A Heaven-Send: Antony and the Johnsons

Indie | Thursday 20th June 2013 | Abby

The epithet of beauty exists in the form of music which is created and produced by Antony and the Johnsons.


Without a doubt, Antony and the Johnsons are the pioneers of the most beautiful and ethereal music of the 21st Century. Like a small orchestra, Antony and the Johnsons is composed of the cello, drums, bass, horns, violins, guitars, and pianos which all collectively present stunning sounds and pursue a style of music which is purely captivating. Greater depth is given to the instrumentals, as Antony Hegarty liberates his passion, emotion, and grace through the vocals of an angel. Hegarty provides an audience with his surreal voice that is complemented by an incredible talent for playing the piano. The music which Antony and the Johnsons engender cannot be compared to anything else in the music industry; it lives in a whole different music universe, a Heaven, a utopia.

Being offered to have his music released and signed by the music label Dutro, Antony and the Johnsons released their self-titled debut album in 1998. It was the end of a century and the momentous beginning of a band that has changed music for the 21st Century forever. The second debut album was completed and released in 2005, I Am A Bird Now gracefully swept across the stage of the world music scene and it was one of the most impressive albums of the year, featuring Lou Reed, Rufus Wainwright, Boy George, and Devendra Banhart. This album presented the themes of duality and change. These themes are evident in the songs such as ‘My Lady Story’ and ‘For Today I Am A Boy’, which divulge the gender-change and transformation, which is a story close to Hegarty’s life. Antony Hegarty, the English singer, composer, and visual artist, had undergone a gender-change himself, and this has emotionally effected not only his entire life but also his music. The familiarity of these themes to Hegarty’s life gives the tracks a greater intimacy, emotion, and passion which the listener can feel! Tears are left in the eyes of each and every listener who absorbs the emotion of every track – despite whether it is melancholic or joyful.

2005 saw Antony and the Johnsons receive the Mercury Prize for the Best UK Album of the year. The EP Another World was released in 2008 which was closely followed by The Crying Light, an album which, in 2009, reached number one in the European Billboard Charts. The album’s tracks possessed an interest in nature, death, and love, including ‘Epilepsy Is Dancing’ which is a beautifully poignant piece.

Swanlights was the present to 2010, which was (and still is) an album of pure brilliance concerned with society’s destructive effect upon nature, described by Hegarty as the:

“collision between joy and a sense of hoplessness.”

To follow this, an album compiled of Antony and the Johnsons’ live performances was formed and given the title: Cut The World. ‘Swanlights’ is the title also given to Antony and the Johnsons’ European tour over the course of 2013, and on 27th July, Londoners will gather in the Royal Opera House only to stunned by a surreal musical experience.


Listen and absorb the Antony and the Johnsons track, ‘Daylight and the Sun’, right here:



Written By Abby D @AbbyDonkin