From choir boy origins, to high profile collaborations; Johnson Orchid chats originality and versatility with Wonderland
So when did your music career start?
My music career started when I was 13 years old, from singing in the choir, to going to the studio with my brothers (who are also musicians). Majority of the time we’d be in the studio all night, knowing full well I had school in the morning! Then I started doing my own music when I turned 16, though you could say that I grew up with music as my parents were always playing music around the house.
What kind of music was playing in your house?
I grew up listening to a spectrum of music like; Led zeppelin, Prince, Jimmy Hendrix, Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Queen, Sam Cooke, Elvis Presley, Rascal Flatts, Madonna, Rachelle Ferrell, Kim Burrell and the Jackson5. There was often an eclectic mix of music in the house from Bob Marley to Michael Jackson.
What else inspires you other than music?
I have always been a lover of art. I studied fine art and animation at university so I’d definitely say I’m inspired by art. My mother is also a great source of inspiration for me, and fantasy. When I say fantasy I mean the imagination… For example, someone might look at Superman and write a song about him in general, but I would look at what actually makes him Superman, something beyond the obvious. I would draw inspiration from that and probably go on to write a song call ‘RED CAPE’. I’m also inspired by the little details that make life special, like the beauty of a flower… particularly the Orchid!
Let’s talk about your sound. “I’ll be There” introduces more of an electro-pop sound, which is quite different to your earlier music like “My Audition” was this a conscious decision?
Yes, that’s right, it was a conscious decision on my part. I wanted to show my versatility as an artist by showing different sides to my character, which is also a type of refection of my music, which is just as diverse. I love doing acoustic, but I can also flip it to a more pop infused sound with a bit of trap thrown in. I just like to keep people on their toes. I hate to be predictable and I always like to offer the unexpected through my music. My main thing is that I don’t ever want to be cliché, unless it’s in the right context of course!
Well that’s something you are not! What about future collaborations, you’ve worked with Ellie Goulding previously right?
Yes, there are other collaborations, but I like to keep the element of surprise! It will all be revealed in good time, so keep your ears open! I would say that my ultimate collaboration would have to be Prince, Adele, Queen, Paul McCartney or Naughty Boy. Prince, Queen and Paul McCartney are legends in the game and I just love what Adele and Naughty Boy are doing for the UK music scene.
Good choices! Which other artists are you backing at the moment?
There’s no one I’m backing at moment, but will be shortly. Keep a look out; as my manager Donald Sagsco and Creative Director, Tolu Adéko are always looking for fresh talents to collaborate with, not only recording artist but, from film makers and photographers to DJ’s and fine artists. I guess collaboration is the best way to work, everyone a special potion to make magic.
We will! Lastly what does the rest of 2014 have in store for you?
2014 is the year to establish myself as a unique artist coming from the heart of London. I will be releasing a debut EP later in the year, some more singles, creative videos, and of course some live shows… I absolutely love performing. We just finished shooting the video for my debut single ‘I’ll be There’ so I am very excited about you all seeing it. 2014 will be lot of hard work, with some great things to come.
Photography by Ben Lee
Styling by Mark Anthony
Art Direction by Tolu Adéko