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Jonathan Monroe "Jonny" Craig (born March 26, 1986) is an American-Canadian singer and songwriter. He is currently working as a solo musician and as the lead vocalist for the band Slaves. He has been the lead vocalist for the bands Dance Gavin Dance, Emarosa, Ghost Runner on Third, and westerHALTS. As a solo artist, he has released one studio album, two EPs and a live album to date. He was also a part of the supergroup Isles & Glaciers. Craig possesses the vocal range of a baritenor and his distinct type of soul-based singing has earned him considerable acclaim.
Jonathan Monroe Craig was born in Abbotsford, British Columbia. In a further interview with the music blog Eat Yo Beats, Jonny said "my mom made me listen to tons of shit when I was kid, everything from Michael Bolton to some weird ass Christian rock bands" and also that it was this that became his main influence, rather than gospel music. Craig cites some of his early idols as Boyz II Men and New Found Glory. He was put into the school choir as a default elective but was ultimately kicked out. As a child, he says that he "had a hard time keeping out of trouble" and that "high school wasn't for him." He would explain later that that was the reason he left high school and attained his G.E.D, then focused on music full-time. "I just wanted an escape from a lot of the things when I was a child I guess. I just wanted to get away from a lot of the problems that I was dealing with at home and stuff", Craig states in an interview with KLSU radio as his reason for starting his path in music.
Beginnings as a musician (2000–2007)
Prior to forming his first band, Craig was auditioning for bands when entering high school in the United States in 2000, none of which he was accepted into. Craig then formed the band westerHALTS in 2000, a garage band from Tacoma, Washington. At age 15, Craig released his first known song with them titled "Change, Leisure, and Retirement" in 2001. In a recent AP Podcast he states that the band was "...just for something to pay for weed, something I played over the weekends." He then joined as the lead vocalist for Tacoma based pop punk band Ghost Runner on Third in 2002. Jonny Craig says that he met the guitarist at his secondary college. He received positive reviews with this band's debut EP, Speak Your Dreams, released on January 4, 2005. AllMusic stated that Craig was: "the band's secret weapon, a passionate vocalist. There's not a bad track to be found here, but Craig tends to outshine his bandmates throughout."
Early on in his career with Ghost Runner On Third it has been cited that overwhelming drug problems led to his departure, as told by Dance Gavin Dance in their old blog concerning Craig after he was kicked out of the band. Though Craig has denied the statements made, Dance Gavin Dance has not backed off from those remarks, which they explain was the reason for all the band's problems and partly for his former band Ghost Runner on Third. Dance Gavin Dance has also blamed Sean O'Sullivan's departure on Craig's behavior primarily, although there were other contributing factors. Despite their past differences, both past and present members of Dance Gavin Dance have since become friends. Consider the Thief (O'Sullivan's previous band), were also listed in Emarosa's Relativity album on the special thanks section of the booklet.
Dance Gavin Dance and Emarosa (2007–2012)
Jonny Craig's singing in Dance Gavin Dance's debut EP Whatever I Say Is Royal Ocean and debut full-length album, Downtown Battle Mountain, received positive reviews from critics. Allmusic stated that "co-frontman Jonny Craig's regularly hysterical yelping may change your mind forever."
In March 2007, it was explained that Jonny Craig came up with the name Dance Gavin Dance and had planned to name his previous band, "Ghost Runner On Third", by that name. After being kicked out of Dance Gavin Dance after the "Saints and Sinners Festival" in New Jersey, Jonny Craig immediately filled in for A Skylit Drive's Lead Vocalist Jordan Blake while he was ill. The band said at shows, and on their website, that he was not the new lead singer and the situation would only be temporary. It had been only two weeks since he quit Dance Gavin Dance in which he joined Emarosa who was left without a lead singer.
On August 18, 2010, Dance Gavin Dance parted ways with vocalist Kurt Travis and Jonny Craig, along with other original vocalist, Jon Mess, returned to the band to record a new album. The reunited lineup will also embark on a headlining run next spring. Craig was to remain in Emarosa as well.
