ReddRoxx Rundown: Meet singing sensation Johnal - INTERVIEW
blog by Maria Redd • January 24, 2014 @ 9:52am
If someone were able to sing their way into someone’s heart, it would probably be this next artist up on the ReddRoxx Rundown.
He’s a vet on the local music scene but his smooth voice and catchy melodies have earned him notoriety outside of the Queen City as well.
Meet Johnal, a singer, songwriter and producer determined to be the next in a line of mega-stars that have preceded him and become known worldwide for something he does that comes naturally, which is singing and making great music.
I caught up with Johnal to learn a little more about him as an artist and discuss the next steps in his already successful career.
ReddRoxx: Thank you very much for taking the time to chat with me! It’s always great to learn more about the talent born and raised right here in Buffalo.
I especially enjoy being able to sit down with those that have time and experience in the music game both on a local level and beyond, because other up-and-coming artists can learn so much.
You’ve been on the music scene for some time, so I’m curious to know when it was that you first realized that you had a talent—how did your career start?
J: I realized I had talent when I was asked to sing lead in church as a kid. To sing lead for a choir you have to be good! They don’t just let a singer represent their church if you didn’t have the vocal capability to back it up.
From there I got the confidence to perform in talent shows which led to me jump-starting my singing career.
RR: A lot of great singers have had humble beginnings in their church choir as a youth—I think it’s such an awesome foundation for a successful career.
Since you first realized you had talent and further cultivated it throughout the years, what has been your motivation behind your music? Is there a meaning behind it?
J: Absolutely! My motto is live, love and laugh. I try to bring all those elements to the music I write.
We struggle, we love, we party, we work out, we make love, etc. – my job is to make music that will inspire everything you choose to do in life. All I’m doing with my music is making a soundtrack to our every-day lifestyle.
RR: Making music that is easily relatable among your demographic is definitely a plus, and it seems like it comes naturally to you and comes across in your work as well.
I’m sure it’s one of the reasons why you’ve been so successful thus far, leading you to pretty notable performances in which you opened for some heavy hitters in the industry – which would you say was your most memorable one?
J: All of them actually! To be on the same platform as the mainstream artists that I met and opened for was a motivation for me to keep pushing.
To be part of the same show, share the same stage, share their fans, share the same mic and the same journey as them is very memorable.
RR: That’s major! Both 50 Cent and T.I. are some of my favorite artists, so I know that it must have been absolutely surreal to perform with them! Speaking of performances, do you have any more on the coming up?
J: I have upcoming events in the Bahamas, Toronto, Charlotte, Atlanta and Buffalo. Dates will be posted on my social networks.
RR: That’s awesome, please keep me posted. Great to see that your hometown is included on the list [laughs]. What are your thoughts about the local music scene here in Buffalo?
J: It’s a good place to create a fan base. We have open mic events, live-music venues and also concerts in which local artists are able to showcase their talent. The saying is “If you can make it from home, you can make it anywhere.”
RR: I agree with that. Hopefully with all the outlets being created to be heard, all of the great talent that we have here will be noticed.
Even with the outlets being created, however, some still find it difficult to gain a faithful fan base and garner the support they need locally. What do you feel like the key is to get talent recognized here?
J: Travel. Our city isn’t filled with stars, music producers or record labels that can take us to the next level. After you prove you have a solid fan base and following—that’s when it’s time to take the show on the road.
RR: That’s great advice! It’s definitely important to branch out. I can’t help but to say that you make it sound so easy!
But I’m sure it hasn’t been a smooth road for you either – what are some of the obstacles that you’ve faced during your career? How did you overcome them, if any?
J: I faced financial obstacles, I faced people telling me my songs weren’t good enough, but most of all I heard “No.”
I overcame all that by still believing in myself. I didn’t let limited resources stop me from chasing my dreams. I learned that the more you work hard and build the right relationships, you won’t even need money.
Blessings will come by having a work ethic. #Fact I never take “NO” for an answer. I’m gonna stay persistent until I finally get a “YES.”
RR: I’m sure you’ve inspired a lot of other upcoming artists with what you just said. Sometimes when there are roadblocks in the way you have to create your own lane, which leads me to my next question.
Are you currently signed to a label or are you independent?
J: I’m Independent with my own label G.M. Records. Signed to myself! [laughs]
RR: Nothing wrong with that! Independent seems to be more ideal than major labels these day.
I don’t think it’s such a bad thing either. It seems like even if an artist eventually signs a deal with a major label after being independent, they have a better chance at longevity because they’re well educated on the business side of things.
As we both know, this wasn’t always the case and led to the demise of many music careers. I know you’re a busy man being signed to yourself and all [laughs], so of course we don’t want all your hard work to go unnoticed.
What’s some of the music that you currently have available? Where can it be purchased or downloaded?
J: My current single “FLY THANG” is available now on iTunes and most other popular music download sites as well.
I have a free mix tape you can download on www.datpiff.com and I also have a free mobile app for iPhone and Android by typing “Johnal” in your AppStore.
RR: Congrats on your recent release! It’s really a hot song, which makes me wonder if you have any other projects currently in the works?
J: Yes! I’m currently working on my first EP that will release probably in the spring of this year.
RR: Make sure you keep me up to date on that! So with having new music coming out soon, what artists would you say not only influence your latest work but on your music overall?
All because of the same thing: vocal arrangements. Anybody the ever been to the studio with me will tell you that I’m a genius at vocal arrangement. It’s definitely influenced by some of these other geniuses I named.
RR: Cool, I’ll have to swing by the studio one of these days and see you in action! Based on who you’ve named, I can almost guess the answer to my next question [laughs]. Who would you like to work with?
J: R.Kelly! I don’t feel like enough artists pay homage to the R&B king.
RR: How did I know! I actually think that would be an awesome collab. Well until you and Kells get in the studio, what can your fans look forward to and expect from you in 2014?
J: They can expect me to bring them more hot music, more hot shows and more hot videos. Everything I am now is because of my fans’ love and support, so it’s only right I stay connected to them by giving them what they want, which is “All Of Me.”
RR: Definitely sounds like you’re going to continue to give your fans what they want! So if they want to contact you, let em’ know how.
RR: Got it! Would you like to give any special shout outs?
J: Shout out to my G.M. team, my city (Buffalo), my fans, my supporters and you, Redd Roxx, for giving me the opportunity to have this awesome interview :-)
RR: Aw, you’re more than welcome, it was my pleasure! Before you go, leave us with your favorite quote:
J: “If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.”
(Photos are courtesy of Johnal’s Facebook page).