Carrie Johnson
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Carrie Johnson

Hartford, Connecticut, United States | INDIE

Hartford, Connecticut, United States | INDIE
Band Pop Adult Contemporary


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"Carrie Johnson rocks with a cause"

by Kelly Callaghan

This cool rocker mom has toured with rock ‘n’ roll acts, performed on stage in front of thousands and lived in New York City. She sang back up for the likes of Paula Abdul, Debbie GIbson, and Belinda Carlisle, and has found the time to teach children throughout the Farmington Valley the joys of music and movement.
Based out of Giggles Party and Play in Avon’s Riverdale Farms, her class is popularly known around town as “Music Time with Carrie Davis.”
But that’s only one side of the singer-songwriter who has just releasesd her seventh compact disc and will be starting to tour locally this month.
She’s also mom to 10-year old Julia Davis, who was diagnosed with bilateral ovarian cancer more than three years ago, a rare diagnosis for a child her age. Julia’s road to recovery was a long one, but today she is healthy and strong, with long blond hair, and a love of lacrosse and computers, according to her proud mother.
Plus she loves to sing. Singing is how her mother is helping to make others aware of ovarian cancer. Ms. Johnson Davis’ latest release, Move the Sun, was written to express how she felt during her daughter’s illness and subsequent recovery.
The song “Little Bird” is about her daughter and was written during her period of chemotherapy. It’s also become the name of the cancer crusade Ms. Johnson Davis is hoping to spread.
“The way I express myself is always through music,’ she said.
Move the Sun was released in September and features 12 tracks written by her and recorded at Hidden Valley Recording Studio in East Granby.
A portion of proceeds from each CD will be donated to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Make-A-Wish Foundation and St. Jude’s. So far, sales of Move the Sun have raised $350 for CCMC.
To help raise awareness and funds, Ms. Johnson Davis will be performing locally prior to kicking off a northeast concert after the holidays.

- Simsbury Life Nov. 08

"Little Bird"

By Barbara Thomas Managing Editor

I've been familiar with the words ovarian cancer since 1981, when my mother's doctor called me with that diagnosis following exploratory surgery, along with the news that she had three to six months to live. In all the years since, I've been on alert every time I hear the words spoken or written, seeking as much information as I can about the disease, which research shows has a strong genetic link. I especially craved knowledge when I started showing a tendency for ovarian cysts. I was not prepared, however, to hear the words ovarian cancer uttered last week by the mother of a 7-year-old girl with cancer, who called about a fund-raiser that's being held Sept. 11 to help defray the family's medical expenses. ‘What kind of cancer'?’ I asked. ‘Bilateral ovarian cancer,’ she said. I was floored. How is it possible for someone so young to have a ‘woman's’ disease, I wondered? But that is the reality for Julia Davis. While her classmates in Mrs. Mitchell's second-grade class at Latimer Lane Elementary in Simsbury started school on Wednesday, Julia was at Connecticut Children's Medical Ccnter in Hartford for her third round of chemotherapy. Diagnosed on July 29th, Julia had both ovaries removed and will need a total of four rounds of chemotherapy.The diagnosis came as a total shock to her parents, Karl Davis and Carrie Johnson-Davis. Julia had been experiencing recurring pain in her right side --especially after drinking milk-- fatigue, and low-grade fevers. Also, she wasn't paying attention in class as well as before, her teacher said. A total body MRl showed a tumor on one side, and it was assumed to be benign. Surgery was scheduled to remove the tumor, but what was supposed to be a two-hour procedure turned into eight -and-a-half hours. ‘We were not prepared,’ Johnson-Davis said, adding that after hearing the diagnosis ‘we went into auto-pilot mode’ to do whatever needed to be done. ‘It's been a difficult summer, but we're trying to make her life as normal as possible,’ she said ‘We want to make sure she has some good days as well as bad.’ Julia's pediatric oncologist, Dr. Nathan Hagstrom, encourages families to let their kids do whatever they can do to stay kids, she said, adding her praise for the care he has given Julia. While talking to Johnson-Davis on the phone last week, I could hear the happy squeals of children playing Johnson-Davis said. ‘She has a playmate over today,’ Julia's mom said. ‘Is Julia aware of what has happened to her?’ I asked. ‘She knows that some of her girl organs have been taken out,’ Johnson-Davis said. Julia's prognosis is good; her cancer is one that progresses slower than other types of ovarian cancer, so it did not reach her lymph nodes. The not-so-good news is that following her last round of chemotherapy, Julia will need about five years of aftercare, including weekly blood work. She will have to stay out of school into October so she doesn't catch any germs. ‘We'll have to walk on egg shells for a while,’ Johnson-Davis said. ‘Her immune system will be compromised for at least five months after the end of chemotherapy.’ Also, although there is only a 25 percent chance that the cancer will spread to other parts of her body, they will have to keep their eyes out for unusual things. The family's health insurance covers some of the costs of treatment, but not everything, and they are not in an income bracket where they qualify for assistance, Johnson-Davis said. That's why the Sept. 11 fund-raiser was scheduled. Called ‘Jammin' For Julia,’ the event will be held at the Maple Tree Cafe in Simsbury starting at 5 p.m. that evening. The $20 per person donation includes a full dinner buffet, admission to a silent auction, and live music. Some of those tunes will be provided by Johnson-Davis, a professional singer-songwriter who has released seven CDs and teaches music to preschoolers through her Canton-based business, ‘Music Time with Carrie Davis.’ For the fund-raiser, she is featured in a reunion performance by ‘22 Brides,’ a group she formed years ago with her sister, Libby Johnson, who will sing with her that night.’, Other performers include Burt Teague and Rob Fried, The Poor Nephews, David James and Masha Bousha. Simsbury resident Lisa Arakelian is spearheading the benefit concert. ‘I'm excited about my friends who have rallied for us,’ Johnson-Davis said. This will be the second fund-raiser for the family; a swimathon was previously held at Simsbury Farms, organized by Becky Block. ‘Things happen that make you realize how precious life is,’ Johnson-Davis said. ‘We take things for granted, but we really need to embrace each day.’ . Although it's been a horrible summer on the one hand, she said that the ordeal has brought her family closer. Julia is their only child. Also, they had the privilege of meeting Casey LeGeyt of Canton, who died of leukemia and lymphoma on Aug. 13. The two girls had played together while both were patients at CCMC. Johnson-Davis described her daughter as a ‘brave little soul’ who already has some ideas brewing in her head about how to help other children with cancer. ‘Although she's asked questions like 'why me?' she wants to give something to others,’ Johnson-Davis said. One idea she has is called ‘Julia's backpack,’ which would be filled with things young cancer patients need. Those who want to help Julia and her family by attending the benefit concert can purchase tickets in advance by calling Lisa Arakelian at 860-651-1507. If you cannot attend, but would like to make a monetary donation, make a check payable to the ‘Julia Davis Cancer Fund’ and deposit it at any Webster Bank branch. - Simsbury Post