The rapper Game and DJ Skee sampled Craig's vocals on the song "Heels & Dresses" from their Break Lights mixtape album, which comes from the song "The Robot With Human Hair Pt. 1." Rapper Bizzy Bone also sampled Craig's vocals on the song "Bottled Up Like Smoke" from his Crossover EP and Crossroads album.
On April 11, 2011, Emarosa publicly announced that Jonny Craig would no longer be a member of the group. According to a statement made by the band, "This decision has been a hard one to make, but we feel it is in the best interest for the band going forward." "Jonny Craig" was the top trending topic on Twitter the day of the announcement.
On August 13, 2012, Jonny Craig was "kicked out" of Dance Gavin Dance yet again for reasons pertaining to Craig being "publicly scolded by the owner of Sumerian Records for multiple offenses". The news surfaced after Jonny released a statement on his personal Twitter.
Isles & Glaciers (2008–2010)
In early September 2008, Chiodos and Cinematic Sunrise vocalist Craig Owens, announced that both he and Jonny Craig would be recording an EP record by the end of the year, also mentioning Vic Fuentes and others.
On December 15, 2008, Alternative Press officially announced and revealed the name and lineup of this new project, Isles & Glaciers. The band's first EP, The Hearts of Lonely People, was produced by Casey Bates in Seattle, Washington, was reworked on April 2009 in Michigan and was released March 9, 2010.
A tweet reading in part "...and people wonder why we won't do another I & G record." was sent out by Craig Owens in 2011, as the MacBook scandal was breaking. This suggests that Isles & Glaciers will be unlikely to release any further albums, at least with a lineup that includes Jonny Craig.
Jonny Craig talked about Isles and Glaciers in an interview stating he would be willing to participate in making a new record, but suspects tension with what he calls, "the more popular people in the group".
Solo work (2009–2014)
Jonny Craig released his debut solo album A Dream Is a Question You Don't Know How to Answer on August 18, 2009, through Rise Records. This is the first individual artist on the label. For promotional purposes he took press photos for the release in late 2009 with photographer Gage Young in Orlando, Florida. He further released three songs on his Myspace profile from the solo album, titled; "Istillfeelher III", "Children of Divorce" and "7 AM, 2 Bottles And The Wrong Road". Craig went on his first solo tour from November through December, supporting acts AFI, Cinematic Sunrise, and then headlining with support from Tides of Man and Sleeping With Sirens. He was headlining a tour with support from Tides of Man and Eye Alaska and will be playing The Bamboozle festival and SXSW.
Craig headlined the "White Boys With Soul" tour with Fight Fair, Breathe Electric, Mod Sun, and The Divine. Craig has also recently revealed that he is recording another solo album. In an interview at Warped Tour with MindEqualsBlown.net, Craig revealed he's attempting to work with Alex Deleon of The Cab on a B-side from his solo album. Craig announced on January 16, 2011 that he would be taking an indefinite hiatus to "pursue the filming of his documentary", stating that all his currently planned records and tours would be canceled. He later added that he would play out the tours with Dance Gavin Dance and Emarosa. On January 21, 2011, Craig announced that he would not actually be taking this hiatus, stating: "hate me all you want people I love what i do and im great at it. IM NEVER GONNA STOP. [sic]" He later stated that he was going to quit because he had been touring and recording "NON STOP" for seven years, and stated "Now i know there's nothing out in the world for me".
Craig was featured in Alternative Press's issue #288 that was released June 5, 2012.
In November 2012, somebody hacked Craig's personal e-mail that contained some demos that circulated on the internet; Craig stated the leaked material will not be on his upcoming solo EP. From Craig's personal Twitter page: "don't trip the songs that leaked are not what my album is going to sound like. that was me just fucking around with some stuff."
Craig set up an account on Indiegogo where fans donated money to produce Craigs upcoming EP. He also confirmed in a recent interview that he has bought out his contract with Rise Records. He released his solo EP, Find What You Love and Let It Kill You, on September 24, 2013, as an independent release.
