An Interview (and Music Giveaway) with Composer Jon Maiocco

jon1Today I am talking with an amazing talent. His name in Jon Maiocco, and I’m convinced that his will be a well-known name in the future. Jon is a composer. He started composing around the age of twelve, and he’s still at it. He loves composing film music, but he also dabbles in songwriting, singing, and doing string arrangements. Jon is a Christian and loves using the gifts God has given him. He lives in Atlanta and is currently a junior at Georgia State University.

He can also do back flips,  has gone on a ton of mission trips to work with kids, and is mistaken as an American Eagle model.

Jon has been gracious enough to let me use his epic music in my book trailers. If you visit my YouTube channel, check out my trailers for To Darkness Fled, From Darkness Won, Replication, and The New Recruit.  All Jon’s genius.

Jon, you compose music. I think that is so cool. When did you compose your first song?

I composed my first song around twelve or thirteen. I think it was inspired by Narnia or something. (And you write books! I think that is very cool. I’ve always thought it would be awesome to write a book… I guess in a sense we are both writers.)

 

Thanks, Jon! Yes, all of the arts are somewhat similar, I suppose. We all create and hope people will like our creation and not critique it death. Ha ha. What instruments do you play?

I play the piano, and the flute every now-and-then. I used to play the violin… Just a note: you don’t have to play an instrument in order to compose for it. (But it definitely helps!) For instance, I’ve never played a brass instrument. But from what I’ve read/heard, I know what brass can play and can’t play.

That amazes me. I played the trumpet in high school. But I don’t even know what it can play and not play! How do you compose something that sounds so great without an orchestra?

I get that question a lot! I use a software called LogicPro, which is like the big brother to the software Garage Band. All the sounds that you hear are MIDI sounds, AKA, fake sounds. But yes, they sound pretty realistic! For me, when it comes to composing, one half is composing the actual music, and the other half is manipulating the MIDI sounds to make it sound realistic.

Well, you’re really good at it, Jon. Really good. Congrats on your first album! Tell us about Epic Music.

EpicMusic

Yes, my first album! For the longest time, I had the crazy idea of composing a complete album of epic music, but I never got around to it. Finally, this past summer (2012), I hammered down and just finished it. The album is simply called “Epic Music” and it has 13 tracks. It’s on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc.

This was really an experiment for me, to get my name out there, and so my fans could actually download my music.

I own it! And I put it all onto a CD so my son can listen to it. He’s totally hooked. Have you received any emails from readers? Would you tell us about one? How did it make you feel to get that feedback?

Yes, I have! I usually get emailed out of the blue, when I’m not even expecting it. Whenever someone emails me or writes me a note, it makes my day. Encouragement energizes me. Sometimes I also get critique, which is always helpful because it will make me become a better composer.

A specific example… hmm… this wasn’t an email, but someone I didn’t know reviewed my album on iTunes and entitled his review “Watch out Hans Zimmer.” Totally made my day.

That’s awesome, Jon. I don’t think people realize how much a kind word can mean to artists. Things like that make my day too. After hundreds of hours of work on a project, it’s so nice to know that someone enjoyed it.

This may be a tough question for you. Because every time I’m on your Facebook page, you’ve posted pictures of yourself surfing or on another mission trip. You seem to have a lot of adventures in your life. What do you consider one of your biggest life adventures?

One of my biggest life adventures? Very tough question definitely. I guess I’ve had my fair share of adventures. This past year, I went to Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Africa, and I have more mission trips planned this next year. But I would have to say my biggest adventure is everyday life. While those trips are fun and make for good stories down the road, living each day for God comes with it’s own adventures. You don’t have to go on missions trips or travel out of the country to have “adventures;” just live life to it’s fullest each day. Loving God and loving others has plenty of adventure.

Well said, sir! And very true.

I guess if you want a specific example for one of my biggest life adventures, I would have to say it was traveling to Africa this summer. This was my first time going out of the country without any family, and I didn’t really know anyone in the group that I was in. The 16-hour plane ride, Victoria Falls, lions and zebras, the sunrises and sunsets… those were all unforgettable. But the people of Zimbabwe were better than all those things. I really felt at home. I really miss everyone there. I would move there in a heartbeat.

Gasp! You went to Zimbabwe. I’ve always wanted to go there. You are so blessed to be able to travel as much as you do. What do you want to be when you “grow up,” Jon? Was it always the same dream, or did you ever want to be something else? 

I would like to be a film composer. I think that would be a lot of fun. But honestly, wherever God takes me; I don’t want to limit my future by focusing on only one thing.

