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Jon Toogood

Fri Jun 7th, 2024


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As Shihad’s high profile founding frontman and leader of The Adults rock supergroup, Jon Toogood has spent 30 years at the forefront of Aotearoa’s music scene, writing, singing, performing, mentoring, managing, directing, producing, DJ-ing, programming and promoting — all with enormous energy and humanity.
To cap this off, in 2018 Jon completed his Masters in Fine Arts with Massey University, studying by distance from Melbourne, with his major project being the production of the album ’Haja’.

Jon’s conversion to Islam in recent years came partly as a result of meeting his wife Dana, a Sudanese Muslim, but also because he has always felt deeply about our human connections, and believed there is more to life than things. Jon would say he has always sought the spiritual in his life, and this was, in the first instance, through his music.

Born to English immigrant parents, Yvonne and Mike, Jon was raised to believe in the value of hard work, empathy and generosity, and the principle of reciprocity – favours given become favours returned.

At Wellington High School he felt at home amongst the diversity, and was allowed to focus on his two main passions, painting and music. It was also where he found his kindred spirits – Tom Larkin, Phil Knight and Hamish Laing and together they formed Shihad in 1988. Not long after, Kapiti College fan Karl Kippenberger replaced Hamish and the rest is history. They worked hard, played hard and supported each other, weathering fame, fortune and drama to become one of the most respected rock groups in the Southern Hemisphere, and New Zealand’s most successful heavy rock export.

Since 1988 Jon has performed at more than 1500 live shows and sold over 250,000 albums world-wide, with two albums certified double platinum and five albums certified gold in New Zealand and Australia. Shihad was admitted to the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame in 2010, and the following year won Best Rock Album at the 2011 Vodafone Music Awards for Ignite; and Best Rock Album in 2015 for Five Eyes.

Jon holds the record in New Zealand for the most number one albums by a New Zealand artist (5) and the most singles in the New Zealand charts (25). He has also written more radio hits than any other artist in New Zealand music history. He has played a key role behind, and in front of the scenes at the New Zealand Music Award shows, last year as one of the hosts of the VMAs.

Jon continues to tour and to champion social justice and egalitarianism through his music but instead of shouting loudly at the establishment, his music now invites and celebrates connectedness and diversity, invoking a more tolerant world. With boundless energy, Jon is a parent to two young children, and alongside performances with Shihad and as a solo artist is currently working on his first solo LP for a 2024 release.

acoustic/solo, rock

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