Exclusive Interview | Rising Bachata Pop star, Johnny Sky shares his thoughts on music, love & more.
In under two decades, Johnny Sky has managed to do what many people never do - he's living his dream
In under two decades, Johnny Sky has managed to do what many people never do – he’s living his dream, and sharing his talents with the world.
This talented singer/songwriter from Brooklyn is making big waves in the Bachata world, what with his catchy blends of Pop and Bachata, smooth vocals, and heartthrob look, he’s clearly the up-and-comer to beat. Don’t believe us? You don’t have to look far to find his name on the charts, with several singles hitting Billboard’s top charts, and the award nominations are already piling up.
Despite this rapid rise to fame, this young star is down-to-earth, playful, and incredibly easy to talk to. He’s got the charisma one would expect from someone so at ease on a stage, but he wears his humility and genuineness on his sleeves. It’s a combination that’s hard to resist.
With all of that going for him, it’s no wonder we couldn’t wait to share a Latin é exclusive with all of you. This is one interview (and artist), you don’t want miss…
Your music is best defined as Bachata-Pop. What appeals to you about that genre in particular?
Well, I was born and raised in New York, with Dominican parents, so I always had the Bachata Merengue in me – I was raised on that, so I was always listening to that as a kid – but my passion has always been Pop music. I always listened to the Top 40 on the radio. Rap, Hip-Hop… But I kind of wanted to mix that up when I got to high school. I kind of sat down and was like, “Hey, you know what? This Bachata thing is picking up, and I’ve got it in my blood, so why not do a little mix with Bachata and Pop.” So, that’s what I’ve been doing now, and apparently people are enjoying it.
It is fantastic. Now, you’re very young. How does it feel to already have several big-award nominations and #1 Billboard songs under your belt?
To be honest, it’s a bit overwhelming. It’s a little overwhelming and a little hard to believe, because I remember just sitting at home and imagining this happen. So now that it’s happening, it’s just like, “Whoa, this is all happening so quickly. I’m only nineteen. I haven’t even hit twenty-one yet, and all of this has already happened.” But I feel blessed, and I’m very, very happy with the way things have been going, and it just kind of refuels my engine of inspiration and motivation. It makes me want to keep doing what I’m doing, and keep on getting better at it.
That’s a great attitude to have. I feel like a lot of young stars, in this business, don’t have the grounding that you have. What is it that keeps your feet firmly planted? How have you stayed so down to earth about your success?
I try to remind myself where I came from, how I got started, why I’m in this to begin with. Thank God I have the parents that I have, because ever since I was a kid, they’ve always kept me grounded; they’ve always kept my head on my shoulders. Even up until now, they’re like my third eye; they’re always looking from the outside in. So, I have them there, and they’re kind of like my guardian angels, always keeping me grounded. And, like I said, I’m in this, but I’m in this to kind of bring that kid from Brooklyn out into the world so people can see past the whole artist thing. I want them to be able to see who I really am.
It’s always good to have a support system. Have you always wanted to be a singer/songwriter, or is that something that you got into later in life?
Well, as far as I can remember, the first day that I can actually remember anything is the first day I started singing. To be honest, I remember sitting down and just watching television. I was watching a singing competition that was popular back then, and a promo came on and I picked up one of the songs from the promos and I just started singing it around the house. My mom was noticing that I was enjoying it, so she asked me if I wanted to take classes, or if I wanted to get into and I said, “Definitely.” She pushed me into it; I started with classical music, I started singing opera, and from there, that was when I kind of said, “I want to do this for a living. It feels good to be on stage. It feels good to get a reaction from an audience.” So, yeah, this has always been something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
That’s so great. Tell us about your album, Johnny Sky? It’s named after you. Do you feel like it’s a good introduction into who you are?
I definitely feel like it’s a perfect introduction to who I am as a person because I’m the type of person who is very straightforward, especially when it comes to emotions, I don’t hide anything when it comes to that. This album is full of emotion. What I wanted to do for the concept was create a love story; how a typical relationship could start and end. From the beginning, starting with With or Without You, to ending with En Todo Fuiste la Mejor, it’s about that rollercoaster of being with that person that you love or could potentially be with. It’s the perfect way to describe me. I’m not only a singer; I like to interpret – I like to tell stories – and with each of these songs there’s a story.
What’s your favorite song from the album? Why?
Now, I love all the songs on my album, but if there’s one song that I have that deep connection with, that I love singing, that I love performing… it’s En Todo Fuiste la Mejor. Especially the symphonic version because one, it steps out of what people are used to hearing me do, and, also, it’s the rawest and purest song on that album. I threw all of my emotion into that song, and I love performing it because I feel something special, and I don’t perform it all the time because I want to keep that emotion fresh and special when I tell that story for the audience.
Your parents are Dominican, but you were born and raised in Brooklyn. What does being an American Latino mean to you?
To me it’s important because I remember growing up and how much my mom fought just for me to be somebody, how much she busted her butt to make sure I was able to do something that I loved and that I was happy. That, to me, was always a message that I carried with me, and that I still carry with me. I feel that as a Latino American in the spotlight my responsibility is to motivate Latino Americans to keep on fighting and to continue to progress. That’s what we’re all about. That’s what I want to do. That’s why I’m proud of being an American Latino.
I love that. Can I ask you, what’s been the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
The best piece of advice I’ve come into contact with comes from Jessie J. I love her music; I will dare to say that she’s the best vocalist of our generation. She always says, “Never presume, always work hard, never expect, and always stay true to who you are.” And I feel like that’s what kept me doing what I love, and it’s kept me grounded in a way. No matter how many awards I can win or how many #1s I get, it doesn’t matter if I don’t stay true to myself. It’s very easy to get lost in this industry, and I’ve seen it happen to a lot of huge artists. So that keeps me going; it fuels my engine and keeps me motivated.
What’s next for you this year? Is there a tour in your future?
Well, there’s definitely a tour coming around. We’re planning it all out now; kind of blueprinting it. I’m going to be in South America to do some stuff down there in Chile and Peru. The physical copy of my album just came out last week, and then there’s hopefully the Latin Grammys this fall… There’s a lot of stuff to look forward to.
We would love to see you at the Grammys. And last, but not least, what’s currently on your iTunes playlist?
Right now, my playlist is all Drake. Don’t ask me why – I don’t know – but I’m just all into the whole Drake thing. I’m loving it. I’m loving his song Energy. I’m loving all his new stuff, the stuff from his new album. I like the whole mellow R&B thing.
He puts out some great stuff. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me; this was a lot of fun!
Thank you! It really was.