It’s easy for a surfer to lose focus and fall into the steady pull of the crashing waves, and it’s easy for a musician to forget where they came from under the glaring lights, before a sea of adoring fans screaming their name. On a surfboard or on a stage, the ground is made of different matter, and truth defers to the engulfing chaos. Jon Foreman has treaded these waters for nearly 20 years, moored by the truth he carries in his bones.
Back in 1996, he started his music career heading an unassuming San Diego-based band, now known all over the world as the multi-platinum Grammy-winning alt-rock group Switchfoot. A lifelong quest for divine answers translated effortlessly through Jon’s gritty vocals, which mediated between a lost self and an unseen higher power. Echoing an early oughts American existential crisis of faith, his spiritually-oriented rock band tapped into the cultural zeitgeist, and endured as defining sound-makers for a generation filled with unanswerable questions of their own. He later went on to form a long-term collaboration with Sean Watkins, releasing their first home-brewed collection of love ballads in 2009 under the name Fiction Family.
A devout disciple of rock & roll, Jon was intent on tapping into the sacred space from where his words flow to find its purest expression. When the venue empties at the end of the night, and when the tide drops low at sunset, whether you’re an internationally renowned rockstar, or one man a few hundred meters into the Pacific Ocean, all that remains is you and your instrument, and truth inevitably returns with the silence. In the death of the day, the unanswered questions coalesce into the raw matter of tomorrow. In the place between sets and sleep, he discovered what would become a foray into a solo project.
On Sunlight, Jon surrenders to the wipe-outs of an unpredictable world, articulating in the dappled harmony of his vocals and acoustic guitar, the feeling of regaining bearings under saltwater, and floating back up towards the sun. Answers once forcefully demanded yield to the peaceful acceptance of the unknown. “In songs you can have all these metaphors to hide behind, but there’s a strength in honesty that can’t be found in cynicism or detaching from an emotional element.”
Born from solitary introspection, then opened to the world, The Wonderlands’ 24 tracks blossom with the diverse yet cohesive contributions of 24 different producers, each interpreting the meaning of Jon’s vocals through their own instrumental vision.
“Through song, I’m trying to explore the physical space of music. I wanted to create a place that would exist only when you press play; a place of light and shadows, tension and release, things that you know and things that you don’t know. It’s incredible that you can create a mood, almost a structure of feeling. All 24 songs will correspond with different moods of the day. At the end I’m going to do 25 concerts in 24 hours.”
Jon’s collection is his sanctuary where questions don’t need answers, where money doesn’t matter and translating inner truth into song is an end in itself.