After hearing Jack Powers perform at the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Zine event last May and getting an exclusive first listen at their new EP, “Jack Flowers and The Petal Tones,” which was released on Oct. 20, I was eager to learn more about their experience as a musician.
Powers is a senior music education major at Montclair State University, which is where they met most of their band members. They started playing together in March 2022 and are known as Jack Flowers and The Petal Tones. The band members include Montclair State graduate Kyle Steven Sanders (guitarist, bassist and vocals), junior education major Tim Nuzzetti (drummer), sophomore music education major Calyx Ryu (guitarist and vocals), County College of Morris student Josh Wilson and finally Powers as the lead singer, guitarist, songwriter and bassist.
Before Jack Flowers and The Petal Tones, there was just Jack Powers—an independent songwriter and musician. Given the coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions in 2020, Powers could not create and write music with their previous band from high school and decided to work on their own.
“When I was doing that I found that I really loved the expressiveness,” Powers said. “It was really scary at first writing your own lyrics and putting yourself out there. The more I do it, the more I realized I’ve learned about myself and I just love sharing it too.”
During Powers’ sophomore year, they and Sanders lived together in Russ Hall and took classes at the John J. Cali School of Music. They played Beatles songs together and eventually shared their own music with one another.
Although Powers had no intentions of performing the music they wrote, this changed.
“When I started meeting some of the people here and hanging out with them, I was like maybe we should start a band,” Powers said.
Ryu first met Powers in their freshman seminar class and saw them play in different recitals and performances. Ryu was asked to join the band at the end of February 2022 and has loved being in the band since.
“I feel extremely lucky to be a part of this because [Powers] is not only easy to work with but easy to work off of as well,” Ryu said. “I’m surrounded by four other super-talented creatives, and words can’t describe just how inspiring it is.”
Powers talked of how they love to create and perform.
“There’s something to be said about when you’re performing and the whole room is there just listening and they’re in it,” Powers said. “You’ve created this energy that everybody is in.”
A lot of their inspiration comes from bands like The 1975, The Strokes, Green Day and Her’s.
Nuzzetti met Powers through their major and they quickly became friends. Nuzzetti describes their music style as a mix of a variety.
“All these genres require very different roles and responsibilities as performers and [Powers] is always aware of what that role is or actively making strides to understand that role,” Nuzzetti said. “They are able to adapt quickly, and they think incredibly critically about all of their musical roles and decisions.”
Music is a way to create an original sound by taking inspiration from others, according to Powers.
“What I love most about songwriting is that it’s an opportunity for me to take my influences and put them together in a way that doesn’t exist right now,” Powers said.
Powers also emphasized that songwriting is a form of self-expression. They’ve come to realize songwriting has a deeper meaning for them.
“It gives me a really awesome reflection of how I feel about things where I don’t really know what the song is about until months later,” Powers said. “It’s kind of like a journal in a way.”
Ultimately, Powers envisions their future as a music teacher and believes their experience as a musician will help them with students.
“My future plans are to keep writing music, keep recording and keep playing live,” Powers said. “I also love teaching. There’s so much value in teaching your students about songwriting and how to be in a band.”
As a music teacher, they aim to focus on production, creativity, songwriting and popular styles of music.
The new EP, “Jack Flowers and The Petal Tones,” is “a tribute to our live shows,” Powers said. The music is available for streaming on Spotify and Apple Music.
Jack Flowers and the Petal Tones have an upcoming show on Nov. 20 at Dingbatz in Clifton, NJ.
Stay up to date with the band @thepetaltones and @jackpowers.mp4 on Instagram.