My dreams kept on changing up till four years ago. From the start, I used to want to be a gymnast (I can still do flips), then I wanted to be a stuntman, then an actor, then a film director. At one point I wanted to be a doctor because I liked dissecting things in biology class. I had a lot of stages haha… but finally, I centered in on composing. 

I’ve seen pictures of your flips. Someone is always nearby with a camera. What are you doing right now to chase your dream?

Trusting God. Composing. Living. Breathing. And more composing.

jon2-184x184Right now, I have a couple of short film possibilities. (Hopefully I’ll post the progress on the films on my blog.) I also have a couple of projects I am working on, which I’m going to keep a secret for a little bit longer. I’m also a senior at Georgia State University, and I will graduate Fall 2013. For my degree, which is music composition, I have a lot of music related things to do, so I will definitely be kept busy with that.  

Where can listeners find you online to see what you’re up to and to listen to your music?

I’ve got a website (jonathanmaiocco.com) and a blog (jonmmusic.blogspot.com) which is where you can see what I’m up to. Also, I have a Facebook page, or you can friend request me. I never use it, but here’s my Twitter https://twitter.com/JonathanMaiocco.

And here’s my SoundCloud, which is where you can hear some of my music: https://soundcloud.com/jon-m-2.

Thank you, Jon! It was so much fun to share you and your talents with others. Readers, following your dream can be challenging, but when you put in the time and hard work to learn about your passion, you can accomplish anything. Jon is proof of that!

If you want to help Jon out, download one or all of his songs from iTunes or Amazon, and post reviews for him in both places. The more reviews you have, whether you make music or write books, the more those websites will show your work to others.

AND– I’m giving away an MP3 download of Jon’s full Epic Music album! To enter, leave a comment below asking Jon a question or telling him which of his songs you like. Since this is a download, it’s open to the world! This is truly amazing music, guys. I love it. Giveaway ends March 30.

Thanks, Jon!  😆

 

 

31 Responses to “An Interview (and Music Giveaway) with Composer Jon Maiocco”

  1. Jenna C. says:

    Wow…really cool! I love the sound of your music! I play the flute, guitar and some of the piano 😀 Who are your favorite composers?

    • Hey Jenna! Thank you so much! I’ve always wanted to play the guitar, so that is very cool. And yes, flute and piano all the way haha…
      Favorite composers… oh gosh. I would have to first say James Newton Howard. Something about his music is just so… incredible. I love Michael Giacchino, Brian Tyler, Andrew Lockington (not a lot of people know him… but I love his style), Christophe Beck, Harry Gregson-Williams, John Powell, Thomas Newman… and yeah. I could go on and on. haha… (and if you’re wondering what classical composers I like, I really like Beethoven and Bach…)

  2. Abbi Hart says:

    I’m not usually one for instrumental music but your CD sounds really good! Keep up the good work!
    gatorade635(at)gmail(dot)com

  3. Garrett says:

    Love your Epic Music, Jon! I’m a big fan of that type of music, and follow a ton of artists with similar peices on youtube like Two Steps, Mark Petrie, etc.

    I’ve no idea how this Giveaway works, but sign me up!

    ~G
    ^_^

  4. Karin Neary says:

    Thanks for letting us know about Jon. His music is very cool!! I listened to the samples on Amazon, and I think I like “A Great Destiny” the best.

  5. Do you do commissions, Jon?

    • Hey Robert, sorry for the late response! (I saw your post on my Facebook page too…) At one point, I did do commissions. But with school and life and everything right now, I can’t. But thank you for asking!

  6. Victoria H.T. says:

    I’ve known about Jon’s music for a while. He’s a great composer. Awesome to see an interview with him on here. ^ ^ My favorite of his songs are “Will’s Father” and “Superhero”. They’re in the playlists I’ve made for the books I write. 😀

  7. Jon is the best. I couldn’t possibly like the guy more! I like all of his songs, but don’t enter me in that giveaway, as I already bought the full album on iTunes. 😉

  8. Not your typical question, but one your “I’m a senior at Georgia State” comment brought up, and a question I’ve
    been asking anyone and everyone lately…

    How did you decide which college was right for you?

