Today we’d like to introduce you to Jonathan Yarbrough.
Jonathan, before we jump into specific questions about your work, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I remember watching my dad play in a blues cover band, that had original songs as well, at a super young age. It was such a dad band and I grew up listening to the music they played, for example, Eric Clapton, creedence clearwater revival, Lynyrd skynrd, buddy guy, stone temple pilots, B.B. King, Jimmie Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Allman brothers, etc… all the dad-rock you can think of. Being a 90’s kid, I started listening to nirvana, Green Day, Blink 182, AFI, and more indie alternative type bands. I picked up a guitar for the sole purpose of wanting to play music with my brother and dad.
I saw them jamming all of the time and I just wanted to be a part of the love of the craft with them. I “locked” myself in my garage with a little cube amp with distortion and learned every Green Day song I could. I would record myself and my buddy on cassettes for fun. I joined my first band in middle school played Bass for the band called “The Lions”. I played bass until I felt comfortable enough to play guitar for other people. When it was the time I started a band with my friends around 8th grade called Magic Mercury. Not sure what to call the type of music we made but it was a mixture of Queen, Muse and a little bit of zeppelin.
I learned a lot as a guitarist in that band. We started off just as an instrumental band then both myself and the other guitarist wanted to start singing. I NEVER sang in front of my parents or anyone for that matter. I would write songs under my breath so nobody could hear me if I messed up. I never wanted to become a choir boy but did it anyway to learn how to sing better. I actually became the Tenor section leader in senior year, not too sure why to this day but I had fun and grew a lot as a leader. I eventually made another group with different friends called The Gatsby Smokes. We made kind of surf rock blues tunes. I began to develop myself as a singer and a frontman with them. a year into that my buddy I was in Magic Mercury with asked me if I wanted to do keyboard, synth, and background vocals in his new band, Verdell.
We got to play so many amazing and famous venues around LA and Orange County. I still feel so honored to have experienced that with those amazing friends. We are still in contact and see each other from time to time, they’re truly some of the best musicians I know. I then started to play at a church I became apart of. I guess you can say I “found God” but the truth is he was always there for me. I gave my life to Jesus around five years ago and started leading worship in church. I found a new purpose to why I am a musician. It’s no longer to get the approval of others or fame or money. I’m alive to share my Love and gifts to the world. I love seeing people smile and feel the emotion of something I’ve created or play for them.
It warms my heart to know I might have helped someone through something difficult because I feel the same way about how other music makes me feel. I recently started a band with my brother Billy, his buddy Brandon Hoogenboom, and my good friend Cory Blyther. We are called “HERE”. Meaning we are “here” present with ourselves and whoever is listening. I can’t write a song without becoming present with what my heart is telling me to get out and share. We have two songs on Spotify and are soon going to record more and play shows eventually. I started performing at restaurants and bars for over a year now all around Orange County.
My top places are Trevors at the Tracks in San Juan Capistrano, Rancho Capistrano Winery in San Juan Capistrano, The Blind Pig in RSM, The Cellar in San Clemente, Five Vines in San Juan Capistrano, Pizza 900 in Lake Forest and also do private events. I am moving to Redding, CA next month to live with friends that attend school there. Some producers/ musicians live there as well that are willing to help me record a full-length solo album. So I’m going to go do that for over half a year.
Has it been a smooth road?
It hasn’t been easy. At first, I would email a ton of places and not hear anything back. Playing music is my only source of income right now so, in the beginning, I struggled financially, still struggling here and there. Some months are better than others.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
I am a musician that provides live music for restaurants and bar in Orange County. I am a musician that plays cover tunes with my own twist. I’m also a Christian and a lot of times people in the church think you can’t perform secular music and be a Christian that worships God at the same time. The way I see it is that, I love God and I love people so I’m really just loving people by meeting them where they are at. Providing a space to be who they are and helping them connect with their own hearts through music. Christian or not, God loves the world and I believe I’m meant to show people how loved they are no matter what. Jesus died for us, not just the people who know the bible front to back.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I feel like we could not be in a better place for this particular area of creative expression. For someone just starting out, this is the place to start. Everyone is so supportive and loves when people share talent and the vulnerability that comes from performing.
- Minimum rate $250 with food & drink
- $100 per hr for private events
- Website: www.jonyarbro.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: Jonyarbro
- Facebook: Jonathan Yarbrough