On November 26, 2013 Jonny has released the Special Edition of Find What You Love And Let It Kill You. The Special Edition includes a new song, which features two people that paid to be on the album from the Indiegogo campaign. He has also released a new song, "Dirty Christmas" which is available also on November 26, 2013. In an interview with rockforevernagazine, Jonny has said he wants to do "maybe one or two more tours(before recording), with me as like a third spot... Maybe a Circa tour?" He also said that his new second album may be coming out next year. He also has stated him and Kyle Lucas are making an album together. On January 15, Jonny stated he was starting a new band. The following day, he tweeted that the band's name would be Slaves. According to Under the Gun Review, along with Craig as lead vocalist, Slaves will consist of guitarists Jason Mays, Alex Lyman, and Christopher Kim, drummer Tai Wright, and bassist Colin Vieira.
Artery Recordings have announced the signing of Jonny Craig's new band, Slaves, which also features members Alex Lyman and Christopher Kim (Hearts & Hands) with Tai Wright (Four Letter Lie). The band have released their debut album in the summer of 2014 via Artery. They've released a short video trailer, which features clips of the new music. The band's new album is titled Through Art We Are All Equals, and was released June 24, 2014 via Artery Recordings. The album features guest vocals from Kyle Lucas, Tyler Carter of Issues and Vic Fuentes of Pierce The Veil. It's lead single "The Fire Down Below" premiered April 22, 2014.
In early 2015, Craig released the albums The Blueprint For Going In Circles, in collaboration with singer-songwriter Kyle Lucas, and The Le Cube Sessions, respectively.
Vocal ability and influences
Craig's voice has been compared to that of Christina Aguilera. The X Factor Australia season 2 runner-up, Sally Chatfield, has cited Craig as her main musical influence and inspiration.
In an interview, Craig proceeded to describe himself as an atheist with a Christian background especially in music. He states that all of his music is soulful and has some kind of meaning mainly because his music career began as a child singing gospel music with his church/school. Jonny Craig gives all credit for his musical talent to his grandmother (Ruth Lyons) who he says, "taught me everything I know about music, she was super Christian, super gospel. Her husband was a preacher. She taught me everything I know about music and despite the fact that I may not believe in her beliefs, I believe in what she taught me."
Craig is inspired by soul music, mainly the artists Aretha Franklin, Boyz II Men, and Craig David. He has also mentioned Motown acts and the band Mewithoutyou as influences. Craig has performed live covers of the songs "Cry Me a River" by Justin Timberlake, "Fuck You" by Cee Lo Green, and "Never Gonna Be Alone" by Nickelback.
Hollywood Music Magazine stated of Craig, "The guy's a legend and if you've yet to hear him sing you have been missing out."
Internet scam and drug-related issues
In February 2011, several of Craig's fans accused him of being involved in an internet scam. According to the alleged victims, Craig would claim to be selling a used MacBook through his Twitter account. After accepting an online payment on average between US$600 and $800 for the product from at least 16 individuals, Craig was reported to have discontinued communication with the buyers, and no MacBooks were ever distributed. He initially denied the accusations and claimed that his Twitter had been hacked and he had no involvement. However, the following week it was announced that Craig had dropped off his current tour in Emarosa with Chiodos to enter detox in order to treat his ongoing battles with heroin addiction. Rise Records and the Artery Foundation assumed financial responsibility for the internet scam and intend to reimburse anyone who had been victimized. Tilian Pearson, formerly of Tides of Man, substituted for Craig during his absence from Emarosa. A public apology was issued after his detox treatment was completed on March 8, 2011.
In October 2011, Craig was jailed for two counts of possession of narcotics, two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, and one count of failure to appear on a felony charge with bail set at US$15,000. As a result of this incident, Dance Gavin Dance cancelled their upcoming tour and went on hiatus. Craig was released from jail a few weeks later and is scheduled to enter a court-ordered rehabilitation facility. His follow-up hearing was scheduled for April 30, 2012. Dance Gavin Dance went on with their tour as planned but without Craig. He completed a 30 day court-ordered detox and was released March 30, 2012.
On April 2, 2014, Craig was accused of using narcotics again by an ex-girlfriend. Craig addressed the issue saying, "Just woke up to a nice surprise from the ex so I'm headed right down to the office to prove to you guys without a doubt im not using and that those videos are old. She's crossed a line and needs to get it through her head that this isn't the way you deal with someone not loving you anymore. So let's go! I have nothing to hide".