Johnny B is an electro-pop artist based in Nashville, Tennessee. He grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana, and began playing guitar at the age of thirteen. He has dabbled in several genres from jazz, funk, pop and contemporary christian music. Johnny found himself in the electro pop sphere after buying a Teenage Engineering OP-1 synthesizer and immersing himself in it completely. He learned how to sample everyday sounds from sources like video games, hand percussion, and even things as far out as baby otters. Johnny feels that the incredibly supportive and compassionate community is the greatest aspect of being an electro-pop artist, and social media has aided him in finding this community. His ultimate goal is that his music can create a space for positivity for his listeners.
All of Johnny’s expertise in the OP-1 synthesizer is culminated in his recently released single, “Welcome to OP-Wonderland”. True to his own description within the song title, this is a synthesizer wonderland. With such an eclectic mix of sounds, from vocal samples, video game sounds (Mario coin sample, anyone?), encompassed by a well produced beat, this song is a delight to listen to from start to finish. The structure of the song is light and uplifting, easy to listen to, and the only thing I wish for is more of it! At just under two minutes, this is a brief, but incredibly worthwhile tune to listen to. With the current atmosphere, sometimes music gets taken a little too seriously, and this is such a refreshing retreat from that mentality. If you put on “Welcome to OP-Wonderland”, you can prepare for a welcome retreat from the mundane realities of the world. Take yourself out of it for just a couple minutes and check this single out. If you need a couple more minutes of that, just put this thing on repeat!
Listen to “Welcome to OP-Wonderland” here and get to know more about Johnny B below!
Thanks for chatting with us, Johnny! Can you describe a bit about your background and how you first became involved in music?
Thanks for having me! Let’s see, I started playing drums around 10 years old. I was this super tiny kid sitting behind this enormous drum set at my church. It was definitely a sight, haha! I come from a big musical family, so it wasn’t long until I picked up guitar and then started playing that in church bands, funk bands, and jazz bands. I also had a short stint writing and performing super emo music at local spots, like old school Dashboard Confessional type. It was super moody. Unfortunately I damaged my voice pretty badly from singing wrong all those years, and that led to getting into music producing. I went to college for sound engineering for a few years, dropped out and moved to Nashville. I just felt like I was wasting time being in school when I should be out in the music world making connections and learning first hand.
You’ve got a really uplifting spirit to your music. Is this something that comes naturally with your experimentation or was it intentional?
Thank you very much! I guess it comes naturally? But recently I actually started being intentional about it. If you asked my friends they would probably tell you I’m a very optimistic and positive person. Even my wife would tell you she’s never seen me really mad or pissed off at anything haha! There’s certainly frustration in every day life, and there’s definitely a lot of negativity going on in the culture right now. But that’s why I make it a goal with everything I do, music and non music, to bring some form of positivity to everyone I encounter. Everyone deserves to be happy.
Who would you consider to be your biggest influences?
Oh man, first and foremost Shawn Wasabi is the jam! I definitely get a lot of inspiration from his music. He’s got so many weird and bubbly sounds that just make you happy. It’s so great! I try to bring that same bubbly vibe to my music. But I also grew up in New Orleans, so there’s definitely a hint of funk and blues in my music that I just can’t help. I love a good lazy beat that sits super behind the pocket. I would say my music is a cross between Shawn Wasabi and the Meters. If you can wrap your mind around that.
How would you characterize the music scene in Nashville?
This is actually pretty tricky, because everyone has a different experience with the music scene here in Nashville. Definitely a lot of country of course, and next to that I’d say Contemporary Christian Music is just as big here. I actually moved here to be a guitar player in the CCM scene, but there’s a TON of guitar players, and not too many OP-1ers. So I actually haven’t done too much guitar, just a lot of OP-1 and programming on other people’s records.
One other thing I do need to say about this city, is that you won’t find a more kind and humble community of musicians than here in Nashville. I moved here thinking it would be super competitive and hard to make a living doing music, and it is, but the people you meet here make it a lot easier for sure. Even some “A-listers” I met were more than happy to help me make connections and improve my craft. I’m still blown away at how kind and helpful everyone is here. It’s like we’re all in the same boat, just trying to make good music.
What can we hope to see from you in the future?
I believe music isn’t just something you listen to, but an experience that brings people together. So I’m hoping to grow this OP-1 community on instagram more and put out more resources for them like tutorials and sample packs. I’m also working on some super fun collaborations with some YouTubers I can’t wait for everyone to see! It’s seriously some crazy off the wall stuff that’s about to go down. That’s probably the thing I’m exited for the most. So be on the look out for that!
Connect with Johnny B on social media