John-Allison Weiss is a traveling songwriter and performer with 20 years experience playing their heartfelt, autobiographical, guitar-driven pop songs for lovers of catchy sad songs worldwide.
A queer kid born April 13, 1987 in a bourgeois Detroit suburb and raised in rural Hall County Georgia, John-Allison Weiss has always been an outsider, but they never let that stop them from living their authentic truth and winning hearts in the process.
Weiss started making music and sharing it online in the early 2000s. At sixteen years old, influenced by unrequited love and internet counter-culture, they were a pioneering participant in the act of creating art on the internet. A budding songwriter fueled by teenage feelings, Weiss unabashedly posted their indie-folk pop-rock breakup songs to their public feeds in the early days of Myspace, Purevolume, YouTube, and Tumblr. They found lifelong fans across the globe while the internet was still a fresh, free place of expression. They used then-startup Kickstarter to fund their first full-length studio album ...Was Right All Along (2009), becoming the first musician on the platform to do so.
Meanwhile in the real world, Weiss was playing coffee shops and finishing up a BFA in graphic design, while secretly fully committing to making music forever. They moved from Athens, GA to New York City to join the fringes of a scene of legendary underground singer/songwriters in the Rockwood Music Hall circuit, including Bess Rogers, Jenny Owen Youngs, Allie Moss, Lelia Broussard, Greg Holden, and Ingrid Michaelson. In Brooklyn John-Allison began to discover the world outside the small town they grew up in. They embraced their queerness, coming out in an 'It Gets Better' video and going through the end of their first big gay relationship while writing and recording the powerpop breakup record that would define the next decade of their career: Say What You Mean (2013).
From 2009-2019 John-Allison toured relentlessly, from self-booked DIY tours to festivals in Europe. They shared the stage with everyone from Letters to Cleo to Lou Reed, who discovered Weiss and brought them along as the opening act and background singer on his European LuLu tour in 2012. Weiss paid their dues and racked up their cred, co-writing with legendary songwriters like Kevin Devine, Jenny Owen Youngs, and Tegan Quin of Tegan & Sara. They took their music internationally, touring the UK, Australia, and the US as the hand picked support act for The Front Bottoms, The Wonder Years, Mal Blum, Future Teens, Tim Kasher of Cursive and The Good Life, Max Bemis of Say Anything, Matt Pryor of The Get Up Kids, and so many more.
After moving to Los Angeles and subsequently signing a three-album recording contract with SideOneDummy Records, Weiss released their album New Love (2015) with high hopes for more music to come. Their dreams dissipated when the label folded suddenly in 2018, firing their staff and halting support for their artists, leaving Weiss and labelmates like Chris Farren and Kississippi with no funding for future releases.
For John-Allison Weiss, the letdown was at least well-timed. Changes were afoot and Johnny needed room to grow. After a decade in major cities Weiss followed a pipe dream and moved into their hand-me-down Jeep to escape back into rural America. They were unsure of their future in music, and they were starting a radical personal transformation that would last three years through a testosterone prescription, a vocal metamorphosis, a name change, a divorce, and a global pandemic.
Isolation brought introspection, a perceived impending apocalypse brought a new sense of urgency for authentic pursuits. A new era started and continues in the present day. For the last few years, JAW has focused on smaller shows, less time on tour, and the connective powers of singing sad songs no matter the crowd-size. They're writing, reflecting, and constantly dreaming up new ways to share what they're learning through their art and music in the cyberpunk future and IRL.
In January 2021 Weiss rented a remote cabin in so-called Nevada to record ideas for a new album, their first since everything had changed. Later that year with the support of their fanbase, they successfully raised the funding to independently make the record. They went into the studio that summer with SOMBEAR, alias of multi-instrumentalist and producer Bradley Hale (Now, Now, Alex Lahey, Chelsea Jade) to record The Long Way. Nearly a year later Weiss announced a partnership with Get Better Records and in February 2023, The Long Way was finally released.
The beginning. JAW plays bass in a pop punk band and a metal band in their hometown of Flowery Branch, GA. No real shows played. They start an acoustic duo with a friend and mostly play emo covers and songs JAW writes. This leads to eventual solo sets at open mics in Buford, GA.
