Interview: Country singer-songwriter, Danielle Johnson, Talks New Music and Her Love of Nashville
Country singer-songwriter, Danielle Johnson, recently released her debut track, "Let It Be You” and her official music video for the song! The North Carolina native has had experience acting in Broadway’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas, performing The National Anthem at NASCAR races- including the Charlotte Motor Speedway, and the Coca-Cola 600 among other events. We had the opportunity to talk with her before she embarks on a US tour this Fall in support of her self-titled EP release.
Thank you for talking with us Danielle. When and how did your passion for music start?
When I was in elementary school, we had music class a couple days a week. My music teacher said she was walking around the room and could hear this voice coming out of the group. It turns out, it was me. My teacher then proceeds to tells my parents that I was blessed with a God-given talent- we had no idea. Later on, I was asked to sing for special entertainment at my school event. Of course, I said yes. I was super excited. I remember when I stood on that stage for the first time. It was magical, truly. I had no nerves whatsoever. I thought to myself, "Wow, this is it. This is my passion. This is me. I've found it."
Can you give us a little background on your debut song, “Let It Be You?”
I wrote, "Let It Be You," with Jennifer Denmark and Briana Tyson. We were all just sitting talking about our past relationships and how sometimes friends become something more. It was so fun to write about something so common, yet exciting and risky. It's all about taking that dive, all in.
How was it making the music video?
Oh my gosh, I had the best time ever. Everyone was so nice and talented. My team worked so hard on this project. The crew really put in the extra work to make this an amazing video. Their vision was spot-on and it really shows. We shot all day and night, and when it was over I wanted to do it all over again. I was in my element for sure!
Why did you decide to work Grammy Award-winning producer, Guy Eckstine?
I was in New York City in 2014 at an audition for a TV show. Guy Eckstine sat down in the lobby next to me, and we started a conversation. Guy was there mastering a record at Masterdisk which was on the same floor where I was. He asked me what I did, and I told him that my passion was singing country music. It turns out, Guy was a record producer and artist manager. I then sent him a video of me performing our National Anthem at Charlotte Motor Speedway. We met a couple days later, and we discussed his creative development plan. Here we are, four years later still working together!
Who are some artists you would love to tour with and why.
Taylor Swift for sure. She seems like such a genuine and sweet person. She is an amazing songwriter and performer. I have always respected and admired her since the beginning of her career and continue to. The way she pours her heart out in a song and is able to write such vulnerable, raw lyrics is incredible. I recently went to her Reputation Tour and WOW. I was blown away. It was insane! I also would love to go on tour with Carrie Underwood. She's an amazing vocalist and her belt range is huge! I love her also!
What impact do you want your music to have on this chaotic world of ours?
My goal is to touch so many fans globally through my music. I want people to dance and turn on the radio, and make them feel something emotionally. When you're standing on that stage, you're in the moment. For however long you're on that stage, you’re telling stories and connecting with the audience. Feeling the energy from the crowd and knowing that you're giving yourself to them feels great!
What makes Nashville special to you?
Nashville is an amazing city and I am so blessed to be able to live there. There's no place like Nashville. The musical history in this town fills volumes. It's so interesting to learn about the legacy of Country music and all that has happened here, including its cultural impact. The city is big, but small at the same time. Everyone is so welcoming and kind. The music industry is like one big family. You don't get that just anywhere. It's special here for sure.
Can you remember your first trip here?
I definitely remember the first time I went to Nashville. I was literally so excited and eager. When I drove down Music Row for the first time it was not what I expected. It was even better! Downtown was crazy and music was everywhere! You couldn't go down a single block without hearing it. I also had my first co-write in Nashville.
If you designed your own walking food tour of Nashville, which restaurants/food sellers would be on your list of places to visit?
Rotier's for sure. It has the best home-cooked food, the kind that you get in North Carolina (where I grew up). Taco Mamacita is really yummy and is in a hip part of town. Loveless Café has great food too. Tokyo Japanese Steakhouse in Green Hills is amazing! There are so many more places to explore!
Of course we love your style, any favorite Nashville shops?
There's Bella Boutique which is a really cute store. I absolutely love Free People, of course. Posh has really nice and cute things too.
What is your favorite breakfast? Waffle and bacon
What is your favorite sandwich? Grilled chicken sandwich
Home cooking or going out for dinner? There's nothing like a good home cooked meal from my Nana. She makes the best food, but I also enjoy going out to dinner with my family and friends.
What’s on your pizza? Pepperoni, sausage, and meatballs (meat lovers)
Is there something you really don’t like? Peas. I don't like any kind of pea.
Finally, if you could be sponsored by one food/drink brand who would it be and why?
Definitely Pepsi. A ton of singers and celebs have participated in some way with the Pepsi brand like, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, and Cindy Crawford!
About Danielle Johnson:
Warsaw, North Carolina native, Danielle Johnson is an 18-year-old singer-songwriter with her sights set on the Country music scene. Delivering her music with a wide range of influences encompassing pop-appeal and rootsy authenticity, Johnson is ready to make her mark. The multi-talented artist has had experience acting in Broadway’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas, performing The National Anthem at NASCAR races including the Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Coca-Cola 600 among other events. Over the course of the last four years, Johnson has spent her time recording and co-writing with artists including Phil Galdston, Jennifer Denmark, Mike Dekle, Dave Brainard, JP Williams, Michael Hunter Ochs, and Keesy Timmer, among others. Danielle Johnson will continue to perform a string of dates in the Nashville area and will embark on a US tour this fall in support of her self-titled EP release.