Secondhand Serenade hit it big with "Fall For You," and frontman John Vesely is back with a brand new album, Hear Me Now (in stores now!). John visited the J-14 office to talk about the album, touring, and almost making it to the Summer Olympics!
J-14: Why did you decide to take your time putting out Hear Me Now?
Secondhand Serenade's Johh Vesely: It was important for me to do that because this isn't just my thing, it's [the fans] thing too -- it's just as much their project as it is mine. They deserve something that is really solid. There came a point where we were just about done with the record and we were slightly doubting whether or not we were done, and it's better to be safe than sorry, so we went back and I wrote and recorded a few more songs. I love how it is now. I loved it then, however, I am so thankful that we did go back to the drawing board because I came up with some pretty amazing songs since then and the record would not be the same without them.
J-14: Is Secondhand Serenade still just you or is it a full band now?
John: It's just me, but I take a band on tour. My drummer Tom [Breyfogle] helped co-produced a few of the new songs with me. They're are all my best friends.
J-14: Did you ever want to go by your name instead?
John: I don't ever wish I was John. I'm really happy with the moniker. People know it now which is kind of exciting -- people identify my music with it, and I think that's good. That's important.
J-14: Which song off Hear Me Now is the most personal to you?
John: "Something More" is actually a very personal song to me. I was in a bad place for a while and I wasn't really happy with who I was, and it's talking about the idea that there has to be something more that I'm doing all this stuff for. It kind of gives other people the thing to think about like, "Why am I doing this? Or am I just doing it?"
J-14: What's one thing you have to bring with you on tour?
John: I either bring a comforter or buy a down comforter. The bunks are actually surprisingly comfortable -- I personally enjoy falling asleep in the bus because it kind of rocks you to sleep -- but the comforters are polyester-filled, really crap comforters. So I just bring a down pillow and a down comforter, and it is so cozy in there. It is like a little bear cave but with comforters!
J-14: If you weren't performing, what would you be doing?
John: I had a few things to pick from -- singing kind of fell in my lap. I did tae-kwon-do for about ten years. I did a lot of competitions. The only reason I stopped was because there came a point when the studio I went to was like, "We want you to sign up for the 2000 Olympics and go to training camp." I thought about it for a second -- they gave me the forms and everything. I'd have to drop out of school, get a tutor there, get a GE, lose all my friends, hopefully make new ones, and be in this tae-kwon-do camp for two years in Colorado Springs. I was really good and did really well with sparring, [but] I wasn't ready to commit to anything for the rest of my life. I didn't get any nudges [from my parents], so I was like, "I think I'll just call it what it is. I've done it as far as I can do it comfortably." I had an Olympic chance, but I could have not gotten through to the actual Olympics and never had a top five single.
Photo: Courtesy of Emily Shur