Guitars get the girls

JP Hoe says he learned to play guitar to help him get a girlfriend

Winnipeg singer JP Hoe says sometimes he writes his songs after taking what he calls a “professional nap.”
Winnipeg singer JP Hoe says sometimes he writes his songs after taking what he calls a “professional nap.”

During his off time on tour, you’ll find JP Hoe watching Star Trek Generations.

This is just one of the quirky attributes that make the singer so admirably humble. Then he told me how he first started with music.

“In high school, I felt like I was shy and I knew I could sing, so it was a survival instinct,” Hoe said. “I was in an all-boys school and thought my best chance of finding a girlfriend was to be a singer.”

From there, it became a passion for Hoe.

“That’s what started everything ­— finding a guitar in my basement and spending hours trying to figure out how it worked. Then everything progressed in a real way,” he said.

Hoe’s initial strategy to attract girls with music flourished beyond his awkward teenage years into a career built upon creative genius.

More importantly, Hoe said, he wants to generate music that can touch his fans and experiment with originality.

The musician’s most recent LP, Mannequin, flirts with a medley of genres when you listen to it, and Hoe said he hopes listeners can identify with it.

“It still bleeds a little pop rock, acoustic in some way, and I like it, but it makes it a little trickier to explain. Once people hear it and if it speaks to them, then we’re good.”

When it comes to the inspiration behind his songs, the Winnipeg-bred indie artist has the ability to craft lyrics out of observing interesting people. But other times, Hoe said inspiration is born from piecing together recollections of vividly haunting dreams.

“A lot of songs happen after I take naps — I feel like it’s important to take a lot of professional naps and hope that a storyline comes out of it,” he said.

One of these songs is the first single Hoe ever released, entitled “Nothing’s Gonna Harm You.” Take one listen and the sound that you’ll hear oozes a transcendence of genres, laced with airy vocals and eclectic lyrics.

“We made a stop-motion animation film for it and I love getting to connect that to people,” Hoe said. “Some people may have also heard it on the radio and it’s just to fun to make people happy.”

While Hoe has traveled around the world and played everything from concert halls to small roadhouses in the US, he said that when it all comes down to it, the best part of his job is the avenue of expression.

“I hope that the freedom of the job works in unison with general success, so that when I’m 60, I can look back and be incredibly proud and happy of what we did.”

JP Hoe plays with Ben Caplan at the Mansion tonight at 9 p.m.

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