Hayword, California native Johnny Maxwell has had his eye on the prize since he first picked up a mic. Music has always been in his life and will always remain in his life. You may ask who this artist I am speaking highly of. Well, let’s just say, he’s one that should not be taken lightly. About three years ago, Johnny auditioned for The X Factor USA and made it all the way to the judge’s houses-and by judges I mean artists like Britney Spears and Demi Lovato-who all said nothing but positive things about the 20-year-old sensation.
The quadruple threat-meaning singer, dancer, rapper, and writer-is a force to be reckoned with. With a fan base rapidly growing, bomb music, and a voice to easily wrap us around his fingers, we have no choice but to be part of #teamjohnny.
– Finish this sentence: My name is Johnny Maxwell and I am…
My name is Johnny Maxwell and I am a 20-year-old singer/song writer from Castro Valley, California.
– Do you come from a musical family? How does your family feel about your career?
My Dad use to make music when he was about my age. He’s supported me since the beginning of my career from the very first time I told him I wanted to make music. My Mom currently does some signing in her Church, she wasn’t really as supportive in the beginning, at least not until she saw that I actually had something and started to build a fan base off the music.
Who are some of your musical influences?
Growing up I loved listening to Justin Timberlake. When Drake came around I immediately became a fan because of how unique he was as an artist. Writing wise, I currently listen to a lot of Marc E. Bassy’s music as well as Ty Dolla $ign. Not only do I love the writing they compose, but also how creative and beautiful the melodies they create are.
– What inspires you to make music?
One main inspiration in making music has always been to prove myself right and whoever doubts me wrong. I’m now starting to get more in touch with my writing and creation of music. Whether that be personal stories or maybe a story of a friends, I always strive to make my writing both relevant and honest.
– Take us back to the first day you picked up a microphone. What was the song you sang and how did you feel at that moment?
To be honest I can’t remember the first time I picked up a microphone. But what I do remember is my first show. It was a benefit show that took place at my high school. I remember being so nervous hoping that I wouldn’t forget my words and that I would do a good job. When it finally came time to perform I didn’t forget the words… I did however stare directly at the stage floor the entire time! I was so nervous and embarrassed, but it felt right to me. From then on I continued performing and practicing, aiming to make every performance better than the previous one.
– Three years ago you auditioned for The X-Factor and made it all the way to the judge’s houses. Tell me about the process. What incited you to audition?
The process for auditioning for the X-Factor was a fairly long one with multiple pre-auditions. I personally didn’t want to audition. My mom had brought it up to me and I told her it would be pointless because there were over millions of people that were going to audition all over the U.S. My mom ended up talking me into it and from there my journey began. The audition had the largest crowd I had ever performed in front of! I remember going on that stage and telling myself, “This is it Johnny, give it all you got.” After having a successful audition I was flown out to Miami for the second part of the show and after being cut towards the end of that I was put back into a group and stayed in Miami for another week for the Judges Houses. The whole thing was a blessing and something I’ll never forget.
– Your self-titled EP Johnny Maxwell was released last year. Can you tell us a little about the recording process? What producers did you work with? What’s your favorite track off your EP?
My self-titled EP was and still is very important to me. For a period of time in my life I stopped making music. I had so many personal things going on that I let it take away the one thing that could make me happy at any time. This EP showed people that I was back and not only that but I improved as an artist and was ready to show them the new me through my music. The whole project was created with my good friends Foolish Ways. They’re an awesome team and super talented; the project wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for them.
– If you could work with one producer and one artist for one whole album, who would they be?
I don’t know if there’s a specific producer I’d want to work with but I do know I’d love to work with Marc E. Bassy on a project one day. He’s one of my inspirations as a writer and pushes me to become a better writer every time I listen to his music.
– What can you bring to RnB?
I feel I can bring character into the RnB world.
– In one word, how would you describe your sound?
– Musically speaking, what can we look forward to this year?
I’m currently working on an amazing project that should be finished in the next 2 months. I’ve been working on it since I released my self-titled EP last year. I’m very proud of how it’s coming together.
– Any touring plans or upcoming performances for 2016?
I have a few shows coming up this summer in places like California and Arizona as well as a bunch of private performances in different parts of the U.S.
– Anything else you would like to say/add?
I’m starting to notice a small progression in my career, and it seems as though the more I keep working hard, the more opportunities that present themselves. I’m looking forward to rest of this year and what opportunities are ahead.
– How can fans listen to your music and get hold of you?
Interviewed by: Simone Grant