    • GOOD QUESTION. I have a slightly simple answer: God.
      When applying to colleges, it was like casting seeds, just seeing what would happen. A lot of people pray that God would open doors for them. That’s great, but I prayed that He would close the doors He didn’t want me going through. Long story short, all the schools I might have been interested in (like Juilliard, NYU, etc…) I got straight rejections from. (All the other schools I didn’t necessarily care about I got accepted to, which was encouraging.) Georgia State made the most sense. It was close by, and God had already been doing some things to get me there. So, in the end, that’s where I went. I know that might not help. But hopefully He’ll point you in the right direction!

  9. Deborah S. Dahnim says:

    I LOVE Jon’s music!! I found out about it first from your trailers, Jill, and that music was TRULY epic! 😀 I especially loved the little flute melody at the end of the one for To Darkness Fled, I think it was. But all of the music in both was just magnificent. Besides that, my favorite has to be his song “Celtic”. It’s just… BREATHTAKING. I love it so much and have probably listened to it like a hundred times. <3 I listen to a lot of Celtic music and a lot of soundtracks and I have to say that Jon's music is up there with the very very best!!

    Question for Jon: I've never learned to read music, so I play by ear (pennywhistle and a bit of piano) and I was wondering what your thoughts on reading vs. playing by ear are, and if you can do both?

    • I just typed up a long comment, and it got deleted, so we’ll try this again haha…
      Thank you you so much! Very encouraging! Thank you for listening.
      Reading vs. playing by ear… Good question! I’ve never gotten that before. Hmm… well, let me first say that I can do both. But, I’m not a good sight-reader. (I actually used to only play by ear too.) I would say both have advantages and disadvantages. Being able to read music is great, because you can stretch your mind by learning new music, music you might not have been able to learn by ear. But learning music by ear is great, because it becomes so much more personal, and it’s really coming from inside you. (Sure, you could do that with printed music, but I find that a little harder.) Well… that’s my two cents.

  10. Jon’s music is awesome! He did the music for my book trailer too. 🙂

  11. Wow, Jon! Your music is awesome! I cannot pick a favorite! I love writing to movie soundtracks, and these are just as good!
    What is your favorite music composer? How do they inspire you?

    • Thank you so much Elizabeth!
      Favorite composer. James Newton Howard. Reasons? Hmm… all of his music sounds so different. Each soundtrack he does has so much thought put into it… if you listen to the soundtrack he did for Salt, and then listen to The Village, and then King Kong, and then The Water Horse, then Blood Diamond… they are all so good and so different. It shows how diverse he can be, which is a strength every film composer should have. He’s definitely my favorite. One thing he said I that love is, “I wish I had some great words of advice. The only advice I have ever been able to give anybody is to focus on writing music, and if you’re writing a movie score particularly, don’t worry about the picture. Just write great music and the rest will take care of itself.” BRILLIANT.

  12. Georgina says:

    I think what you’re doing with your music is so neat!

    I’ve listened to a lot of the songs on your blog and I don’t think I could pick a favorite. I just listened to 100 Cupboards, so right now I’d say I really like that. ;P

    Thanks, Mrs. Williamson, for hosting this giveaway! [I’ve been wanting “Epic Music” for a little while now. =) ]

  13. Hey, Jon! I love your music! More specifically, my favorite of your compositions is “Ever After (Celtic)”. 🙂 Enjoy listening to you!

  14. Emily says:

    I first looked up Jon’s music after hearing Jill Williamson say his name after every episode of the Blood of Kings podcast. 😉 I love listening to his album on Spotify and the other songs on SoundCloud. My favorite song…haha, is still the one that’s played for the BoK podcast, At Least You Know Who You Are. There’s just something about it that still gives me chills when the music builds in the middle. Probably cause it brings good memories of Achan and Vrell’s adventures. 🙂

    My question is, what are you working on now? Specifically musically, but whatever else might currently have your main focus. 🙂

    • Hey Emily,
      Sorry for the late reply.
      Right now, I am working on many things… I have a senior recital coming up soon, so I have to compose music for a string quartet, a brass quintet, a woodwind quintet, etc. (All acoustic music.) I am also working on Epic Music II, which I am very excited for. Along with that, I am working on a Celtic album, and a couple of short films. I think that’s about it… haha. Thanks for listening!

  15. Jill Williamson says:

    The winner of John’s album is Karin Neary! Congrats, Karin!

  16. Sarah Bryan says:

    Hey Jonathan, just wanted to say how captivated i am that you’re so dedicated to music. It inspires me to practice even harder every day on the piano (literally waking up super early, grabbing some coffee, and PRACTICING). I was just wondering… what does it take to become a champion like that?

  17. Sarah Bryan says:

    By the way, i’m 17 and getting ready to look into some colleges, any suggestions?

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