They say, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. This seems to be the maxim that recording artist Johnta Austin has been following for years. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Johnta has a long history in the music industry, dating back to the mid-90s when the R&B singer signed to RCA Records at the age of 13. cut short a year later when he was taken off the label, replaced by another promising young singer from Watts, LA â € “ Tyrese Gibson.
While one door was closed for the teenage singer, another opened for the young writer. Johnta turned his penchant for words into a career that spanned over a decade of success â € “ his first success being by chance the top 10 of 1998 “Adorable girl», Sung by Gibson. Since then, Johnta has written songs for some of the industry’s biggest artists, winning two Grammy Awards for songs with Mariah Carey (“We Belong Together”) and Mary J. Blige (“Be Without You”). Other artists he has blessed with his quill include the late Whitney Houston, Jennifer Hudson, Tamia, Janet Jackson and many more.
14 years after his first recording contract with RCA, now is the time for Austin to show off his vocal talent to accompany his writing skills. Signed with his frequent collaborator Jermaine Dupri’s So So Def Recordings and with a new uptempo single, “What a Feeling” produced by Dupri and Grammy producer Bryan-Michael Cox, from his upcoming mixtape Love, the southern singer is set to resuscitate the state of R&B.
Listen to “What a Feeling” by Johnta Austin
Learn more about the singer-songwriter below, as he chatted with Singersroom about the pressure of succumbing to pop music, his writing process, his hobbies and more.
Singing room: Do you feel any pressure to release music based on current pop trends?
Johnta: No pressure, I try not to worry or make music, or release music depending on the pressure. I sort of do it and stay true to myself and keep my fingers crossed that people recognize something that I think they’ll like.
Singing room: As a successful songwriter for others, does it get complicated trying to be creative for your own project?
Johnta: Yes. Well, yes and no. No, as making music has never really been complicated, thankfully. But yes, from the point of view of creating something that speaks the truth that you are working with. With the artists you know, the majority of the work is done simply by being around them and reminding yourself that you are there to help them and assist them in their visions. We’re just kind of conduits to help them speak their truth. While writing for myself, I try to figure out how to best express what I am feeling, bring it out and do it in a way that people will appreciate.
Singing room: What do you think are the biggest differences in writing for yourself and for other artists?
Johnta: Not too much thought. I think when we write for ourselves, especially the songwriters who are also artists, sometimes you try to set the bar or put something in there that’s like, “Oh, I want to do it. that way, or I want to do something completely different from what I did. Instead of just being true to who you are as a creator and not trying to reinvent the wheel. I think sometimes that’s my biggest challenge. I hear a record and I’m like ‘Oh man this is great, but I want to do something different for myself’ but luckily I have some great people around me who will be like, ‘No , this record is awesome, you should do it. ‘
Singing room: Describe your writing process?
Johnta: I first try to find a concept, like the title or the theme, or just a word; something that can kind of get it started. Then from there I like to put the melody and the actual flow of the song together. Finally, I put the lyrics together, it’s usually the process.
Singing room: Where do you get your inspiration from in terms of writing and the type of music you want to produce?
Johnta: People, my own personal experiences, like my friends, what I read, what I see on TV, these are the greatest sources of inspiration and material. People are kind of all tied together by certain emotions, love, jealousy, lust, whatever we go through as human beings; a multitude of emotions that connects us and makes us humans. When I talk to people and when I live my own life, that’s where I really get the most inspiration.
Singing room: The first song from your next Love mixtape, “What a Feeling”, was recently released. Can you describe the song in three words?
Johnta: Damn, that’s a good question, you got me on that one [laughs]. Three words. New R&B I guess. Uh, good music, I would say that. Feel good about the music. Three words. Feel good about the music.
Listen to “What a Feeling” by Johnta Austin
Singing room: To learn more about the Love mixtape, why should people listen to it?
Johnta: Love is the biggest part of our lives or it should be a huge part. The records out there kind of give my point of view, as I see it on the subject. Love is a positive subject, but it’s about being in love, being apart from someone, so I think there is music in there that everyone can relate to. . It makes you feel good about yourself; it makes you think. There is nothing degrading or upsetting about it. It’s love.
Singing room: What’s the biggest difference between the new music you’re going to release and your old material?
Johnta: I lived a little, well I lived a lot. I’ve been through a lot, so there’s a lot of personal thought in the lyrics and then in the songs. I would definitely say it’s more truthful, more honest and more open. I really thought about it a lot, a lot of love and heart, so that would definitely be one of the main differences.
Singing room: Okay, so naturally people will compare you to other R&B singers, what makes you stand out from the crowd? What makes you unique?
Johnta: I think about the music. R&B is a bit lame right now. I mean you have people who can do a bit of R&B here, but it’s R & B / hip hop or R & B / pop. I think you have to fill the void for the right talent in R&B music. I would say that’s what sets me apart.
Singing room: Cool, so which artist (s) do you listen to a lot on your iPod right now?
Johnta: Goyte, I love Miguel and what he does. I always listen to Adele’s album, and I’m a huge Jay-Z fan, so whether new or old, I always play something from HOV.
Singing room: So apart from music related things, what are your hobbies?
Johnta: I go to the movies a lot. Skydiving, motorcycling, I’m kind of a light action junkie. Other than those things, I really enjoy being home and spending time with my kids.
Singing room: I guess there is someone special in your life right now who is inspiring the Love mix?
Johnta: Yes, [laughs] Definitely yes.
Love is scheduled for December 2012.