When the Sandy Hook tragedy hit last December, the country was shocked and saddened. Many of us felt a sense of helplessness and anger, common feelings when something so inexplicably terrible happens. Such was the case for accomplished jazz musician and singer-songwriter Jonus Preston. Preston, who was usually consumed with exploring technique and precision as a jazz musician, redirected his focus on expressing his pent-up emotions on the tragedy. Out came “Tears In Vain,” a haunting and honest song with a heartfelt message. The song is beautiful with Preston’s sound being reminiscent of Jeff Buckley or John Mayer.
Aside from the song providing listeners with a sense of comfort and catharsis, Preston is also truly making a difference by contributing proceeds from the sale of “Tears In Vain” to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. The nonprofit is dedicated to creating a safer America by leading on policy and programs that aim to dramatically reduce the number of gun deaths and injuries. The single is currently available through a partnership with the cause marketing platform Dympol.
I was lucky enough to catch up with Jonus and ask him a few questions about “Tears in Vain,” which you can read below:
Q: There are several charities devoted to campaigning against gun violence. What drew you to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence?
A: I’m glad to see that there are many more charities devoted to this cause. Personally, I feel the Brady Campaign has a lot of positive recognition from not only the public but to the people in legislation, due to the 30 plus years they have been campaigning for stricter guns laws. When people donate money to a cause they want to be sure their money is going to be spent responsibly. I feel confident giving the proceeds from “Tears In Vain” to the Brady Campaign, knowing that their efforts will not be compromised.
Q: What was the song writing process like for “Tears in Vain”?
A: If someone told me, “Hey Jonus, write a song about Sandy Hook and how gun violence is plaguing this country…” I honestly wouldn’t be able to do it. I don’t make a habit of writing political songs. I’m not a “soap-box” kind of guy. This may sound cliché, but writing “Tears In Vain” was a very honest process. I didn’t contrive anything; it felt like one stroke of a paint brush and it was done. Sometimes, song writing can be painful and frustrating but writing “Tears In Vain” was practically therapy. Music usually is the best kind.
Q: If you could describe the feeling of “Tears in Vain” in one word, what would it be?
A: Honest. A lot of people would not agree with the message, and I’ve received many angry emails to that affect. I’m glad to evoke a response like that from a listener. Many people have sent me messages of encouragement and I am very grateful to hear their kind words. Either way, music has a profound way of reaching people and I only hope and pray that we will see a day where gun violence like this only exists in the movies and not in our children’s schools. That way I can get off my soap-box and write about something fun, like surfing.