If you were to ask Jamison Murphy when exactly he embarked on his debut release The After, he might say he began the writing process in his hometown of Lakeville, Minnesota, during the winter of 2010. He might tell you it was actually a few years before that, when he formed the now-retired duo Blue Sky Canopy with Brian Johnson, still his best friend and guitar player. The songs may have been born out of the two full-length albums they released together, penned in parking lots during the brief Midwest tours they held between college years at St. John’s University, or pieced together from the frantic shadows of a Vegas hotel room during their fifth-season America’s Got Talent run. Maybe the seeds were planted as Jamison taught himself drums, piano, and guitar throughout his teenage years—or subtly inspired by the film scores his dad used to play for him as a child.
Regardless, if there’s a normal path to take in music, Jamison Murphy hasn’t followed it.
“I feel so incredibly blessed,” Jamison laughs when asked about his freshman effort. Recorded in the Hollywood Hills, the EP is a product not of family fortune or stereotypical superstardom, but of the fateful serendipity bestowed upon a young man whose love for songwriting is immutable—and unmistakable.
It was his YouTube profile, awash with cover videos in homage to his favorite artists, that led to Murphy’s discovery by British-born, Grammy-nominated, multiplatinum producer Warren Huart. They promised each other they’d work together, and after a few years and a staggeringly successful, locally burgeoned crowdfunding campaign, a small-town Minnesotan man found himself heading west to record with Huart and Phil Allen (whose engineering accolades include, among others, a Grammy for Adele’s “Someone Like You”). A lifetime of musical ideas were finally allowed to flourish, from the playful percussiveness of “Talk Dirty” to the solemn verses of “After Me.” Murphy watched in grateful disbelief as he, a new artist, humbly took his first steps where most only find their biggest strides.
Even Jamison may not be able to explain where his songs begin. But if you asked him about The After, he would shake his head. He would speak of brotherhood, of life’s formative decades, of the collaborative spirit of friendship that enabled his loftiest dreams. He would hand you a copy and invite you to a show.
And then, he would pick up a guitar.