José González (singer)

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José González
José González performing at NOS Primavera Sound in Porto, Portugal, in 2015.
José González performing at NOS Primavera Sound in Porto, Portugal, in 2015.
Background information
Birth nameJosé Gabriel González
Born (1978-07-31) 31 July 1978 (age 44)
Gothenburg, Sweden
GenresIndie folk
  • Guitar
  • vocals
  • bass
  • piano
  • percussion
Years active2003–present
José González Zelt-Musik-Festival 2017 in Freiburg, Germany

José Gabriel González (born 31 July 1978) is a Swedish indie folk singer-songwriter and guitarist from Gothenburg.[1] González is also a member of the band Junip, along with Tobias Winterkorn.

Early life and education[edit]

The González family – made up of González's father, a National University of San Luis psychology student, González's mother, a fellow student studying biochemistry, both of whom were politically active, and González's older sister, then an infant – fled Argentina after the military coup d'état in March 1976, at the start of the "Dirty War". Escaping to Brazil, they were granted asylum by the Swedish consulate in Rio de Janeiro, and relocated to Gothenburg in 1977.[2] José was born a year later, in the Haga district of Gothenburg.[3] He has a younger sibling.[4] He commented, "It's a very small town. It has about a half-million people living there. It's a pretty good music city by the ocean. It rains a lot there, but it's beautiful in the summertime."[5]

González grew up listening to Latin folk and pop music and has named Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez as a favourite artist.[3] He said the first concert he went to was The Wailers. "I got their autographs and everything," he said in an interview. "I was about 12 or so. At the time, my favourite music was Bob Marley and Michael Jackson."[6]

González was in a PhD program for biochemistry at the University of Gothenburg.[7] In 2003, he stopped working on the PhD, as his musical career became a new focus.[8][9]


The first band he played in was Back Against the Wall, a Gothenburg hardcore punk band influenced by Black Flag, The Misfits and the Dead Kennedys.[10] He later played bass guitar in another hardcore band, Renascence, between 1993 and 1998.[11] Between 1997 and 1998 José played guitar with rock band Only if You Call Me Jonathan.

In June 2003 González released his debut solo release, a two-track 7 in (180 mm) single. The single was discovered by Joakim Gävert, co-founder of the then fledgling label Imperial Records who then signed González as their first official artist.[12] In October he released his debut album, Veneer, in Europe. The album was subsequently released in the UK on 25 April 2005, and in the United States on 6 September 2005. The album was made while González was a PhD student at the University of Gothenburg.[7]

González' trademark sound is solo classical guitar with soft vocal melody. His work, although mostly original, also includes acoustic covers of such hits as "Heartbeats" by his fellow Swedes The Knife, "Love Will Tear Us Apart" by Joy Division, "Born in the U.S.A." and "The Ghost of Tom Joad" by Bruce Springsteen, "Hand on Your Heart" by Kylie Minogue, "Smalltown Boy" by Bronski Beat, "Teardrop" by Massive Attack and "Last Snowstorm of the Year" by Low.

His second album, In Our Nature, was released internationally on 22 September 2007. The album's lyrical content was in part influenced by his reading of books like The God Delusion by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and Practical Ethics by ethicist Peter Singer.[10][13] In 2007, González won a European Border Breakers Award Award. Every year the European Border Breakers Awards (EBBA) recognize the success of ten emerging artists or groups who reached audiences outside their own countries with their first internationally released album in the past year.

In 2010, a documentary about González called The Extraordinary Ordinary Life Of Jose Gonzalez was released.[14][15] In December 2014, González performed at the sustainable lifestyle festival, Wonderfruit in Thailand.

His album Vestiges & Claws was released in February 2015. It was critically acclaimed and received the IMPALA Album of the Year Award.[16]

On 17 February 2021, he released a single with Spanish lyrics, "El Invento".[17] In April he released "Visions", the second single from his album Local Valley, which was released on 17 September.[18]

Television and other media appearances[edit]

José González performing at O2 Shepherds Bush Empire in London, UK, April 2008

González has performed on several television programs, including Late Night with Conan O'Brien (29 March 2006 and 28 September 2007), Jimmy Kimmel Live! (12 October 2007), the BBC's Later... with Jools Holland (9 June 2006), Last Call with Carson Daly (21 June 2006), Seven Network's Sunrise (15 August 2007) and Canada's MTV Live (5 December 2007).

