Music. Sometimes you want to know more about the musician than just their music, because their life has just been that interesting and that eclectic. That’s the way we feel about Johnnie Mikel. Originally from Kentucky and moved to New York, the musician has had quite the eclectic influence on his music.
The singer just released his song Friday Night and we’re excited to bring you a behind the scenes look from his music video.
Looks like a great time – right?
See the music video below –
And here’s our exclusive interview with Johnnie. Enjoy and be sure to pick up his song ASAP.
Describe your music to us.
My music could be described as grandiose pop with a lot of dance and R&B elements. I like to incorporate an edgier style and interesting meaningful lyric in everything I do. It really suits me well and is honestly who I am.
What artists inspire you?
I definitely grew up in the generation of Britney and Justin Timberlake, so they’d be big influences on me, for sure. However, I also grew up listening to a lot of music before my time like classic rock, pop, and R&B. The Beatles, Aerosmith, Billy Joel, David Bowie, Janet Jackson… legendary artists like that. I feel like having all these different influences helped me find my own unique lane as an artist.
You got into the business at such a young age, what motivated you? What advice would you give you give to others trying to break into the business?
I started playing guitar at 14 and began writing with professional songwriters in Nashville when I was 16. I moved to the city full-time as soon as I turned 18. I think it was just the fact that I knew what I wanted to do at a young age that kept me motivated. I wanted to prove to myself and to others that I could walk into a studio as a teenager, take control of the room, and become successful in the industry.
One of my favorite pieces of advice I’ve been given came from my vocal producer in Nashville a couple years ago. She told me that the artist I aspire to be is the artist I already am. I just had to awaken it. After hearing that, the way I looked at everything changed. I always wanted to dye my hair blue and dreamed of making the kind of music I’m doing now… so I began speaking up in writing sessions, saying what I wanted to say in the studio, and of course, I colored my hair for the first time! It was really the process of claiming my power, using my authentic voice, and becoming fearless in my actions that changed everything for me. Basically, you can’t have any self-doubt. You have to find and know yourself. You have to put your dreams into action and work towards them relentlessly. Surrounding yourself with genuine and amazing people who inspire you is also incredibly important.
Your website says that you spent a lot of time defining your sound and what exactly you want to say. What is it that you want to say?
Tell us about Friday Night (your song). What makes you proud of the song? Why should people listen to it?
Friday Night was such a fun song to write and record! Nash Overstreet killed the production on the track. I remember we had a discussion about our favorite styles of music. I told him I grew up listening to Britney and JT. He shared with me a ton of 90’s and early 2000’s R&B references that he was really into. I think that throwback R&B flavor mixed with the modern pop sound is what makes Friday Night so fun and something everyone can enjoy. There’s so many colorful visuals in the lyrics and it’s all about having a good time and not taking things too seriously. That’s what I love most about it. It’s a bop anyone can enjoy, haha!
Born in Kentucky, raised in NYC. That’s quite a contrast. How did each place influence your music?
It was SUCH a contrast. I feel like Kentucky was a really good place for me to spend the early years of my life. I got to spend a lot of quality time with my family and it was a great place to grow up. When I moved to NYC at 11, things changed a lot for me. I saw people of so many different walks of life. So much culture and diversity. I feel like NYC definitely made me a more open-minded, creative, and accepting individual.
Whats the best thing about being a musician? What’s the worst?
I think the best AND the most challenging would have to be the traveling. I love getting to visit new places, play shows/write songs across the country, and making new fans along the away. However, sometimes I really miss being home surrounded by friends, family, and my pets. It’s challenging to keep in touch with people I really care about sometimes. The music industry can be an interesting thing. I love the creative energy and being around inspiring artists, but finding people who are real and genuine can be extremely difficult. I’m so blessed to have always had a great group of people around me who truly care about how I’m doing. Even if I don’t get to talk to my friends for several days at a time because I’m in LA or somewhere else working non-stop, I know they’re always there. I really cherish that.
Tell us about the One Word Foundation and why it’s important to you.
The One Word Foundation is something I created a couple years back. It was based off of a song I wrote titled “One” and the message is all about the power of words. They can be used to build others up and bring them together or to tear them down and divide. One word or action can change a lot. I started taking donations at my live shows a couple years ago on behalf of the One Word Foundation to benefit several different causes close to my heart. I’ve also had the honor of getting to perform for Boys & Girls Club locations across the nation, various community and charity events, etc. Speaking at a synagogue in downtown LA to a children’s choir a year and a half ago was one of the highlights of my career thus far. Getting to talk and sing for them, before being surprised by a performance they put together for me was so inspiring. It reminded me why I do what I do.
If the world could learn one thing from you, what would it be?
It’s hard for me to answer that! I want my music and actions to inspire people, but I’m not here to preach at people or tell them how to live their lives. I’m certainly not perfect, but that’s something I love about myself. I’m really unapologetic about who I am, what I do, how I dress, etc. I feel like if everyone in the world felt comfortable enough to do whatever they wanted and be the truest version of themselves without the judgement of others, the world would be a much better place than it is now.
What legacy do you hope your music leaves behind one day?
I hope I can leave behind a legacy of just being kind to everyone I encounter. I want to make people feel good about themselves. I aspire to tear down walls and bring all people together through my art. I just want to make people smile. I think that’s a great legacy to leave behind.