Upon hearing back from Ohio’s own J’honny, I couldn’t help but think of the cinematic gem ‘Shrek,’ because man – this hip hop and R&B maestro has layers. A skilled musician, a fan of horror, a new father…we talked about all of that and then some, like the insanity of being all of that in a year as chaotic as 2020. Find out what J’honny had to say about the aforementioned and his plans to keep on winning.
Kendra: From when you started messing around with music to when you took that next step, it was about three years. What prompted you to start thinking about music as something you could do as a career instead of just a hobby?
J’honny: My friends and random people who would happen to hear me record made me consider putting together my first project. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, and from the responses, I get from my music I’m a damn good shot. It wasn’t an easy process though because criticism is sometimes tough to digest but it comes with the game. That’s not something that’s going to stop me though.
Kendra: It’s gotten better in recent years, but for a long time therapy and the Black community weren’t something we saw too often. You’ve noted that music was your release, was that because you were on the fence about traditional therapy, but wanted…needed a way to get your thoughts out?
J’honny: Absolutely, I used music as my therapy for some of those exact reasons. There aren’t too many people you can open up to without getting some type of shunning response. And there are some things you can’t talk to your relatives about. Most therapists in my area aren’t Black and don’t have any knowledge of the Black community, so it was kind of like me getting these thoughts out than listening to myself vent over and over again and breaking down the issues while reciting the lyrics.
Kendra: Along with needing some form of release, you’ve also mentioned how horror movies served as a bit of inspiration for you. If you could go back and have any of your songs in a horror movie, which song, movie, and scene would you choose and why?
J’honny: I like this question; one of the songs I envision being in a horror film is “I Can’t Lose,” and the movie I imagine it in is ‘Final Destination’ right at the end when you think it’s over, then death starts the chain of killing again.
When the credits begin to roll, that’s when it should be played. Because the song is about having all the nicest things possible but you will still end up in the same place regardless because death doesn’t lose. Apologies if it got dark, but horror isn’t a bright place.
Kendra: This last year has been well, a lot, for many but on top of everything going on in the world – you had a baby girl in 2020. How did becoming a father, during a pandemic, during a time of so much racial tension, shape the music you wanted to make going forward as well as what you wanted to do with your career?
J’honny: Man it was the greatest and worst feeling ever. I’m so proud and happy to have a beautiful healthy little girl, but when all that was going on I felt selfish by bringing her into all this madness. It’s already a lot to be wary of as a Black man but now as a Black parent, I have to be even more aware than just myself.
The pandemic helped with creativity, as well as the protests. I had the opportunity to join a couple of them and just seeing all of us united was beautiful. I pushed ‘Euphoric Metamorphosis’ back during that time just so I could bask in that unity. Plus, if it wasn’t the right time, I wouldn’t have felt right.
Kendra: You’ve dropped a couple of records in the past two years, how do you feel you’ve grown as a lyricist from your 2019 debut to 2020’s ‘Euphoric Metamorphosis?’
J’honny: I think I’ve grown more in production value, flow, and creating different pockets a lot better. I wouldn’t call myself a lyricist per se but there are some songs where I get some bars off, but people tend to gravitate toward my melodic records more.
Kendra: It’s hard to have a definite answer when it comes to future plans given the current state of everything, but as far as what you can control when it comes to your career and creativity – what do you have planned in the coming months for yourself?
J’honny: I learned that the hard way last time I “planned.” I think this year I’m going to try and implement a different sound into my arsenal. I’ve been listening to a bit of Daft Punk lately and I’ve been working with an animation artist on my next visual. Also more getting some more merch for my supporters. All in all, just wanting positive energy for everyone.