Missy Johnson
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Missy Johnson

| INDIE

| INDIE
Band Rock Singer/Songwriter

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Missy fires the first shot of the night taking the stage touching off an inferno with her rendition of a Tracy Bonham classic. Her voice is in top form from the opening note until the last vibrations of her sound waves shimmer their way out onto Lansdowne Street and beyond. And she has a hot band of musicians to bolster those tremendous pipes. Sizzling guitar riffs, shimmering bass notes and pounding drums are the perfect ingredients to go with Missy’s lead and her pals’ harmonies. She is definitely an artist one should pay attention to and catch live so you can say you saw her when. She brings on stage Tom Dies, of Via Audio, who played guitar in studio for her album. His deft fingers trickle across the frets churning out leads on her final song, “Wait.”

- The Noise- Boston


Manchester- Last week she headlined the legendary CBGB's in New York City and tonight, Friday, June 17th, Missy Johnson will be rockin' the Hogs Trough Saloon in Manchester. "It was...great," the Hollis native said about her set on the stage where the likes of The Ramones, Blondie, and The Talking Heads got their start in the early 1970's. "Its like a rite of passage. The place is such a hole, (band) stickers were all over everything. It was unbelieveably rock and roll."

Johnson and her mates played at midnight and ripped such a searing set that she got a call for her first encore.

"It was like the kind of situation where they were telling me we're not going to leave until you paly another one," Johnson said. So she and her band played one of her favorite songs, "What Is and What Should Never Be," a Led Zeppelin classic.

Tonight, the vivacious Johnson will unpack her gear and unleash her bluesy rock rhythms nearer to home.

"I love New Hampshire and am excited to be back playing Manch-Vegas," Johnson said.

She had played a Wednesday night at the Trough not too long ago and was so well-recieved she was asked back to open for The Charms' CD release party as a part of a Girl's Night Out event.

"I'm opening for a band who has one of the top 10 selling albums from local artists at Newbury Comics. I'm honored," Johnson said. "It should be a crazy night."

Johnson had also been working on finishing her first album, and on Sunday she said first presses have come in. "I'll be selling them for $5 at the show," Johnson said.

Titled "Noise to Keep," it is a seven-song EP that is bare bones rock and roll. "I made a point to make a stripped-down album on purpose," Johnson said.

The album can also be purchased through the website at www.missyrocks.com or on cdbaby.com.

Johnson's sound is a fine blend of Joplin, Aerosmith, with a touch of Zep. And unlike many female artists of today, there are no sappy love songs or hip-hop beats masquerading as rock.

"I'm a rock and roll chick and that is the way I will always be," Johnson said

She will be hosting her own release party in the near future, most likely at Bill's Bar in Boston, where she makes her home.

Missy and her band will take the stage around 9pm. The Hogs Trough Saloon is located on Lincoln Street.
- The Hollis-Brookline Journal


New Hampshire native and Berklee grad, Missy Johnson kicks off the night with down-home rock and roll. The sexy and sultry Johnson covers Bad Company's 1975 smash, "Feel Like Makin' Love" and with her moves and lucious voice has many forgetting who originally did the song and hoping Johnson is singing to them. - The Noise- Boston


"...Several Aerosmith songs gave students a chance to show another side of Berklee. Missy Johnson was all sass and spunk as the lead singer on "Dude Looks like a Lady......
..."They were just brilliant last night," Tyler said after the commencement ceremony. They've got this freedom thing, the no fear...there wasn't a bad song. There wasn't a bad rendition...It was, wow, your song is even more than you thought...." - Berklee Press


Yes, Missy, we WOULD like to know!


Allow the tumbleweed to take you back a few moons. Six summers of moons to be precise. Allow the slapping wind to awaken you beyond the sounds of a car radio blasting. Not too far behind, in the trails of this memory the author finds himself lip-synching along to the noise coming from his left. With a hand gesture and a verbal “Wait!” he motions the driver to keep whatever song she has chosen for the radio to mumble. Like Mercury on a hot summer day she turns the volume dial and it rises.

With a song chosen we look at one another as if a singer and a guitarist waiting for the right beat to come into the song together; silently our voices and body languages tip-toe. (Wait for it…wait for it…ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-Ta BOOM!) Finding the proper beat we both scream out loud, harmonizing ourselves into the chorus. Missy’s hair badly behaved with every head bob while the author’s air guitar finds itself poorly played; so he decides to stop torturing the air and begins to drum on the dashboard instead.