The song "Crosses", from González's Crosses EP and the Veneer album, appeared on the finale of the second season of the popular American television comedy drama The O.C., as well as on a trailer for a BBC Four programme.[which?] It also appeared in the video game Life Is Strange. Also taken from the Veneer album, "Stay in the Shade" was used in The O.C., midway through season three, in the episode The Pot Stirrer. The song "Storm," also from Veneer, was used in season 1 episode called "Best Laid Plans" in the Friday Night Lights TV series (12 December 2006).

His cover of The Knife's "Heartbeats" has been used many times. It featured in a Sony BRAVIA commercial featuring 250,000 coloured bouncing balls in San Francisco;[19][20] in episode 409 and 505 of the CW's One Tree Hill and is included on the album The Road Mix: One Tree Hill Volume 3; it featured in season 7, episode 2 of Scrubs; in season 1, episode 21 of Brothers & Sisters; in season 4, episode 17 of Bones; in Stargate Universe; in 90210; in season 1, episode 21 of Whitney; and in an episode of the British TV show; Sun, Sea and A+E. Gone, a 2007 film directed by Ringan Ledwidge, and Kyss Mig, a 2011 film directed by Alexandra Therese Keining, both feature the track "Lovestain", from the Veneer album.

Music from González' latest album has also been used in other television shows. His version of Massive Attack's "Teardrop" was used in the fourth season finale of House entitled "Wilson's Heart" (the Massive Attack version is used as the show's theme music). It features in the fifth-season episode of Numb3rs entitled "The Fifth Man". The song can be heard at the end of Friday Night Lights season 4, episode "A Sort of Homecoming".

González features prominently on the soundtrack to Ben Stiller's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty", whether with Junip or by himself, including choir-backed opener "Step Out", "Stay Alive" and similarly lush John Lennon cover "#9 Dream".

His original song "Far Away" appeared in the Western video game Red Dead Redemption by Rockstar Games. The song's Western music feel garnered "Best Song" at Spike Video Game Awards for its featured appearance, the game itself took home the award for "Game of the Year".


González performing with chamber pop group yMusic in 2016

González plays in the band Junip with Tobias Winterkorn (and previously Elias Araya). To date Junip have released two EPs, Black Refuge and the free internet release Rope and Summit, along with two full-length albums, Fields and Junip.

He collaborated with UK downtempo duo Zero 7 on their 2006 album, The Garden, providing guest vocals on the album's tracks, along with Zero 7 regular Sia. González performs vocals on four songs: "Futures", "Left Behind", "Today" and "Crosses". His song "Crosses" is featured in the popular video game Life Is Strange.

González collaborated with Finnish house DJ Jori Hulkkonen on the track "Blinded By The Numbers" from Hulkkonen's album Dualizm, released in 2005, and his song 'Crosses' was sampled by British hiphop artist Plan B for the song "Cast a Light" which appears on the Paint It Blacker EP. He has also collaborated with the Swedish hip hop DJ and producer Embee on the track "Send Someone Away", the album mixed by Soundism received a Grammis.[21] González's song "Crosses" was remixed in 2006 by popular Dutch DJ Tiësto. González can also be heard in the song "I want you Back" by the Swedish indie-rock group Niccokick.

González collaborated with The Books on Red Hot Organization's Dark Was the Night compilation album, fundraising for HIV and AIDS awareness, which was released in February 2009.[22] In 2011, he contributed to the organization's follow-up album "Red Hot+Rio 2" with the song "Um Girassol Da Cor Do Seu Cabelo," recorded with Mia Doi Todd.

González participated in The Göteborg String Theory project in 2009–2011, an experimental music and art project that involved artists from Göteborg (Gothenburg), Sweden and classical composers from Berlin, Germany. A new sound piece of his song "Cycling Trivialities" was arranged by composer Nackt for a classical orchestra. It was recorded and performed together with González, and finally released on the album The Göteborg String Theory (Kning Disk) in April 2010. González continued his collaboration with The Göteborg String Theory in 2011. Nackt wrote 11 new arrangement for González' songs, and in spring 2011 José González and The Göteborg String Theory went on a European tour in 19 cites.

