“MY NAME IS JOHNNY STIMSON, AND I MAKE MUSIC EVERY DAY. EVERYTHING IN MY LIFE IS A MELODY. THIS PAST LITTLE WHILE I’VE BEEN ABLE TO TRAVEL ALL OVER SINGING MY SONGS, AND I’VE MET SOME OF THE COOLEST PEOPLE ON THE PLANET. I WOULDN’T RATHER DO ANYTHING ELSE.”
Where do you gather inspiration for your songs?
I used to write more about made up things or hypothetical relationships and stuff. Lately though, I’ve really just been drawing from my own life. How I fell in love with my wife these past few years, heartbreak I felt before that, that feeling like you wish you could freeze time or maybe even go back a little bit. I think we all have our own unique experiences, but together our overall human experience can be really similar. So when I write about my heartbreak or the love in my heart, I try to remember that your ears hear your heartbreak and your love too.
What music do you like to listen to? Do you think the music you listen to impacts your sound?
I used to listen to The Beatles almost exclusively. I was fascinated by all of their music and I really learned to hear chords and melodies by studying that. Ever since Spotify put the whole world in my ears I’ve been listening to anything and everything. My taste has really shifted to include anything that I find myself humming along to later that day. Anything catchy. Lately I’m still all over The Beatles, but I love top 40 pop music too! I’m amazed by these writers that consistently find songs that we love to hear.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Haha well I toured with this awesome artist named SoMo and he was doing push ups before the shows sometimes. I was like, “man that guy looks pumped up!” so sometimes I slam out about 10 or 15 of those bad boys. I’m not sure that 10 or 15 pushups really makes me look like SoMo though… I also like to pray with the guys before because I think it’s important to be thankful to get to sing in front of people.
What has been your favorite city to perform in?
London. I had an absolute blast being in the UK with my band. The whole idea that we got to go across the ocean to do the thing we love was amazing to me. The first time we played there, the venue wasn’t even really open yet and it was raining. It was a lot of fun for us as a band and people did show up, but it was a little discouraging to me. The next day Elton John called me on the phone about the gig and that became a whole amazing season of life for me. I ended up signing to his label and it was a huge encouragement.
Do you have any other passions besides music?
I love to run! I travel quite a bit so I’ve found running to be a great way to get to know a new city. It is the best way to wake up. I hated it for a long time and then one day I just decided I was going to love it. It’s always one of my favorite parts of the day.
The world needs dreamers just like it needs doctors and lawyers so if you feel like that’s you, then it’s you!!
If you could only listen to one band or artist for the rest of your life, who would you pick?
The Beatles for sure. So much depth and so many melodies.
What’s one thing you can’t go a day without?
What’s a goal you have for your future as a musician?
I want to play Madison Square Garden someday 🙂 I’d also just really love to wake up one day in my 40s and still be sitting down at a piano first thing in the morning. That’s a great feeling.
What advice do you have for people hoping to pursue a career in the arts?
I say go for it!! I’ve had many ups and downs in past few years, but at the end of the day, you can’t beat creating something new that no one else has ever created. The world needs dreamers just like it needs doctors and lawyers so if you feel like that’s you, then it’s you!!
PHOTOS and STORY GILLIAN COHEN
Originally published in Volume II, Issue No. 004 – Fall 2017.