Singer/songwriter/producer Johnny Stimson revealed his latest single “Flower” on April 5th.
The self-produced single is a soulful/r&b record about “those sweet moments you get and you want to pause time and live in them for a while. I just liked the image of the flower that blooms for just a moment and then is gone as quickly as it came,” says Stimson.
Stimson delivers soulful vocals along with a dazzling falsetto and a stripped-down production with this promising new single.
Inspired by the likes of The Beatles, Tom Misch, Sam Cooke, and Frank Ocean, the Dallas-native signed with Elton John's label, Rocket Records. Having toured with the likes of SoMo and Tori Kelly, as well as headlining his own shows across Asia, Stimson is undoubtedly an artist to watch.
“Flower” is available worldwide.
What's your story?
I grew up in Dallas and have been in bands and writing music since I was a teenager. The last little while has been a whirlwind of traveling, getting married, and writing tons of songs to be the soundtrack of my life.
Growing up, what were you passionate about?
Before music, I went through a lot of different phases and passions. I love to learn something myself, so music was a perfect fit when I really started to understand how it works. Before that, I was really into skateboarding for a time and did some competitions. I also did (and still do) love to draw and would do caricatures for parties and stuff. That was my first job!
Do you remember a specific moment in your life where music made a huge difference?
This is a tough question. I could probably relate a specific song to almost every huge moment in my life. It is so attached to my memories! One that comes to mind was one of those surprise things that comes along when you don’t quite expect it. I wrote a song called “Holding On,” with my friend Dan Romer and we didn’t really think anything would come out of it. It was a piano ballad that wasn’t quite in my vibe at the time. Unexpectedly, it happened to be synched for a big television advert in the UK and ended up breaking some shazam records and charting over there for a while. It was a wild experience because all of the sudden I was getting a lot of attention for something that I didn’t think was “my style.” I think the part that made a huge difference was when I saw so many responses saying it had brought comfort and peace to people going through hard times. I kept seeing the sweetest messages and it reminded me that music can be powerful far beyond the voice singing it. Every song has a special story for everyone who hears it.
When did you know you could sing?
Haha I recorded myself singing “Brain Stew” on a video camera when I was probably 14. I had never heard my voice played back like that. I remember reeeeally not liking the way it sounded. But you know what? I think singing is truly a muscle that I have learned to develop and am still learning to control every day. I think God gives us each a voice and anyone who wants to can sing if you keep rocking! I remember hearing my song “So. Good.” for the first few times when it was finished and thinking, “wow, I wish I could show this to high school Johnny for some encouragement!”
When did you realize you were good at what you do?
I suppose I’ve always had encouraging voices around me. My family and friends have been such huge supporters of my songs and I think they genuinely love the music that I make. Ultimately though, I don’t know how good I am compared to the whole world of music out there. I just want to make the music that I love to hear.
At what point did you decide to pursue music as a career? What did your friends and family think of it?
I decided toward the end of my Junior year in college. I studied finance and wrote a million songs during those first few years. I remember talking with my parents a lot and they were supportive through and through. The last day I could’ve done the career fair, I remember my roommates getting dressed up in suits to meet potential employers. I put on a t shirt and that was that. Moved to NYC right after I finished school and haven’t looked back!
Who was the first person to ever believe in you?
Probably my mom and dad. Dad really helped me develop my musical ear and they’ve both been big believers in me (sometimes even when I didn’t believe in myself).
You've just released your new single "Flower". What's the story behind this song?
I wrote most of this one on tour. I got to fly home to visit my wife for a couple days and it was perfect but it felt like it came and went in a blink. I travel a lot and my wife is so supportive of that. This song is just about those sweet moments you get and you want to pause time and live in them for a while. I just liked the image of the flower that blooms for just a moment and then is gone as quickly as it came.
Could you describe us the songwriting/production process for this song? Who did you work with?
For this one, I wrote, recorded, produced, and mixed it all myself! I have been working on learning more about production this last year and that’s been a big goal of mine. I’m so happy with how it turned out, but I’m already trying to push my boundaries and keep getting better. I wrote most of it on guitar while I was on tour and then recorded it over a couple days right when I got home in December.
What did you feel when writing this song?
I felt like it really captured my homesickness and the sweetness I felt getting little moments with my wife. I like writing it because it feels like singing a little lullaby.
What made you want to release "Flower" as a single?
This song seems like a new era for me. My last bigger project was called “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow” and it felt like it was time for a fresh thing. I’ve been really enjoying R&B music lately so I’m trying to bring some of that into my pop melodies.
What message do you want to convey through your art?
My mission is to spread joy through my music. I love to write love songs and celebrate all of life’s moments, big and small. I want to explore the range of my own emotional experience and see if I can sing it out with a melody. I hope it will encourage people and make them dance when they’re happy and hopeful when they’re sad.
How would you define Johnny Stimson, the artist?
Johnny Stimson the artist. That guy is me. I think Johnny Stimson is a soulful pop singer and producer who writes really catchy melodies and sings about real life. The songs are hopeful, but they don’t hold back.
As an artist, what are the biggest challenges?
It’s really hard to cut through right now because there is just so much incredible music. It’s easy for me to get lost in the world of data and social media and a big challenge is just to keep reminding myself that music is my absolute favorite thing. Sometimes I can get bogged down in details and I just need to take a full day to write and create. I love that process so much!
What does it mean for you to be an artist?
It is so much fun! I love what I do every day and I’m surprised sometimes how much my songs have touched people around the world. It’s such an honor when anyone takes the time to hear the thing I spent time to make. I feel some sense of responsibility to keep trying my best to write honest songs because so many people have supported me along the way. It means so much to feel that love and I like being able to come out with new stuff that I feel is great.
What's the best advice you've ever received? Who was it from?
My wife is amazing. Recently, before we went to bed we were praying for some friends who lost a family member. It was a really sad tragedy that reminded us both how short life can be. After we prayed, she just looked at me and said “I don’t want to waste time.” It has been so motivating for me as a man and as an artist. She reminds me every day to make the most of my life and I’m really thankful for that.
What advices would you give to anyone who'd like to pursue their dreams?
One thing I’ve learned along the way is that there are a lot of ways to make money in the music business. It isn’t easy all the time, but it’s a massive economy and there are a lot of ways to climb the mountain. Almost every single ad and every single piece of video media has some music attached. Finding those opportunities can be a big part of keeping the business rolling. I am still finding my way, but I hope people will remember it’s not just about touring and radio and labels and stuff. It’s about obsessing over your craft and making something that is really really good. The ultimate advice I’m trying to follow myself is just to be honest with the songs you write.
In your opinion, what would make the world a better place?
I heard about a study where people just stare into a stranger’s eyes for four minutes and how the effects can be so powerful. I don’t know if we can all take time to do that with everyone we meet, but I think maybe if we just all stopped and took more deep breaths to remember that we are all people and we should be gentle and kind with each other. Everybody is just like me.
What biggest lessons have you learnt as a human being and as an artist?
I’ve gotten a lot of incredible advice from my family and friends. Maybe this isn’t the craziest I’ve ever received, but it really struck me the other day. I got home from the studio at about 3am and I was watching The Office because I couldn’t fall asleep. Jim is almost fully heartbroken and Michael tells him, “Never ever ever give up.” It hit me right in the face and reminded me that what I’m doing matters. Working really hard to put something beautiful into the world is inherently good! I will not give up!
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