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Spotlight on Matt Johnson


Country singer and Texas native Matt Johnson recently moved to Hudson Valley, NY to pursue his dream of becoming a professional singer.  At the age of 16, he has already found success in the music industry: Johnson made it to the top five in Radio Disney’s Next Big Thing, which he described as “one of the coolest weeks of my life!”  Shortly after working with Ric Poulin (Bristol Pro Vocal Coach), Johnson won the local Texaco Country Showdown, the nation’s largest and longest running Country Talent Search.  His accomplishments include performing at the Texas State Fair mainstage, at Old Settler’s Music Festival, as well as opening for the Jonas Brothers.

After competing in Radio Disney’s N.B.T., Johnson was invited to join a kids group called, Kidz in Motion.  Their first performance was for the local Radio Disney station at the Dallas Zoo, Johnson recollects, “I loved it. Wanting to help in the community, I became part of God’s Country Kids, a non-profit organization that performs for local charities and old folks homes.”

Johnson started his journey to a music career when he was seven years old with Suzuki violin; a method of listening to a classical piece of music and then playing it by ear.  But it was two years later that he really got involved in singing, “I began singing in public after taking a theater class where my teacher told me I wasn’t a good singer.  I wanted to prove her wrong, so I asked for vocal lessons.”  (Now if that isn’t a tenacious, determined, and positively rebellious attitude, we don’t know what is; an admirable quality from someone so young.)

“Dodge Ram” is one of Johnson’s latest creations, “A boy's dream truck: big tires, painted camo, a superhero kind of truck. Hot girls and the best of the best in country music on the radio.”  This song was written last summer by Johnson in collaboration with his piano teacher, Julie Bonk, after talking about what kind of car he wanted when he turned 16.  The animation was brilliantly done by a friend of the family and is now up on YouTube.  And to satisfy everyone’s curiosity, yes, The Johnson’s do own a Dodge Ram diesel truck (camo coming soon).

Johnson plays well with others, so it’s no doubt that he is eager to do so again, “The list of people I would love to collaborate with is huge, but people like Eric Church and Miranda Lambert (both amazing songwriters) are on the top of my list.”  Proficient country artists of today may be rewarding to work with, but Johnson’s musical influences goes back in time, “I grew up listening to greats like Sinatra, Janis Joplin, and Johnny Cash to name a few.  But John Denver is probably my biggest musical influence; I like his storytelling.”

Johnson’s latest song, “Dad-gum Waltz” was inspired by his piano teacher.  She told him that he needed to work on his 3/4 count (the waltz) and naturally, Johnson took on the challenge, “It started out as a kind of rant about school dances, but as I was writing it turned into a comedic love song.”

Bristol has made a huge impact on Johnson’s career.  Last summer he was invited to attend Bristol’s boot camp where he worked with Ric Poulin, Chris Billias (Senior Producer), and Vocal Coaches April Forrest and Elle Wine.  He thoroughly enjoyed recording a few of the songs he had written and recommends Bristol to everyone, due especially to their experienced staff.  He has noticed just how much taking voice lessons at Bristol has helped improve his singing, “Bristol has really helped with my vocals.  There were some issues I had been having for a while and Ric fixed them and helped increase my range.”

Being so young and already having a clear vision of what he wants to do in life, it’s hard not to envy the 16 year old.  If Johnson continues on the path he’s on, there’s no doubt he’ll succeed.  And it’s even more impressive that he foresees philanthropy in his future, “My aspirations in my career are to make a living making music and always give back.”

Watch Matt Johnson's New Video "Dodge Ram"

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