels like the kinda shit if you told 14-year-old me about, he would fucking faint.  

What has been the most surreal moment of your career so far?

Last night at Madison Square Garden opening for John Mayer. I think that was it. Last night.

What advice would you give to someone trying to make it in the industry today?

I would say there are three things that are most integral to figuring out a career as an artist. These are not simple, but I’m gonna simplify non-simple things. There is knowing who you are, which is very complicated. Two, there’s knowing how to be ok with it – that’s also really hard. And step three, there’s knowing how to put it in a new song – again, really fucking hard.

What’s the goal for JP Saxe?

At the beginning of this year, my goals were to touch my toes and learn Spanish. I can speak Spanish, kinda, and I did touch my toes one time. Not sure if it counts because it was in the shower, and I stretched a lot, and it was only once, but I think it counts. So, I guess the continued goal is just to be as sincere as I possibly can in all areas of my life and then see what kind of life sincerity brings next.

WriterChris Saunders