Photo of Jonny Barefoot playing guitar

Jonny Barefoot: Open for Inspiration

Jonny Barefoot is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, childrens’ music teacher from Toronto, living in Japan.

Jonny’s passion is to hear the music in every aspect of his life. Jonny and I know each other from when we were teenagers. I’ve always been curious about his experience in Japan, and invited him on the podcast after we reconnected over social media. In this wide ranging conversation, Jonny catches us up on life in Japan and we explore the intersection of culture, spirituality, religion, education, and one of our favourite books – The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho.

Conversation highlights

  • Jonny shares what it was like to move from Toronto to Japan.
  • From teaching English to teaching music to children through the Music Together program.
  • A look at the indigenous spiritual culture of Japan in contrast to Jonny’s Catholic upbringing in Canada.
  • Consistency of practice – whether it’s music, meditation, going to church, or writing down inspiration when it comes.
  • Creating music in COVID times.
  • The importance of owning your style.
  • Highlights from The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo.
  • Creativity and spirituality as open practice vs imposing structure and willing things to be a certain way.
  • Jonny shares the inspiration behind his latest album, Sunrise in Reverse.

Memorable quotes from Jonny Barefoot

On owning your style:

“And then at that point, I thought yeah, I think I’m really going to own this sound. This is mine and I’m gonna let this grow inside me. And it was like a search was over.”

On practice:

“If you approach it like that, it’s I’m going to go and teach this class because that’s what I do every day. And that’s the practice. I’m going to sit Zen, that’s what I do every day. And that’s the practice. And whether it comes naturally and fluidly and flowingly, or it’s a absolute drudgery, it’s still what you do.”

Mentioned in this episode

Jonny Barefoot’s album Sunrise in Reverse on Bandcamp

The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

Laura’s interview with Brad Warner: Letters to a Dead Friend About Zen

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Shunryu Suzuki

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