GET TO KNOW: Louis Vann Johnson
With an impressive resume, which includes playing for European artist Patrice Bart-Williams, being featured on BBC London with Robert Elms, and performing at Glastonbury, emerging singer and songwriter Louis Vann Johnson is growing his profile extremely fast and now returns with his latest gem 'Backfired'.
Channelling a warm and effervescent direction from start to finish, 'Backfired' shows us exactly why so many have been switching onto him of late. With its soaring textures and sublime vocals layered throughout, we can't wait to see where this journey takes him next.
So with the new single doing the rounds, we sat down with him to find out more about his origins and inspirations over the years.
What was the first instrument you learned to play?
The first instrument I learnt was the guitar. I actually come from a line of guitar players: my dad, my uncle, my aunty, my grandad and my great grandad! But I just always wanted to play it. I never used to say “when would I learn to play the guitar?”, I just said “when I play the guitar…”. Even before I could play I thought I could!
What was the first album you remember owning?
The first album I remember owning I think was Usher’s “8701” when I was around 13. I rinsed that album haha! However, I remember having the cassette of “Thriller” when I was little so maybe that was the first one but can’t really say I owned it, I was like 3-4 years old, you don’t own anything at that age lol. Do we ever really own anything? Interesting question…
Did you ever form a band and when you were younger and if so what did they sound like?
Hahaha yes i did! We went from 7 of us originally to 3 then to 4 then back to 3 lol. We were very committed though and I learnt a lot from the experience. Our sound was straight up RnB typical 2000s boy group. But we sang, we danced, we rapped, wrote and produced our own songs. Even got to play at “Oceans” in Hackney before we were 16. (That was a big deal back then hahaha)
What is a song you wish you had written yourself?
Ah that’s a good question! I think I’m going to have to go with Stevie Wonder’s “Ribbon In The Sky”. I love the melody, lyrics and chord progression. Just everything about it is magical to me. Ooooh and maybe on par with that is M.J’s “Man In The Mirror”. I find that song so emotive and its message is so deep but simple. Beautiful writing on both songs.
What has been the most thrilling moment about creating your own music?
I can’t say there has been one moment as it’s more about that continuous feeling of discovering things. The joy that brings you when searching through the musical ether and finding the thing you were looking for is so satisfying. Actually, I can also say that creating this E.P has been massive for me, it feels like a sort of full circle or homecoming of self. I’ve desired to make a piece like this for years and while making it, revisited some great musical memories and lessons.
And what about the most frustrating part?
I’d say I don’t really get frustrated with my creative process but I guess if I had to pick on something it’d be technical stuff. You know when it comes to mixing, mastering, little technical obstacles your creative self did not think about and left for your music engineer self to deal with haha. But even the challenge is that I still found it exciting.
Which artist would you most love to share a stage with?
I’d say Bruno Mars, because his shows are musically exciting. He really uses the musicianship of his band but manages to keep the balance by not over indulging solely in the music but by keeping the show fun and interactive. This is something I also love to do when I perform with a band. I think that mix of good musicianship and showmanship is captivating and I do it because it would be something I’d enjoy seeing.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Ideally, I’d like to be more known to the public. I’d love to be touring or have that as an option, have more music out and be collaborating with like minded creatives.
Louis Vann Johnson's new single 'Backfired' is available to stream now. Check it out below.