Personal life[edit]

González is in a long-term relationship with his partner, Swedish designer Hannele Fernström, with whom he has a daughter born in 2017.[23] González is an atheist[23][24] and a "flexible" vegetarian.

A firm believer in effective altruism, since August 2017, González has been a member of Giving What We Can, a community of people who have pledged to give at least 10% of their income to charities.[25]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • Manifestgalan, Singer-songwriter of the year
  • Swedish Music Publishers Association (SMFF), Best Swedish songwriter of the year
  • 2004: Swedish Grammy, Best New Artist
  • 2006: European Border Breaker Award
  • 2007: Swedish government music export award for sales in 2006


Studio albums[edit]

List of studio albums, with selected chart positions and certifications
Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
  • Released: 29 October 2003
  • Label: Imperial
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download
2 52 28 2 46 11 7
In Our Nature
  • Released: 25 September 2007
  • Label: Imperial / Mute
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download
8 11 33 26 69 32 19 132
Vestiges & Claws
  • Released: 17 February 2015
  • Label: Imperial / Mute
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download, streaming
7 34 79 55 99 86 44 49 72
Local Valley
  • Released: 17 September 2021
  • Label: City Slang and Mute
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download, streaming
25 72 20 [A] 41 [B] [C]
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Live albums[edit]

Title Album details
Live in Europe
  • Released: 22 February 2019[42]
  • Label: Imperial / Mute
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download
  • Featured artists: String Theory

Extended plays[edit]

List of extended plays
Title EP details Peak chart
  • Released: 11 June 2003
  • Label: Imperial
  • Formats: CD
José González & Jens Lekman Split Tour Single
  • Released: December 2003
  • Label: Imperial
  • Formats: CD
  • Released: 21 January 2004
  • Label: Imperial
  • Formats: CD
Stay in the Shade
  • Released: 23 June 2004
  • Label: Imperial
  • Formats: CD
Australian Tour EP
  • Released: 14 November 2005
  • Label: Imperial
  • Formats: CD
B-Sides Collected
  • Released: November 2006
  • Label: Imperial
  • Formats: CD
3 EP Collection
  • Released: September 2007
  • Label: Mute
  • Formats: CD
José González & Promise and the Monster Split Tour Single
  • Released: December 2007
  • Label: Mute
  • Formats: CD
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


List of singles, with selected chart positions and certifications
Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album

"Heartbeats" 2006 [D] 45 20 9 12 56 6 9 Veneer
"Crosses" 4 56 107
"Hand on Your Heart" 88 21 29 Non-album tracks
"Down the Line" 2007 88 140 In Our Nature
"Killing for Love"
"Cycling Trivialities" 2009
"Step Out" 2014 43 The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
"Stay Alive" 45
"Every Age" Vestiges & Claws
"Leaf Off/The Cave" 2015
"El Invento" 2021 [E] Local Valley
"Visions"[47] [F]
"Head On"
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


  1. ^ Local Valley did not enter the Dutch Album Top 100, but entered the Dutch Vinyl 33 chart at number 28.[39]
  2. ^ Local Valley did not enter the UK Albums Chart, but peaked at number 89 on the UK Album Downloads Chart.[40]
  3. ^ Local Valley did not enter the US Billboard 200, but peaked at number 29 on the US Billboard Album Sales Chart.[41]
  4. ^ "Heartbeats" did not enter the Sverigetopplistan Top 100 Singles chart, but peaked at number 10 on the Sverigetopplistan Heatseeker chart.[46]
  5. ^ "El Invento" did not enter the Ultratop 50, but peaked at number 40 on the Flemish Ultratip chart.[28]
  6. ^ "Visions" did not enter the Ultratop 50, but charted as an extra tip on the Flemish Ultratip chart.[28]

Other contributions[edit]


