INTERVIEW: Jonah Wilson. The artist behind popular “Raider Nation.”
I woke up this morning with a link in my inbox to a YouTube video from one of my friends. “You have to check this out” was all the message said. After clicking through, I was taken to a video titled “Raider Nation” and the beat from Wiz Khalifa’s “Black and Yellow” started playing. Within seconds, I was listening to one of the coolest remixes of “Black and Yellow” I had heard since Lil Wayne’s “Green and Yellow” for the Super Bowl. With over 700 plays in just 24 hours, I did some searching and finally found the Facebook profile of the account, which uploaded the video.
Meet Jonah Wilson. An alumnus of Mount Union and former football player, I asked him if he would be willing to do an interview with me about his song and also get us a link to the MP3 file for download. He enthusiastically agreed to both and I spent a couple hours messaging him with questions and reading his answers. Read on to see where Jonah got the inspiration for the track from, who his collaborator was and what he plans to do next! I’ll put the video and link to the MP3 after the interview. Enjoy!
UMU: Hi, Jonah. Thanks for agreeing to this interview about your video/music track “Purple Nation.” At almost 700 views on YouTube and being shared all over Facebook, I think we can say you have a hit on your hands. Can you give us the backstory to how you came up with the idea or were inspired to remix “Black and Yellow” with a purple twist?
JW: I am a Mount Union alumnus and former football player, so the song was inspired by my own personal experiences with Mount Union. Me and my best friend, VT, who collaborated with me on the song, planned to do a resin for Mount and it actually fell together in about two days after we started writing it.
UMU: I think the track gained a lot coming from someone who was on the football team and went to Mount; it added that authenticity factor. What about your collaborator VT, does he have ties back to Mount Union?
JW: He went to high school with me and has been my friend since my sophomore year at Copley, but no ties to Mount Union. He has been on campus and experienced the Raider experience, but no actual ties to the school.
UMU: You mentioned it took two days to put the track together after you started writing it. One of my favorite lyrics is “this is Mount Union / all we do is win / we at home on the road / yea we moving in.” Judging from how well this song came together, I’m guessing this isn’t the first time you’ve both came up with lyrics before. What was the actual writing process like? Any writers block, or did it all come pretty easy?
JW: In fact, we just started writing and making music about two months ago or so and we haven’t hit writers block or a proverbial wall yet. The writing process for this particular song was strange. Neither one of us had planned it. I was at home and decided to just record the chorus, so that took about 20 minutes to write and record. That night, Versean (VT) stopped by and listened to it and loved it, so he went home and came back the next day after he finished the middle verse. I wrote the first and third verse the same day, and we recorded and edited the second day. The rest is history. It all came easy to me because everything I talked about I’ve actually been a part of and it came easy to him because there is just so much history with Mount Union.
UMU: That’s really impressive for just two days of work. After you had finally finished, did you share it with your friends privately or did you just put it up on YouTube and let the Internet do the rest?
JW: After I wrote the chorus and recorded it, I sent a snippet of it to a few close friends and that was Wednesday. That Thursday, we finished the song and I was visiting a few alumni and coaches at Mount so I brought the finished song and surprised them with it because they all wanted to hear it after I sent them the teaser. That night they ended playing the song a few times at the bar stopped in. After I saw how excited people were about it I ended up putting it online Friday around noon.
UMU: It seems to be doing pretty well with the online audience as well with over 700 plays and no signs of stopping. Now for the question I’ve been most looking forward to: any future songs planned you want to tease for our readers?
JW: Haha, we have a lot planned for some music finished already. And if Mount Union keeps showing love, Raider Nation part two will definitely be a priority!
UMU: Sounds good! Now to wrap up this interview, I’ve already provided our readers with the link to the YouTube video, but do you have any plans to put up a link to the MP3 file for us to download to our computers and iPods?
JW: Absolutely, I’m currently trying to figure out the best way to put a link in the description of the YouTube video for download so by the end of today [April 30] it will be up and available for download!
UMU: Excellent, I know a lot of people will throw this into their warmup playlist! Thank you again, Jonah, for doing this interview with me. I know our readers appreciate the insight into the making of “Raider Nation” and we all look forward to your next tracks!
JW: Thank you.
I would just like to thank Jonah again for doing this interview and be sure to check out the video on YouTube and download the MP3 today!