John DeMena is an award-winning rock singer and guitarist from Los Angeles who has worked with producers and musicians of Alice Cooper, Jane’s Addiction, and Jimmy Kimmel. His music has appeared on distinguished outlets such as MTV and Metal Hammer. Some of the benefits of today’s musical landscape is the breadth with which artists can record and produce their compositions, from famous acts to talented emerging artists. That’s certainly the case with John DeMena, who wrote and produced his upcoming debut album Dreams and Lies entirely by himself. As he points out, “after moving to Los Angeles and not being able to find anyone artistically aligned with me, I had to take a DIY approach and do everything myself. It was the only way forward.” For a couple of years, he wrote nonstop, picked other instruments, penned all lyrics, and used software to program drums and other instruments in pre-production before seeking out session players for this debut. John DeMena self-released an early mix of this debut in 2019 that earned him two Hollywood Music in Media Awards nominations, caught the attention of several record labels and earned him endorsements with iconic brands such as Ernie Ball and PRS Guitars, a deal with ADA (Warner), and an invitation to participate in a The Doors tribute compilation for which he covered the band’s iconic 1967 classic “People Are Strange”, a cover released by Rhino Records and featured on MTV Germany.
Of course, DeMena’s journey wasn’t exactly easy. After emigrating from Spain to the United States in 2008, he found himself jobless, contactless, and without even a driver’s license or sufficient work experience. He explains: “I didn’t even have credit, so I couldn’t rent a place. Instead, I had to live in hostels and other inhospitable places for six months. Then, the recession hit, and I was laid off four years in a row. I spent years going from job to job, so those first years in L.A. were excruciatingly painful and lonely.” Never one to give up, he continued believing in himself and pushing forward; that resolve assisted in strengthening his character and moving him toward his main goal: a career in music. “Those experiences separated the boy from the man, in a manner of speaking, and helped me develop a military-style discipline and get to know myself better,” he adds.
Inspired by legendary groups like Pink Floyd, Bowie, Alice in Chains, Pantera, Radiohead, NIN, and AC/DC—all of whom can be felt within Dreams and Lies to varying degrees—John DeMena set out to not put any limits to his creativity while presenting the listener with a personal and modern sound. Going back to “Eternal Eyes,” it was also turned into a music video by animator/filmmaker Ishan Shukla (whose work has won dozens of international awards and been featured at over one hundred film festivals). As with making the album itself, DeMena found their partnership demanding yet immensely gratifying: “I reached out to him with a mostly formed idea of how I wanted the storyline, aesthetics, and visual world to be. Then, we modified sections and let it all evolve organically. I can’t thank him enough for his patience.”
The future looks bright and busy for John DeMena, who cannot wait to follow his album’s release with tour dates, and who he was also recently invited to participate in a Warner tribute to The Doors, for which he recorded a captivating and passionate cover the band’s iconic People Are Strange featuring Jimmy Kimmel’s keyboardist Jeff Babko and DeMena on vocals, guitars, and bass to be released in October 2022.