OH YEAH. It’s happening. We’re going inside the green room with the one and only smooth singin’ stud himself, Johnny Stimson. If you’re unfamiliar with who Johnny is, it’s time to educate yourself (and your ears). He was featured in our summer lookbook, Something Like A Dream, as the on-screen eye candy, as well as the soundtrack to the video! We recently had the pleasure of chatting with him on the phone about his music, Lauryn Hill, sandwiches, and all things awesome. Read our Q&A with him below!
TS: Let’s get to know you a little better, please state any nicknames you have, a guilty pleasure, and a favorite thing to do other than making sweet music.
JS: Well my real name’s Jonathan, and since I was about 8 years old this kid down the street started calling me Johnny so that stuck. And that’s just been the only nickname I’ve ever had. I think people like to say it because it’s like they’re back in the ‘60s or something haha.
As far as guilty pleasures go, I guess one of the most glaringly obvious ones is that…I…love…candy. Sometimes a meal is like a big ziploc bag full of skittles…which may or may not be exactly the case last night.
I’ve always been into art and anything creative. I like to doodle and draw occasionally, but lately I’ve been running a lot. I just love to run because I travel and it lets me see a bunch of different cities and kind of get a layout of the land. And that’s fun for me for some reason, haha. This year I’m running a half marathon every month and I ran a full marathon last year and I never ever thought I’d do that.
TS: So you’re back in your hometown of Dallas, does it feel nice to be back home? Are you maxin’ relaxin’ or still working hard on your music?
JS: I did do a little bit of sleeping the day I got back. It’s nice being at home though because I can kind of actually sit and do shit and not feel like I’m in a foreign place. Like I’m in my own room sitting at the computer and I can be really productive, I always get a bunch done.
TS: Yeah you’re like in your element now, right?
JS: Haha, yeah exactly. But sometimes the element is my super comfy bed here.
TS: How would you describe your music?
JS: I would say that it is left of center pop. Definitely pop music because I want to appeal to a wide audience. I love Top ‘40s stuff, I like to listen to that and I think it influences how I write. I also think that my music has this weird decade’s past mixture in it, there’s A LOT of influence from the ‘60s like harmonies , a lot of grooves from the ‘70s, synths from the ‘80s, and then topics from the ‘50s…different decades kind of sprinkled in throughout.
TS: Yeah, your music definitely sounds familiar but it doesn’t sound like anything on the radio these days.
JS: Yeah, I’m trying to have a little bit of a different vibe. I think if you had to categorize it, it might be a mixture of Pop, R&B, and Soul.
TS: You just finished recording some new tunes in NY, how’d that go?
JS: Oh it was amazing. We had the best time together. My drummer came up from Dallas and two producers were there. I had the most spectacular time in the studio because I love the process of taking something that’s in my imagination and realizing that into a physical form. At the end of the day, you actually get to listen to something that’s REAL airwaves hitting against your eardrums. I love that creative process and I love doing it with those guys. We worked on a new song and I’m really proud of what we did. I came in with tons of notes and all these ideas I wanted to try and we pretty much tried everything, haha. We eliminated some things and added new stuff while we were there. It was just a great time.
TS: Can we expect to dance some more with your new material?
JS: Definitely! This next song is a good mixture of the first few very dancey songs I did and then ‘SO. GOOD.’ with a little bit more on the the lazy, soul side. I think this is a good bridge of the gap. I’m seeking to find my own voice, but I think that’s something every artist, musically or otherwise, tries to do. I’m trying to find the voice that when people hear the first note of the song, whether or not it’s my actual literal voice, they’ll feel like “oh this is a Johnny song”. And I think this is starting to really go in the direction of unlike anything I’ve really heard before or anything I’ve ever done before. Definitely groovy, definitely dance-tastic.
TS: Well that’s great man, we can’t wait to hear it.
JS: Yeah the new song is called ‘Sugar’ so all of our promotion has been centered on candy…which I’m down for.
TS: You’ve had a pretty kickass year with all your tracks on SoundCloud reaching over 100k plays. SO. GOOD. even reached over 400k.
JS: Yeah! I’m actually just so excited about that. I remember in high school when I had a band and I was looking at my MySpace page that we worked so hard to design. Every day I would look at it and be like “Oh my gosh I can’t believe this, ELEVEN people listened today! That is insane, eleven people and I don’t even know them!” and now it’s like thousands and thousands of people and it’s very crazy feeling. But I know it definitely doesn’t scream rock and roll super stardom, but to me, it’s really special feeling to know that there are lots of people listening all the time.
TS: Is there an EP or album in the works?
JS: Definitely. I would love to record a full length album. And I feel like a lot of people say that the album as a form or means of creativity and release is dead and all that. And I can see from a business standpoint where they’re coming from. But as an artist, I would love to make a comprehensive album; it’s like a piece of art in its own right. But I think that for now we’re going to continue releasing singles, but definitely within the next year I think we can expect an EP and potentially an album. It’s on the horizon for sure.
TS: How has touring been for you?
JS: It’s been amazing. This last year I had a whole new band, we’ve been on the road quite a bit, lots of one-off dates where we’ll have a show in New York and we’ll play 3-4 shows up along the way. It’s been really cool. Something I’ve learned is that playing with a band that is full of really talented musicians makes me have to be on top of my game. Also how rare it is and how beautiful a thing it is to find people that you really love and get to travel with them, so like the guys in my band we’ve just bonded so much and had a great time just being together. I just feel extremely blessed to have been able to go out on the road and have audiences wanting to see me, but also to be doing that with a couple of my best friends.
TS: Yeah I’ve seen you perform twice now and each time I notice people have just been blown away by your set, the crowd can’t help but dance.
JS: Aw thank you! Yeah it’s crazy, that’s one thing I just wasn’t expecting. Finding these guys and being able to play with them regularly, that is a miracle to me every single time. It’s really, really fun to play with them.
TS: Any artists/acts you’ve been listening to a lot these days?
JS: I’ve been really scatterbrained on what I’m listening to lately, but I’m definitely inspired by Lauryn Hill. Man, she is a monster and I’ve been watching a lot of her live videos and listening to a lot of Fugees stuff.
TS: Have you got any plans for the summer?
JS: Yeah we’re releasing new music and doing shows fairly regularly in the summer. But the main plan is to write and prepare for the fall because I think touring is really gonna pick up during that time. And we have some things we need to get in order before we leave, it’s nice we have a couple months cushion but in the meantime I’m gonna be writing all the time.
TS: Now on to some serious questions…Skittles or Burritos?
TS: Go-to karaoke song?
JS: Believe In a Thing Called Love – The Darkness
TS: One thing that most people don’t know about you?
JS: I don’t know, most people know everything about me!
TS: Drink of choice?
JS: My absolutely total favorite drink of all time is water. Because it is INCREDIBLE in the dry river of all life. But diet coke is a close second.
TS: New York or Los Angeles?
JS: I love New York so much, it’s the best. That’s where I feel like my heart is content a lot of the time. Other than just being at home in Texas. The thing about NY is that, I sort of judge how much I love a place based on my proximity to a sandwich at anytime. And in NY you’re ultimately always within 5 minutes from a sandwich. Delis EVERYWHERE. But LA’s not too shabby either.
Be sure to check out Johnny Stimson’s new single ‘Sugar’ which will be released tomorrow (6/24)! Update: Check out the song above!