Kirkwood’s got talent

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Julia Knoll

Music has been Jonah Roy’s passion and drive since he was in kindergarten. With the support of his friends, other musicians, and his mom, his dream to make and produce his own music is coming to life. 

For KHS senior Jonah Roy, childhood dreams are becoming a reality. 

Roy has been playing the guitar on his own at the age of 5. When he was 9, Roy was writing music for a teen rock band, Million Hits, who performed at venues such as the Chesterfield Amphitheater and Cicero’s in the Loop. At 10, his original song “Surrender to the Power of Rock and Roll” was legally copyrighted and released on Spotify and Apple Music. Roy’s stage presence was undeniable, his mother Johanna Kittner explained, and growing up he didn’t shy away from expressing his love for music.

“[When Jonah was 8] we went to Best Buy [to look at pianos]. I hear some noise come over from the music station and it was some kid saying ‘Check, one, two, check, one, two.’ I look over and Jonah had pulled the mic over and sat down at the keyboard. He drew a crowd. He sat down and played Imagine by John Lennon,” Kittner said.

Surrounding himself with vibrant crowds and the booming music industry at a young age prepared Roy for the experiences that his music would bring him in the future. When Roy was 15, he released his first solo song on SoundCloud.

“I just released it and two people liked it and that was the most insane feeling in the world,” Roy said. “At first that was the biggest thing ever, and during the beginning age getting 100 views on the song was my drive. That was my big moment.” 

At first that was the biggest thing ever, and during the beginning age getting 100 views on the song was my drive. That was my big moment.”

— Jonah Roy

Roy currently has three singles released on all streaming platforms: “Snow,” “Goodbye” and “Movement.”  He collaborates with other young St. Louis artists such as Pac with the Guac, along with KHS alumni Joanna Serenko and Jake Culbertson (also known as Jackwoods), both of whom he featured with on the song “Better Off” from Jake Culbertson’s most recent album “The Architect.” 

“We have a really good mutual respect for each other. Whenever we’re together it’s just fun. We have a lot of chemistry and everything he does I’m like ‘Heck yes!’” Culbertson said. “We just love working with each other because we both love what each other do.”

Much like Roy himself, his songs fit their own genre; a clever mix of his self-proclaimed influences Kevin Abstract, John Lennon, Kanye West and any other artist his friends are currently interested in.

 “[I’ll just be] sitting on my bed going through Instagram and I see something with an artist like Tyler, Kanye or Jaden and I just get inspired,” Roy said. “[I know] I need to make a song right now. So, I just go to my laptop, open up a new project and either start on my piano or guitar and it just builds from there.” 

Aside from his own songs, Roy covered songs by artists of a similar genre including Rex Orange County’s “Sunflower” and Frank Ocean’s “Self Control.” Earlier this year, Roy released his first full-length album titled he produced and created with Culbertson, titled “Carpe Diem.” Described as a mix of indie, alternative, rap and a hint of Ed Sheeran, Roy said his new album is something that listeners have never heard before.  

Since he was in kindergarten, music has been Roy’s passion and drive. With the support of his friends, other musicians, and his mom, his dream to make and produce his own music is coming to life. 

“When [Jonah] was around 7 or 8, he told me: ‘This is what I want to do for the rest of my life,’” Kittner said. “Music makes him so happy. He’s on this happy highway and the music just comes to him.” 

Kirkwood’s got talent, and his name is Jonah Roy.

Check out Jonah Roy’s music on Spotify or Apple Music