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Presence Flaunts a New Pop Punk Attitude In His Single “RUNNING BACK 2 YOU!”

Every person I know my age has mentioned at least once, “If only I had started that YouTube

channel when I was 14.” Pop punk artist Presence aka Jonathon Martinez is the embodiment of

that grassroots virality, turned into a musical career. At 15 years old, Martinez was filmed in a

car remixing XXXTentacion’s “Jocelyn Flores.” The video is 2018 gold. It has that classic

film-like filter over it–a little over-saturated and grainy, the kind of videos your friends would

show you at lunch, asking you if you’ve seen this kid yet. The 1-minute and 53-second video

now has over 8.5 million views. But even more impressive is Presence’s combined 57,943,591

million streams across his top 5 Spotify songs. All puns intended Martinez’s Presence is

displayed across all platforms, and his new pop punk single “RUNNING BACK 2 YOU!” is just

the beginning.

Martinez’s past discography leans to the vulnerable side with tracks like “Dear Depression” and

“I’m Okay I Swear.” Martinez explains, “My music always stems from something that's occurred

in my life. The lyrics tend to come first, and the sonics are built around that. The feeling I want

the listener to have about what I'm saying is decided by how I feel about the situation in the

moment I'm writing.” His past two singles (“SCARED OF THE FALL!” and “PAST LIFE!”) still

hold that emotion while twisting it into a pop-punk bow–holding nostalgia and feeling, while

simultaneously making songs that fit perfectly in a teenager/twenty-somethings car. Listening to

“RUNNING BACK 2 YOU!” reminded me of days when I would blast Khalid backing out of my

high school’s parking lot, hoping I wouldn’t back into my friend's boyfriend's car again (true


Photo From Substream Magazine

The single and music video for “RUNNING BACK 2 YOU!” acts as a trilogy, working in tandem

with “SCARED OF THE FALL!” and “PAST LIFE!” Martinez says, “The music video is a

continuation of the story that's presented in "SCARED OF THE FALL!" and "PAST LIFE!"...This

is me running back to that person after all my own faults.” Most of all this single is bringing those

feelings of a young relationship back into my ears again. Puppy love, feeling like no one will

understand you like this again, and of course sabotaging it all. When I asked about the

inspiration behind the single Martinez responded, “This is a song about my longtime girlfriend

and I breaking up and making up. We were dumb high school kids when we first started dating

so we've practically grown up together. When I say ‘don't know how to be with no one else

cause you know me better than myself’ I really mean it.”

Martinez has a way of weaving pop and emotion together with hints of artists like The Kid

LAROI and ELIJAH MOON. “RUNNING BACK 2 YOU!” begins slower, Joji-esque synths, filling

my headphones. Presence speeds up and slows down, ticking up to his chorus–a swell of

instruments and fuzzy vocals with an incredibly addicting chorus. It really does make me want to

run down my hometown street as he does in the music video. Martinez’s 2024 attitude to his

music seems to be a “hyper storytelling” turn from his past, “For a long time I think I put myself

in a box because I saw what was working and figured that was what people wanted. I've come

to realize people tend to just appreciate when I'm honest in my music, and this is what feels

honest for me at the moment. It's been freeing to experiment with different genres.” This new

intersection of pop, punk, hyper pop is something to watch, and artists like Presence are in its


Presence runs, digs, and vulnerably twists and turns through the past in his new single. Writing

this article I could not stop hearing “I just runnnn to you/I just keep running back to you.”

Presence’s track “RUNNING BACK 2 YOU!” is a certified windows down, driving through your

hometown, earworm.


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