ELLIS JOHNSON

How long have you been a solo artist for?
I’ve been a solo artist for about 7 years. 
Where was the first place you performed?
I opened up a show at the famous, Night & Day Café in Manchester 
What inspired you to start music?
From an early age, my dad got me into music, introducing me to mainly Rock and soul music. I was hooked instantly. As a kid I particularly focused on the drums, and at the age of about 10 or 11 I started playing drums. As I got older my interest got stronger and my music taste grew much broader. I began playing in bands, and studying music academically. I suppose I’ve always been a solo artist, because I’ve always been writing music, since A very young age, I can still remember the first song I ever wrote, when I was in primary school, so I must’ve been eight or nine, maybe even younger. I think it’s safe to say I was always going to be a musician.
What’s the story behind the new song?
My latest song ‘Something Criminal’, I suppose doesn’t really have a set story, but there are messages within the writing, in which I am metaphorically drawing on personal experiences, and experiences of people around me. The idea is based around Heartbreak, and the difference between it and having your heart stolen. What I mean by that is, everyone gets their heartbroken at some point in life, as time goes on, although you never forget about it, you can move on, and even sometimes forgive. However, to have your heart stolen, i.e. you have given your everything to somebody or something, and they have taken it, and left you for that, and it makes it incredibly difficult To find your heart again and try to strengthen it.
Will you be touring to support the new album? If so, when? 
I wish I knew! As is most of the country, I am living with uncertainty, I am performing as much as possible, within the ever changing and discombobulating restrictions set by our Boris. I’d love to be able to consistently book a bunch of dates! But right now I may as well be a teenager at home singing into a hairbrush. What I will say, when I am able, and the country is able to resume what we used to call normality, I will have so much music to share, because if there is anything the lockdown has done for me as an artist, it’s given me a lot of time to reflect and write music.
What is your song writing process?
I don’t have a set process to be honest, it changes based on circumstance. Sometimes I could be just sat playing my guitar or piano, and an idea hits the back of the net. Other times, the song can originate from a lyrical idea, however brief or seemingly irrelevant at the time, a few words could form the backbone of an entire story. Sometimes I’m just inspired by a load of crap and end up writing about it!
What’s your first thoughts when you get up on stage?
I’m about to perform, now. Where is my capo? 
Where was the first venue you played?
No idea! I’ve been performing since I was about 15, so I couldn’t tell you to be exact! However it was most probably playing drums with a Foo Fighters/incubus/Nirvana/Red Hot Chili Peppers inspired band, called Tephra. 
What is your most memorable moment from any live performances?
I was hosting and performing at an open mike night in the city centre of Manchester, which I ran for five years. One day, Guy Garvey from elbow and a bunch of people from the BBC, were drinking in the pub, as a massive elbow fan, the band I mean, I don’t have a fetish for large elbows. I was both starstruck and excited. I noticed after every song I finished, guy applauded, and I was taken aback by it because from experience, when you perform in front of someone from the arts, you’d expect them to engage and support your art, but this is often not the case, I remember performing one night and there was a girl from Coronation Street in the audience, she sat with her back to me, and didn’t respond to all but one song I played, despite the rest of the room all showing their appreciation. That one song, I can’t member what song it was, but she turned around to face me for the first time during my performance, and gave an inaudible clap. Anyway Guy Garvey, he engaged after every song I finished, I know at the time I just assumed it was politeness, however when I left the stage he deliberately paused his conversation with his friends to approach me and shake my hand, and tell me that I’ve got a cracking set of pipes! We had a nice chat, he was full of praise and best wishes, and I’ve never forgotten it.
Describe the atmosphere when you’re performing
It’s like if you’re listening to Stevie Wonder in a heavy metal club, whilst tripping on acid. But my serious answer, doesn’t exist. I don’t know really, I guess that is something for the audience to answer. I’d like to think it is an engaging atmosphere because I do like to communicate with those in the crowd, apart from that one prick that constantly asks for Oasis all the way through my set. To which request I usually caving, being a Mancunian and all. However you usually play and Oasis song, and the same prick will say one of two things to you afterwards, first of all he may ask for another oasis song, or stand in front of me like you would a jukebox and scream request into my face with a breath full of lager. Or they like to tell you, that’s not my favourite Oasis song, my favourite Oasis song is… At which point the deflation begins, And I have to pick myself up play anything but Oasis and crack on with the gig.
What band would you like to perform with the most?
Oasis.
Will you be touring in the United Kingdom any time soon?
You tell me! Although I have set my studio out representing several geographical Locations, and I wonder around the room performing in each corner, it’s a bit of a shit hole, but I don’t need any roadies and I only have to set up once. I’m a pretty shit groupie to myself though. And I never get my rider met. 

Ellis Johnson 
Singer Songwriter
Manchester, Uk
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