Toronto-based alt-pop/rock songwriter Jon Stancer has announced the forthcoming release of In Light Of, his impressionistic and achingly beautiful new EP, out January 21.

Check out the EP’s latest single “These Arms (Won’t Let You Go)” below:

The album’s lead track, the tense and moody, “These Arms (Won’t Let You Go),” features a dynamic instrumental makeup of lulling piano and ambient textures contrasted with rugged beats and richly emotive harmonies. Stancer’s vocals are tender and nostalgic, pining for the loss of his children’s innocence years as they grow into independent young adults. “I did for you, all I can do,” he sings. “You’ll figure it out.”

The track is the second single Stancer has shared from the forthcoming EP. It follows “This Cannot Wait (Until Tomorrow),” a “poignant plea to act fast on climate change,” which was released along with a very startling and provocative video, back in August.

Stancer spent his 20s performing in various guises and contexts both as an in-demand sideman, and an original artist. For several years that followed, he was making music privately, content to set aside professional pursuits to focus on his young family. In 2017, he started producing home demos and discovered a rebooted music industry brimming with refreshing opportunities for indie musicians. In Light Of is his second release as a solo artist and a profound entry in this new era of unbridled creativity, showcasing an evolution in songwriting and production.

Read on for an interview with Jon Stancer below.

The bio for your new EP describes you as an “observer-empath,” where you chronicle carnage by conveying feelings and observations on the people around you and the world at large. Would it be accurate then, to describe this new EP as a therapeutic practice, a way for you as a songwriter and performer to interpolate and process the difficult events of the last two years?

Definitely. I can be emotionally closed off at the best of times. And I’ve always used music and songwriting as a vessel to express certain thoughts, feelings or perspectives that I might otherwise struggle with or perhaps, not even try to relate.

When the world just sort of stopped and things began to feel quite dark, I was fortunate to have an outlet to keep me from completely shutting down, because I easily could have. Writing and working on the record enabled me to collect myself, gather my thoughts and vent, as well as collaborate with good, talented and supportive people, and create something…

There’s a clear socio-political dimension to tracks like “One Six” and “A Few Degrees of Adjustment.” Was it a conscious decision for you to tackle these topics at the beginning of a songwriting session, or is it more of an organic stream-of-consciousness that gradually coheres into a singular idea/theme?

I think maybe it’s a combination. I’ll have concepts, lyric ideas or actual lines and phrases rolling around in my head for weeks and months, or in notes… Some of these will become the basis for, or find their way into songs. I rarely sit down with a pre-conceived plan to write about something specific. But, I have this little trove of possibilities to draw from. I was completely fucking outraged by the insurrection. And I was also totally fascinated by it. It was probably inevitable that I would wind up writing something around that. But it wasn’t a conscious choice. The first couple of lines in what became “One.Six”… I just thought it was a good opening lyric. I didn’t really know where it was going.

Despite the difficult subject matter that influenced the EP, there’s an upbeat wistfulness and glimmer of hope that acts as an undercurrent to many of the compositions. How important was it for you to contrast the EP’s lyrical content with differing instrumental approaches?

That’s truly very nice to hear. I suppose some of the subject matter could have rendered a much darker sounding record, but that’s not me. I am mostly, an optimist. I believe there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, however hard to find. The music is meant to reflect that. I’m pleased that comes through.

How do you see your progression as an artist from 2017’s For The Birds?

I think I’ve evolved in most aspects of what I do—as a writer, especially. I don’t really consider that first record. It was a regurgitation of old ideas and contained several songs that had been written years before. I don’t view it as a starting point, but rather, as an ending to something else. I didn’t really feel in my element making that record. I think this new one presents a much clearer, more honest reflection of myself as an artist.

Given the state of the world and the music industry over the last few years, what’s next for you? What can fans expect for 2022 and beyond?

At some point, I hope another record. When? I don’t really know. Maybe next year. Possibly a show here and there? We’ll see. I expect to be active. Exactly in what form or format, is to be determined.

Preorder the In Light Of EP here.

Follow Jon Stancer on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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