Several lines into the repetitive chorus the author asphyxiates his voice and turns to the noise coming from his left. He hears the echoes of the song but cannot decipher which of the two, Missy or the radio, owns the original sound. She throws me a glance and a smile as if saying, “Wouldn’t you like to know.” She had stolen the radio’s thunder right from underneath it and simply kept on singing while her hair remained misbehaved.

After the last chorus fell and the music ended I turned to Missy and said, “You should be a singer or something. You’re really good.”

While keeping her eyes on the road, yet still shooting the same smile, she responded with, “Actually, I am.”

The tumbleweed had brought with it a memory I have kept for over six years since that first summer I got to know Missy. It was then I first heard her sing and since then, whether it is music coming from the stage, my CD player or a car ride, I have kept on listening to such noise.

After seeing Missy grow as an artist through these past six years by listening to her practice at her house, watching her on stage, her testing new ideas out on me, listening to the different demos of her music I own, I have become very curious as to what lies behind that smile, that misbehaving body of hair and those eyes which scream out loud with a confidence and conviction, “Wouldn’t you like to know.” Well, yes Missy, I would. And I am sure our readers would also.

Below I try my best to unravel the unruly musical and lyrical secrets of Missy Johnson. But don’t worry; you wouldn’t need to know how to play the air guitar or the dashboard drum for her approval to let your eyes fall upon such confidential information (unless you have the strange urge to do so).

WRIT: Can you describe your song writing and recording process?

Missy: I think my songwriting process can be considered creatively diverse. What I mean by this is that when I write, I have many different avenues that I use to write a song. When I'm by myself, I'll often start with chords and a melody but I also am very groove oriented so it’s fairly common for me to start a song from a bass groove. Examples of this would be "Stole Your Thunder" from the album and my older song, "Ever Wonder" from the LNP* days. I also enjoy writing titles first and them coming up with a song afterwards. When Oren, Andrea and I wrote "Wouldn't You Like to Know" it was from a brainstorm list I had compiled of song titles. "Stole Your Thunder" and "Tumbleweed" came from the same list. Sometimes I will also have a full set of lyrics ready to go and I'll set it to music afterwards. "Wait" spawned from a different music background entirely and I ripped it from the music (which was done by a different band) and a year and a half later set it to something completely my own. One thing you can count on with me is that I'll always be willing to try new ways to write a song.

Recording is another beast entirely. I'm not sure what you'd like to know about recording but I'll say this much: the joy of recording is that you have the opportunity to utilize technology that you can't use live. I kept this record very simple and I didn't use too many bells and whistles from the studio because I am a new artist and it made sense to me that I should start out very basic - clear cut songwriting, grooves, and vocals - me in raw form. I look forward to getting into the studio with a seasoned rock producer for my next album.

WRIT: Can you talk about your musical evolution?

Missy: Something had been made clear to me before I made this record: People like my voice a lot and they enjoy my songs but my direction wasn't clear. People need to categorize you – it’s a comfort thing to know where you fit in. I really spent some time thinking about what I wanted to let people know about me. When I went to LA to write with Oren (Oren Hadar) we started writing songs that would kind of slap - The Writ Oracle (online)



The thought of singing in front of a crowd of thousands might make some singers nervous, but right now Melissa "Missy" Johnson seems more worried about catching her 6 a.m. flight from Nashville to Boston, where the Nashua native will sing the national anthem at Thursday's Bruins game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"It's so freakin' early," she said in a phone interview from her Tennessee home. "I'm not excited about it."

She may not be excited about rising early, but when it comes to her chance to sing at the TD Banknorth Garden, well, that's a different story.

"It's something that when I was a kid, I'd go to Celtics and Bruins games, and I'd say, 'Mom. Dad. I'm going to do that someday. I'm going to sing the national anthem.' "

The 26-year-old singer almost lost her chance, however. Although the panel in charge of selecting anthem singers had accepted her based on an early demo, when asked to submit a slightly longer version, Johnson said the quality wasn't as good and it showed.

"It's the Garden, and they can absolutely be fickle," she said.

She was allowed to submit a third demo and landed the gig once and for all.

"It all worked out eventually in the end."

Just like her music career.

The 1999 graduate of Hollis/Brookline High School said she didn't know music was going to be her path in life until she hit her early teens. She only took formal voice lessons for about a year.