  1. ^ "José González on Mountain Stage". NPR. Archived from the original on 1 May 2015. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  2. ^ Crandell, Ben (23 September 2015). "Jose Gonzalez, man of the world".
  3. ^ a b "A new way for Jose". The Age. 23 September 2007. Retrieved 13 May 2011.
  4. ^ Luoma, Jess (15 October 2015). "TIMF Interview: Getting to know José Gonzaléz on a personal level". The Bay Bridged.
  5. ^ "Jose Gonzalez: The Interview". 3 July 2006. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 12 August 2011.
  6. ^ Parkin, Chris (13 April 2006). "Jose Gonzalez: Interview". Time Out. Archived from the original on 12 October 2008. Retrieved 12 August 2011.
  7. ^ a b "Sweety Gonzalez: Jose has a quiet word with Guerilla". BBC Radio 1. Retrieved 31 July 2008.
  8. ^ Evers, Derek (1 October 2008). "Interview – Jose Gonzalez". The Fader.
  9. ^ Hakimzadeh, Dara (19 December 2007). "José González: The Science of Music".
  10. ^ a b Rajagopalan, Pras (2007). "José González Is Quietly Hardcore". Exclaim!. Archived from the original on 9 November 2007. Retrieved 31 October 2007.
  11. ^ José González interview with The Reykjavík Grapevine
  12. ^ Polowczyk, Lukasz (25 June 2006). "Interview with Magnus Bohman". HitQuarters. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
  13. ^ Jose Gonzalez interview Archived 8 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine with Mark Ziemke for, 4 September 2007
  14. ^ Egerstrand & Blund (2010). "The Extraordinary Ordinary Life Of José González" (Documentary short).
  15. ^ Simon, Alissa (7 February 2010). "The Extraordinary Ordinary Life of Jose Gonzalez". Variety.
  16. ^ ""Vestiges & Claws" by José González wins IMPALA Album of the Year Award"". sur
  17. ^ "José González - El Invento (Official Music Video)"
  18. ^ Elder, Sajae (14 April 2021). "José González announces new album Local Valley, shares "Visions"". Pitchfork. Retrieved 14 April 2021.
  19. ^ "José González: sparking heartbeats in the charts" Archived 3 February 2006 at the Wayback Machine, 22 January 2006 interview with La Blogothèque
  20. ^ [1] Archived 21 November 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ "Music Producers, Sound Engineers, Songwriters and Music Production Studios". Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  22. ^ Hall, Tara (27 May 2009). "Jose Gonzalez maps North American jaunt". Livedaily. Archived from the original on 29 May 2009. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
  23. ^ a b Milazzo, Robert; González, José (12 February 2018). "Murmur 75: José González "They Choose Where We Live"" (Audio podcast). Murmur Digital Radio.
  24. ^ Salazar, Lauren (26 September 2008). "José González on Learning Portuguese and the Likelihood of Hearing 'Kumbaya' at His Concert This Weekend". New York. Retrieved 9 September 2010.
  25. ^ "José González on Effective Altruism, Doomsday Dudes, and New Album Local Valley". 18 October 2021. Retrieved 30 December 2021.
  26. ^ a b c "Discography José González". Hung Medien. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  27. ^ a b "Discography José González". Hung Medien. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  28. ^ a b c d "Discography José González". Hung Medien. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  29. ^ "Discographie José González". GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 26 October 2021.
  30. ^ a b "Discography José González". Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  31. ^ a b "Discography José González". Hung Medien. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  32. ^ "Discography José González". Hung Medien. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  33. ^ "Discographie José González". Swiss Charts Portal. Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 October 2021.
  34. ^ a b "José González". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  35. ^ "José González: Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  36. ^ "Certifikat JOSÉ GONZÁLEZ VENEER" (in Swedish). Grammofon Leverantörernas Förening. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  37. ^ a b "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2007 Albums" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 28 December 2021.
  38. ^ a b c "Certified Awards Search". British Phonographic Industry. Archived from the original (enter the search parameter "Jose Gonzalez" into the Search box, then select "Go") on 24 January 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2013.
  39. ^ "José González - Local Valley". Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  40. ^ "Official Album Downloads Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. 24 September 2021. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  41. ^ "José González Chart History: Album Sales". Billboard. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  42. ^ Live in Europe by José González & The String Theory, retrieved 24 July 2021
  43. ^ "José González Chart History: Euro Digital Songs". Billboard. Archived from the original on 16 February 2020. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  44. ^ Peak chart positions in Scotland:
  45. ^ "José González Chart History: Rock Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  46. ^ "Veckolista Heatseeker, vecka 5, 2015". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  47. ^ "Visions - Single by José González". Spotify. Retrieved 19 April 2021.

External links[edit]