JAW attends art school at University of Georgia. They play tons of shows in Athens, GA and Atlanta plus weekend shows in surrounding towns across the southeast. JAW books a couple DIY tours during this time by messaging coffee shops on MySpace and promoting on Facebook.
A kickstarter campaign to fund their EP goes early internet viral on Tumblr and JAW is recognized in outlets like the New York TImes and Wired for being on the starting end of this tech game changer. JAW also does a couple self booked tours with friends like Bess Rogers, Jenny Owen Youngs and Lelia Broussard: The Spring Break Forever Tour and the Quest For Glory Tour.
JAW moves to Brooklyn, NY where they live for three years. They play tons of shows in NYC and the surrounding cities with friends like Jenny Owen Youngs, Bess Rogers, Lelia Broussard, Field Mouse, A Great Big World, and Greg Holden. During this time they come out as gay and cut their hair into a cool mullet. Tours around this time included the self booked Forever Alone tour. This was the first time JAW got a taste of the solo road touring.
JAW runs another successful Kickstarter campaign, this time to fund their 2013 record Say What You Mean which they record in a literal closet with friend Chris Kuffner. The duo tours Europe opening for Lou Reed with JAW also singing in his backup band. After getting attention from Dan Campbell of The Wonder Years, JAW starts hanging around more folks in the "alt-press scene" (as they like to call it). During this time JAW plays Warped Tour twice on the acoustic stage. It was the best of times and the worst of times. JAW makes a big move to Los Angeles, California.
JAW signs to SideOneDummy records and releases a new album New Love produced by Bradley Hale and Forrest Kline. Things quiet down as JAW settles into a married life... but gender feelings are bubbling. JAW releases a song called Runaway that's co written with the legendary Tegan Quin, and does full-band tours in the UK and Australia.
JAW officially comes out as nonbinary and briefly identifies under the moniker A.W. (now defunct). SideOneDummy drops all of their artists and fires their employees. JAW is left without funding for a follow up to New Love. Switching gears, they book a DIY living room tour in late fall of 2018 and launch Lower Key Music in the process. JAW's song "Who We Are" is used as the theme for Cameron Esposito's podcast Queery.
The AWFC is born on Patreon, which later becomes J.A.W.S. Club after JAW officially changes their name to John-Allison Weiss. Music is a little stagnant as Weiss is focusing on gender. They take voice lessons with Allie Moss to navigate a changing voice. Touring as always, JAW hits the road with Hit Like A Girl for their last tour before the world changes.
The year starts strong with JAW releasing an EP from their new project Charlie Mtn. After all tours are canceled amidst the covid pandemic, JAW makes a decision to move into their Jeep and spend the year exploring the outdoors, camping, writing, and visiting friends. They deep dive into discovering themselves and what they want out of life: to write songs and share. This is also the year JAW loses touch with their parents over Black Lives Matter protests and begins to question their relationship to capitalism. Identifying as an artist becomes more important than ever.
In January JAW writes and records demos for a new album. In February they buy an old camper on craigslist and move in. With a battery and a solar panel they spend their time boondocking in the desert, or plugged in at friends places. A Global Event will get you reevaluating your life, and JAW decides it's time to pursue art and personal pleasure for a while. In the Spring JAW launches a fundraiser for an album and in May they drop in on friend and producer Bradley Hale to make it. JAW and SOMBEAR spend two weeks in the suburbs of Minneapolis recording Weiss's next full-length record, their first in six years.
JAW announces a partnership with Get Better Records and finally makes plans to release their new record. The music industry moves painfully slow and so Johnny spends the year living in their travel trailer with their cat, Mouse, pulling the rig on a nationwide route from California to Michigan to North Carolina to spend their time with friends and loved ones. All the while The Long Way is mixed, mastered, and readied for release in a world where algorithms and TikTok trends rule the way we hear music. The year's silver lining is a winter tour with Chris Pureka, reminding Weiss the importance of being a songwriter and storyteller.
In February 2023, The Long Way is released and immediately loved by JAW fans, new and old. JAW spends their spring and summer touring with Future Teens and Mal Blum, performing new songs with their new voice from their first album in eight years. In the fall, Future Teens join John-Allison Weiss as their backing band on a 10 year anniversary tour celebrating Say What You Mean.