"I was always singing, but it didn't become the main plan, the main gig until later on," she said. She began writing songs at 18 and went on to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she caught the ear of Terry Becker, who was teaching there at the time. Becker had worked with Bonnie Raitt and Kansas, and latched onto Johnson's music.

Although she tried to make her mark in Boston, gigging proved difficult and the area too expensive for the struggling musician. Johnson eventually moved to Nashville to take advantages of connections she had down South. She toured briefly with 16-year-old rising star Katie Armiger, an experience Johnson said made her realize how seasoned she was becoming as a performer.

It also made her realize her age.

"Kids who are 18 years old today were born in 1990. That blows my mind. I can't even deal with that," she said.

Johnson is anything but past her prime, however. In fact, her career might just be hitting its stride. The singer's "Boston to Austin" is beginning to get airplay on stations such as 92.5 The River. The song has a definite country hook to it, a style Johnson once resisted in favor of rock and blues.

"Growing up as a singer, I wanted to rock out," she said. "I think I failed my talents for a while just to prove myself. Now I've kind of let myself go and boom! It's just taking off."

Her plans never included moving to Nashville, but the move has served her well. In April, Johnson will open for Chris Barron, who was the lead singer of '90s popsters The Spin Doctors.

But first, there's that crowd at the Garden. Johnson is no stranger to high-pressure situations, having performed as part of a Steven Tyler tribute for the Aerosmith singer at her graduation from Berklee.

"The bigger the audience is, you're able to not single out faces and kind of revel in the moment," she said. "Once you hit 1,000, it kind of gets to be the same. It's actually harder to sing in front of three people than it is to sing in front of a thousand."

Spoken like a pro.

And for those singers who are just beginning to figure out that music is their future, Johnson has some advice.

"Let yourself sing good songs that showcase your voice," she said. "Don't try to be something you're not just because you think it's cooler."

- By JEN O'CALLAGHAN Telegraph Staff


Discography

Missy-Noise to Keep EP

Photos

Bio

THE OFFICIAL BIOGRAPHY OF MISSY JOHNSON:

Worldwide following? Check. Unforgettable performance style? Check. Purple guitar? Check. Pink hair? Check. A night to remember? Indeed! Missy maintains a unique position within the rock spectrum with her dynamic vocal style. Her music refuses to be categorized. With influences widely ranging from Led Zeppelin to Rage Against the Machine, and Tool to Mariah Carey, many have tried to place the sound. "A fine blend of Joplin and Aerosmith, with a touch of Zep," reads the Bedford Journal. She has succeeded in her mission to both baffle and intrigue the listener.

In the tradition of rock greats, Aerosmith, Missy comes to us from New Hampshire by way of Boston. Since graduating from the Berklee College of Music, she has been hard at work, writing material for others, as well as herself. After refining her talent in several of her own groups, such as Specimen 37 and The Late November Project, she took her songwriting skills and poured them into her first solo project.

Her EP, "Noise To Keep", was released in 2005. The songs developed themselves over many performances and showcases, including the NY International Music Festival, and appearances at Boston's Middle East. Missy hand picked a group of superior local studio musicians to record the instrumental tracks. Los Angeles provided the inspiration for the final production. After many sessions with up-and-coming songwriter, Oren Hadar, she decided to finish recording with producer, mentor, and friend, Terry Becker (Kansas, Bonnie Raitt). Vocals were laid down at LA's Ultratone Studios. The album was engineered by Becker and studio owner, Johnny Lee Schell.

Missy began her live music journey with a full band, playing esteemed venues such as CBGB & Pianos in NYC, Bill’s Bar in Boston, and many independent rock festivals including New York’s MEANYFest and San Diego’s Indie Music Fest. After several years of rotating backline musicians, Missy decided to pack her guitar and head out on the road alone. Her acoustic guitar skills and raw, fresh vocals earned her a following in venues all over the country including Eddie’s Attic in GA. Seeking new inspiration, she planted her heels in Nashville, TN and is currently writing songs for her full-length album debut.

She continues to regularly regale nationwide bar rooms with her enigmatic live show. Her music moves her audience from beginning to end with the raw strength of the ballads, the funky groove of the riffs, and the soulful vocals. She has even learned how to control the most unruly room with her charismatic persona. One listen to Missy's powerful style proves her goal of world domination is not unattainable. Her sound is a reality.

-courteousy of Alexis Nieto, Pleasure Kitten Productions