Music Producer To Take On Local Shows
Brandon Bailey Johnson became the youngest professional music producer three years ago at the age of 12. Now a connection he made when he was young has brought him across the country to perform in Jamestown.
Guinness World Records recognized Johnson as the youngest professional music producer with the debut of his first album “My Journey.” Since then, the currently 15-year-old musician has bettered himself non-stop.
Having learned more instruments and composed several new albums, some personal and some collaborative, Johnson set out on the Good Vibes summer 2018 tour.
His relationship with Miki Girts first put him on the path to success when Johnson was encouraged to participate in open mic nights at an El Paso pizza restaurant. When Johnson was 7 years old, he went to work playing guitar and piano.
“Miki was really important; he helped me a lot,” Johnson said.
Joking that free pizza for every show he performed was his motivation, Johnson soon discovered his talent and passion in producing his own music. By the time he was 12 years old, he picked up other instruments including the drums, cello and violin. Adding singing and writing to the mix, Johnson got to work on his first album in 2014.
“Since then, I’ve been recording music for myself and others,” Johnson said. “Since then, I’ve dedicated a lot of time to getting better.”
He’s been performing to inspire people of all ages since as well, he said. Girts became the director for the Whirlybird Music and Arts Festival and invited Johnson to perform there Aug. 11. Tonight, Johnson will rock the Infinity Arts Cafe and give a short motivational speech to music students with a question and answer session to follow.
“I’m so stoked,” Johnson said. “I’m super excited for that.”
All part of his first major tour, these shows are meant to bring Johnson’s unique blend of contemporary and alternative rock music to new audiences. He’ll be performing a set consisting of songs from his third album “Heaven” and covers of popular hits.
Johnson is a one-man-band, a fact made even more impressive considering the multitude of albums he’s composed for other artists as well as himself. Having produced two Christmas albums and albums for a rapper and an indie rock band, he keeps himself busy with his music.
“Heaven” comes from a more mature place than his earlier work as Johnson has grown up a lot in the past few years. Heaven is used as a metaphor in the album, and its songs are focused on themes of self-betterment, loving others and struggling through mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
“Most of the songs were written from harder times,” Johnson said.
At the same time, Johnson’s production values boast positive-sounding riffs and beats. He said the song “This Can’t Be Me” features his best production talents. His recent work was remastered by Philip Dust from Sweden. Johnson’s music is available on Spotify, iTunes and SoundCloud.
“Lyrics are extremely hard to write,” said Johnson, who actually wants to become a published author by the time he turns 17.
Music may come first when he creates his songs, but his knack for writing originated even before his interests in music. Having filled composition books with stories as a child, Johnson said he’s written 35 books ranging from mystery to fantasy. His ultimate dream is to make film adaptations of his books while music pays the bills. He also wants to produce albums for other musicians.
“Writing takes so much time and a lot of commitment,” Johnson said.
So does film-making, but along with younger brother Chance and sister Shelby, Johnson is making a documentary for his tour. Another documentary will focus on Tocando, the El Paso Symphony Orchestra’s after-school program that introduces music to kids of all walks of life year-round.
Johnson helps the community understand music through various outlets like a Ted Talk in which he discussed music production and the art of collaboration. Rock 4 More is his own concert series that embodies the celebration of music. Rock 4 Dogs will help raise money for an animal shelter in the El Paso area. A children’s book, “Keep Reading, Writing, Rocking,” is in the works as well and attempts to document the past 10 years of Johnson’s creative life.
“I hope they can relate to the lyrics,” said Johnson, who wants to inspire people his age and younger to follow their goals.
Johnson’s journey can be followed at Brandon Bailey Johnson on Facebook, and a music video for his single “Better Things” can be found on Brandon Bailey Johnson – Official Channel on YouTube.