22 Brides
Blazes of Light
Demolition Day
Geographical Fix
Move The Sun
Strength To Move (Released July 11, 2011)



“One of my earliest memories is dancing around the living room while my Dad played “Scotland The Brave” on his bagpipes, or my Mom strummed Joan Baez on guitar - my sisters and I singing along...this is the house I grew up in – lot's of music, all the time. There was so much diversity - Beatles, Beethoven, Bluegrass and Broadway so when people ask what my musical influences are it's really hard to pin that down!”

Carrie Johnson is a singer/songwriter whose own music crosses several genres - pop, rock and country but always with her signature style – strong vocals, memorable melodies, story telling lyrics and dynamic rhythm guitar playing. “I always put myself in a song and draw on real life experiences – usually they're my own...”

And there is a lifetime to draw upon. After attending Boston's Berklee College of Music, Carrie headed to New York where she became a professional background and jingle singer, honing her craft as a songwriter alongside her sister Libby. They formed the critically acclaimed band 22 Brides and released five albums on the Zero Hour/Universal Record labels. They were featured artists three times in Billboard Magazine, guests on the World Cafe, broke their hit song, “Another Distant Light” on 99X out of Atlanta, GA and toured the US and Canada extensively from concert halls to buzz festivals. “Touring with my sister and our band? Those are some of the best memories of my life. But we wanted to have babies so we put 22 Brides on hold.”

Carrie then moved from New York to Phoenix to Blacksburg, VA where she recorded her first solo album, Geographical Fix. Finally landing in Hartford, CT she co-produced her second cd, Move The Sun with Daniel Wise. “Life came at me so fast during that time. What parent is ever prepared for their child to be diagnosed with a life threatening illness? My daughter Julia (then seven years old) was one of the youngest in the country to have bi-lateral ovarian cancer. She fought the battle through chemotherapy and surgery and today is a happy 13 year old. “I wrote ‘Little Bird’ to capture the lonely 4:00am moment in the hospital when we were given the very bad news, and founded The Little Bird House Concert Series as a way to give back all the kindness and support that was given to us while Julia was ill. Donations raised from those concerts go to various pediatric cancer research hospitals. Move The Sun is my “pay it forward” album – it's also a snapshot of my life that I documented with emotional songs.”

Since that time, life has changed dramatically for Carrie, and it is reflected on her new release, Strength To Move. Filled with vibrant country/pop crossover tunes, the album sings of loss, redemption and renewal. “I'm in a much happier place now, but there has been so much change over the past three years. I want people to know that you can go down to the depths of despair and rise victoriously – these songs are the latest stories of my life and I'm excited to share them with everyone.”

Career Highlights:

Carrie Johnson is a professional songwriter and performer who spends time writing and recording in Hartford, CT and Nashville, TN. The Carrie Johnson Band performs regularly in the New England area. Carrie is also a private vocal, guitar and songwriting instructor. Her main accomplishments include:

BMI songwriter with over 150 songs in her catalog
Eight cd's of original music (including 22 Brides): “Selling Fruit in Cairo”; “22 Brides”; “Beaker”; “Blazes of Light”; Demolition Day”; “Geographical Fix”; “Move The Sun”; “Strength To Move”
Published composer for film: Orenda Films “No Way Home” and independent film “Exposure”
Professional studio vocalist and rhythm guitarist (artists include Paula Abdul, Deborah Gibson, and Belinda Carlisle)
Business owner: Gratitude Music, LLC (Publishing Company) Music Time, LLC (A Children's Music Program) The Little Bird Foundation (a non-profit organization dedicated to pediatric cancer research