If you haven’t heard of Jack Johnson yet, you may soon as his sound and name are becoming more mainstream with the release of his new single “To The Sea.”
Johnson, born Jack Hody Johnson, is not only a singer and songwriter, but a filmmaker as well as a surfer. Growing up with a father who was a well-known surfer, Jeff Johnson, young Jack took an interest in the sport and began surfing at the age of 5. By the time he was 17, he became the youngest invitee to make the surfing finals at the Pipeline Masters on Oahu’s north shore. After an accident at the Pipeline that left him with 150 stitches in his forehead, not to mention knocking out a few of his teeth, he ended his surfing.
Jack also learned to play the guitar at a young age. During family gatherings, Jack said his dad’s friends came over and had singalongs. He felt it natural to write songs that anybody could listen to and this is the route he took as an adult.
Jack also attended the University of California, Santa Barbara and graduated with a film degree. Now with music and film under his belt, it was just a matter of choosing what route he wanted to take. Johnson said during his college years, songwriting influences included Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Radiohead Otis Redding, G. Love and Special Sauce, Nick Drake, Ben Harper, The Beatles, Bob Marley, Neil Young and A Tribe Called Quest.
Jack’s professional career began after G.Love befriended him and would later record his song “Rodeo Clowns” The song would appear on his 1999 album Philadelphonic. In regards to his film career, soon after, Jack co-directed Thicker Than Water, a documentary surf film. He also composed the accompanying soundtrack. The film was released in 2000.
Jack Johnson’s music soon caught musician Ben Harper’s ear. Harper was especially interested in Jack’s debut album Brushfire Fairytales. The album was released in 2001 with Harper making a special appearance with his lap steel guitar.
In 2002, Jack and his wife Kim, created Brushfire Records, a company designed to release soundtracks for surf films.
Jack went on to direct and star in another surf film The September Sessions. The film was released in December of 2002. The soundtrack also featured Jack.
In 2003, Jack Johnson released his second full-length album On and On. It would be the first album to be recorded at Johnson’s Mango Tree Studio in North Shore, Oahu. Johnson said he credits most of the inspiration for the album to a childhood friend, Andrew Brown.
By 2004, Jack was performing at the Austin City Limits Festival and starred in the 2004 surf film A Brokedown Melody. In October of 2004, Jack returned to the Mango Tree Studio along with Zach Gill who played accordion, melodica and piano, to follow-up on his 2003’s On and On with the release of In Between Dreams, which was on the market March 1, 2005.
In 2006, the soundtrack Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George, was released by Jack Johnson. The album also featured Adam Topol, Ben Harper, G. Love, Kawika Kahiapo, Matt Costa, Merlo Podlewski and Zach Gill. The soundtrack was the first to make No. 1 since the Bad Boys II soundtrack in 2003, and it was the first soundtrack for an animated film to top the Billboard 200 since the Pocahontas soundtrack in 1995.
In February of 2008, Jack Johnson enlisted J.P. Plunier to produce his fourth full-length studio album Sleep Through The Static. The album was made using 100% solar energy at the Solar-Powered Plastic Plant studio in Los Angeles. The album was followed by a live album DVD of Johnson’s 2008 world tour entitled En Concert.
Then in February 2010, Johnson produced Animal Liberation Orchestra’s fifth studio album Man of the World. But it wasn’t until his release of To the Sea followed by a tour that brought him to the forefront. Johnson, not a mainstream performer, achieved No. 15 on USA Today’s alternative airplay chart for his single “You and Your Heart”.
Johnson’s album To the Sea was inspired by his newly founded appreciation for his life on the ocean and everything that entailed. Johnson’s father, who had died of cancer, sent Jack into a writing hiatus and on an introspective roll. The album celebrates his father, his father’s wisdom and passion for the ocean along with his love for his own wife and children.
Jeff Bachmeier is owner of 977music.com, an online music and online radio station network providing live streaming Internet Radio channels with music from the 50’s thru Today. Users can also choose to create their own customized on demand playlist through their own social media profile. For more information please visit http://www.977music.com.