I’ve always admired people who seek out new and unknown musical talents, and those whose music libraries are filled to the brim with wonderful indie artists who may not always get the recognition they deserve. I wish I could say that I’m one of those people, but the truth is, I’m a creature of habit. While I love all forms, styles, and genres of music, when I find something I like, I tend to listen to it repeatedly for months on end instead of searching out new artists. While I’m content with the music currently in my library, I often wonder what amazing talents I’m missing out on, and therefore it’s always a lovely and welcome surprise when I stumble upon someone amazing by accident. I recently had one of those accidental stumbles last December when my Dad and I made our annual trip down to Disneyland, California.
On the last night of our trip we decided to check out the new nighttime party at the California Adventure Park called the Mad T Party. While we weren’t exactly sure what to expect, the show was a vibrant trip down the rabbit hole into the world of Alice in Wonderland, featuring dancers, performance artists, a DJ, and an exceptional live band. Taking the stage in outrageously amazing costumes of colour and craziness, the members of this band were all dressed as characters from the Alice in Wonderland story, but it was the lead singer, named as the Mad Hatter, who caught our attention. It only took until about halfway through the first set for both my Dad and I to agree: this guy had one hell of a voice. Once I got home I decided to see if I could put a name to the voice, and after a surprisingly quick Google search, I had one: John Flanagan. One iTunes search later, I had downloaded every song Flanagan has ever released, and these songs have been rapidly climbing up my most played list ever since.
A combination of pop and dance music, with hints of glam rock sprinkled throughout, John Flanagan has a voice that is a hybrid of Mika and Adam Lambert, a musical style that is infectious and joyful, and lyrics that are both complex and heartfelt. His music has quickly become my go to listening for nearly every occasion, and has so far made many a traffic jam infinitely more bearable. Favourite tracks include “Stoplight”, one of the most honest break up songs I’ve ever heard, “Love You Anyway”, a raucous dance anthem, and “Last Goodbye”, a personal favourite that somehow manages to be both a break up and reconciliation within one song.
The only downside to discovering this amazing talent is that number of songs released so far includes only one album, Pretty Lies, and one single, “Elektrik“, leaving me wanting more every time I come to the end. I can only hope that new material will soon be forthcoming, as I will be ready and waiting to purchase whatever Flanagan releases next. In the meantime, I know that come this December, my Dad and I will find ourselves in the audience of the Mad T Party one night, hoping that the voice onstage will be a familiar one.