When he’s not working as a wedding singer, Boston resident Emmanuel Janvier, aka JonVair, writes musical poetry and films stunning visuals as accompaniment. A project that’s been 2 years in progress, JonVair was inspired to travel down a more non-traditional path of performing music by creating something like a short film series of his life—the first of which for the edgy, R&B/pop track “Poison” has just been released..
JonVair instills a sense of tension between the listener and their demons, speaking in a hushed tone like he has a secret, yet a quiet revelation: “My love is spreading through like wildfire / This is my poison.” Though a pleading song in nature, “Poison” is a withdrawn meditation on human suffering, and JonVair wants to represent the voices of those who have their own struggles. “I believe that there’s power in art”, he said in an interview. “And this says, ‘Let’s get through this together and feel each other’s pain.’”
“Poison”, at its roots, is a soulful R&B track with a gothic twist. Between bass thrums and gentle piano melodies, JonVair extends his full vocal range (which spans impressively far with a heavenly vibrato), and manipulates his voice to achieve a passionate contemplation in the midst of becoming self-actualized. The track is a smooth confessional, complemented by heavy, flashy noir visuals that represent a sense of abandonment.
The “Poison” video shows JonVair in the midst of snowfall, face obscured by a black hood, while disjointed, quick cuts of police in riot gear, black clouds, wild animals, and error signals are flashed at the viewer to create a sense of discomfort and questioning. JonVair is in a state of discomfort himself in the video, crouching in the snowfall and clutching his face, wrestling with his inner demons. During my interview with JonVair, we chatted about how some of these demons inspired his songwriting.
A former pastor, JonVair explained, “I was always told what I could and could not do, which made me reassess my entire life. I struggled with being religious, and always felt like there was something I was doing wrong.” The lyrics “I’m stuck in the motion” and “I need to get away from you” he says are “about the struggle of being a human and peoples’ expectations of you.”
Music brought out in JonVair a much-desired need to express his own strengths, frustrations, and pain. “I didn’t know I was a writer until I felt pain”, he related. “I bleed out my struggles and allow pain to guide them .”
Look out for a 6-track EP, The Rusted Crown, from JonVair due to be released this summer (and as an added bonus, short poems will serve as interludes in between songs). In the meantime, check out “Poison”, his new track “Lost”, and follow his Facebook page.