John Vesely is used to writing life’s sad songs. That’s not all of his stuff mind you, but that’s definitely how he got his start. The new record from Vesely's Secondhand Serenade might just change that. After all, it’s hard to write a song that wallows in misery when you’re the happiest you’ve been in years.
Catching up with Vesely recently, he was in Nashville putting the final touches on his new record. He wasn’t working in the studio this particular day. He was out jogging (Vesely has been on a health kick for the last year and a half) and he was on his way to get his allotted cheeseburger for the month (he’s committed, but not without his vices.)
“I’m happy with everything around me right now,” said Vesely as sirens flew by and the Nashville traffic roared behind him. “I’m happy with everything in my life right now. I took the past year to get really close to my kids. I traveled a lot in the past and that can cause some things. You don’t get to enjoy the little family things that everyone else does. We got to do regular family stuff this year because I took that time off. It’s been a great year and a great time and I’m in a great place to make music right now.
The new album is nearly complete. Vesely has to record vocals for three songs and then he’ll be finished. The first single, “Shake It Off” is already completely finished, and it will be released this week. Speaking about the new album, Vesely was extremely proud of the new music, especially considering that it’s a record that’s taken a long time to complete. There are two sides to the spectrum of making an album; some take days, others take months. Most of the time the amount of time that gets taken in the studio is dictated by outside factors. Because Vesely didn’t have to worry about picking up on a lot of tours or anything like that, he was able to take his time. When asked about the time crunch, (or lack thereof), Vesely said both are nice, but he preferred having some constraints so he didn’t get carried away in artist mode.
“I think there’s nice parts to both. It’s nice to have a deadline and say what’s done is done, because you can really never finish a track. Sometimes you just have to say it’s finished. I also think it’s nice to sit with it for awhile so you can really get out what you’re trying to do and what you’re trying to say with a song. There are good parts to both, but honestly I like having a deadline because otherwise I feel like I’m going around in circles.”
Secondhand Serenade fans hear two sides to Vesely’s music. There is the acoustic singer/songwriter music that he started out with, then there’s the full band music that he made a name for himself on radio with songs like “Fall For You.” Vesely says with the new record you can expect a lot of full band songs, but fans of the other side of John’s music won’t be disappointed either.
“It’s a lot of band stuff,” said Vesely. “We’re doing this cool thing though. It’s a lot of band songs, really a lot of upbeat and encouraging songs and we’re doing a lot of acoustic live videos with everything too. We’re filming these in the studio and we’re going to release those as well. They’re acoustic versions of the songs on the record and the record is going to be bundled with these videos and acoustic versions of these songs. So you’re going to get the best of both worlds with this, you get the acoustic stuff while getting the fully produced songs too.”
Vesely is happier than he’s ever been, he gets to do what he loves for a living and he got to spend quality time with who he loves over the past year and a half. His batteries have been recharged and he’s been reenergized with a new creative spirit. Give “Shake It Off” one listen and you’ll understand the new direction of the music and Vesely’s new energy. The Secondhand Serenade vocalist seemed hopeful that fans would get into the new music.
“I think people can relate to the sadder and more melancholy songs and that’s helpful for them. I have a few songs on this record that are a little like that. But I think it’s easier to relate to a song that pumps you up or is about some of the good things in life. A song that's about taking things on, not getting yourself worked up, enjoying life, and living in the moment. Those are really easy songs to latch onto because instantly, just with the feel of the song, it makes you happy. It makes you want to listen to it more. It makes you want to blast it in your car on a sunny summer day. I'm really hoping that the fans will accept it and not be bummed that I’m going in a different direction.”
The new single from Secondhand Serenade, “Shake It Off” comes out Tuesday, February 25th.