With his current single “Friday Night” making waves on pop charts, Authority Magazine sat down with Johnnie Mikel to discuss his musical journey thus far, his advice for other artists, and what’s next for him.
1. You’re quickly making a name for yourself in the pop space. Can you talk about the road you’ve taken to get here and your current single “Friday Night?”
I’m so grateful for all the love “Friday Night” has received lately! It’s definitely been a journey to get here. I’ve had a few lows along the way, but many amazing highs. It’s kind of surreal to suddenly have such visibility and people knowing my songs and who I am. Spontaneously hearing my song on the radio or in public is still really fresh and exciting to me. I don’t really think that feeling will fade. Behind the scenes, I’ve been writing/recording for both myself and other projects for quite a while. I moved to Nashville full time 3 years ago and began taking trips to LA in 2016. I’ve been working really hard in the industry for all that time and am so elated to see that hard work finally paying off.
2. What has been the hardest part for you about carving a space for yourself in the pop genre?
The most difficult part of finding my space in the pop genre is the fact that I don’t like being defined or put in a box. I never want to be viewed as a cookie cutter artist that doesn’t push the envelope in every sense. While I do think the pop scene is slowly moving into that edgy and honest place, it’s still easy to lose focus from what really matters: the music and the fans. Too often I feel like we focus on the wrong things, like how many Instagram followers we have or trying to create a squeaky clean or contrived image of ourselves for the world to see. It’s all about being honest! That’s why I can’t wait for everyone to hear the music I’m making right now. To this date, I’ve dropped a lot of fun party songs and lighter material to establish myself. But now is the first time I’ve really opened up about my personal life, relationships, and becoming extremely vocal about issues facing our country/world. I’m so excited to show another side of me!
3. What are three tips you would give to an aspiring artist?
- Find yourself. Become the person you’ve always wanted to be… and when you arrive, never be afraid to speak up or let anything derail or dull your vision.
- Make sure you surround yourself with good people you can be real with. It’s tiring when you constantly have to hold back and you’re questioning if people have your best interests at heart.
- It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Sometimes it’s best to take a step back, live life, and try new things for that honest creativity to take over. Working hard and never giving up is key, but it’s easy to spin your tires and not make real progress without pacing yourself.
4. What are some major goals you have for yourself in the next few years?
I’d love to have some major touring opportunities and get to see more songs of mine climb the charts while taking over radio. Receiving an award of some sort would also be such an honor. More than anything, I just want to be as happy as I am now while making art and getting to take it to the highest level I can.
5. How do you hold yourself accountable to make sure you’re on the right track?
I keep myself on track by surrounding myself with amazing people. They keep me honest and are always there to help. I’m so grateful for my friends, family, and team. I really hope I’m able to return the love they’ve shown me.
6. Is there someone that you’re especially keen on working with?
Working with Max Martin is a lifelong dream of mine! He’s produced and written so many iconic #1’s and hits. One day I’d love to have the opportunity to work with him.
7. What’s next for you?
I’m currently in LA finishing up my new project, while simultaneously planning to drop some never-heard-before singles over the summer. I realize it’s been a while since I’ve released anything and don’t want to keep my fans waiting. Then, as soon as I’m back in Nashville, I’m starting rehearsals for some live shows I have planned. I can’t wait!!!