Tragedy meets trajectory

A fateful brain injury sends Jon Davis down a new career path

Davis has an varied background in musical theatre and visual art.
Davis has an varied background in musical theatre and visual art.
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It takes a certain type of person to make a serious head injury positive. Jon Davis, a Montreal-based singer-songwriter and artist, did just that.

In 2006, after two years as the lead role in a Canadian musical theatre production Till We Meet Again, Davis suffered an accident that left him unable to grace the stage. He was forced to bow out of his role.

He spent six months of intensive recovery putting together his debut album Golden Hue which features a song inspired by the event itself, “Traumatic Head Injury.”

Davis said he’d been struggling with a hard decision between remaining in a successful musical theatre career or pursuing music, which was where his passions truly were.

For him, a potentially negative situation became a blessing in disguise.

“I started working on my album, which is what I really wanted to do anyways,” Davis said. “It forced me to do it because it was the only thing I could do.”

Davis, whose first entrance into the professional art scene began with a college diploma in fine arts, has broken the boundaries between a painter’s canvas and a pianist’s hands with his second and most recent album, Open Shore.

His well-rounded background, from classically-trained musician to fine arts graduate, shines through in this 11-track album.

The emotional depth in his music makes it clear why his personal musical muses are Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake.

For this musician, assembling an album is much like the composition of a painting, in which the colours and textures work off each other, not unlike the songs that make an album.

“I was taught to look at artwork visually … to get a visual composition that made sense,” he said. “I think I transferred that into music when I started doing music.”

Davis isn’t new to Kingston. He’s played at The Mansion four times and participated in their Indie Lounge Series.

This is, however, his first time co-headlining, which he’ll be doing alongside Spencer Evans.

While he thinks in colour, he also lives in the moment.

“I’m not making a lot of money as a musician and maybe I could be screwed in five years as a result,” he said. “It doesn’t matter because right now is good. That’s what’s important.”

Jon Davis will performing on June 26 at The Mansion.

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