The escapist, feel-good pop style of Toby Johnson’s latest single ‘California’ gave the singer-songwriter a fresh impetus. He earned a new round of radio play courtesy of BBC Introducing, while both Spotify and Apple Music helped him build upon an early career tally of 15 million streams with a range of playlist support. Most recently, the track’s official video was launched alongside a New Noise profile courtesy of Wonderland.
Next for Toby comes today’s release of his brand new single ‘Plot Twist’. Both ‘Plot Twist’ and ‘California’ will feature on his upcoming EP ‘Chaos’, which follows on 5th November via Mahogany Records.
After using California as a metaphor for an idealised relationship, ‘Plot Twist’ finds Toby developing that style of lyricism further. It’s a whole-hearted expression of optimism, in which he dreams of how a relationship and their accompanying careers will unfold in the future. He believes that they’ll get there in time, but the real magic is the surprise of what’s to come, of never being able to anticipate the plot twist. As he sings to a backdrop of warm acoustic guitars and swooning vocal harmonies, “As the lights come on, are they crying as the final credit rolls?”
Toby says, “I wanted to tell a story of an uncertain relationship and place the narrative in the setting of a theatre premiere. During the writing process I wanted the song to paint this picture of positivity but later introducing the ‘plot twist’ element in a sense that created a traditional cliff hanger. The plot twist that I cant bare to watch, as thought I don’t even know the outcome myself and cant bare to watch it unfold. I wrote the majority of the song in my home studio in Lincolnshire. However during the pre production stage, Jonathan Quarmby and myself (Producer and writer) implemented a level of uncertainty into the narrative.”
Listen to ‘Plot Twist’ – BELOW:
‘Chaos’ will be Toby’s first EP release in over two years. The EP will be completed by two new songs: the bigger, more dramatic title track and the upbeat, live folk-rock feel of the closing song ‘Lost’. The four songs include collaborations with Jonathan Quarmby (Lewis Capaldi, Tom Walker, James Arthur) and Leo Stannard (KC Lights, Camelphat).
Toby adds, “With ‘Chaos’ I wanted to take people on a journey through my mindset over the past year or so. I think a lot of my inspiration for this EP came, subconsciously, from the uncertainties of lockdown. From mourning love and losing my mind, too Feeling lost but knowing that someday I’ll find my way again. Happiness for us all comes and goes but as the clouds clear I hope that you can find a little bit of peace in this EP.”
Toby Johnson cites Nick Drake, Passenger and Paul Simon as his key influences, but his three EPs to date use their timeless songwriting as the roots for a style that moves freely between pop, rock, folk and a little soul. After tours with Jack Savoretti and Dotan plus airplay from Radio 2, Toby is now putting more focus on the pop elements of the singer-songwriter tradition, creating a sound that can take him to a much broader audience.