Sean C. Johnson Talks New EP, Success, & Future Collaborations
Sean C. Johnson is one of the most versatile Christian artists out there. He has the unique ability to weave in and out of hip-hop, pop, and soulful R&B. He’s also been known to lend his voice to some awesome hooks over the years, but Johnson is looking to move past that and create inspirational art completely on his own.
After a busy single heavy 2016, what’s the plan for 2017? Album, EP, more singles?
Right now I’m currently working on an EP! It’s going to be addressing relationships, what happens when it doesn’t work out, and how do we handle that heartbreak as Christians. I said I wasn’t going to release another Album/EP (in the traditional sense) after finding a model that seemed to work last year (1 song every 2 months). But the theme of this EP works better if I release it all at one time.
What’s it feel like to have your song “Honey” be as successful as it has been?
It was TOTALLY unexpected! This is honestly the most satisfying kind of success because it wasn’t fabricated or forced. (S/O to J. Rhodan for reaching out to me and asking me to be a part of the song) I was honestly at a place where I was burnt out on doing hooks and features, but I really connected with the theme of the record. Plus J. Rhodan is dope so it made it easier. Ultimately, I’m just glad I was able to add something dope to the song.
Many of your peers are hip-hop artists. What’s it like being that soulful R&B guy among a bunch of rappers?
I get asked to do a lot of hooks…A LOT of hooks. Naw, it’s actually really cool because it helps me cultivate a more engaging live show. Hanging out with rappers and seeing how they are able to incorporate crowd participation into their set has forced me to get creative in how I present my music. My music is more mellow and groovy, so an audience isn’t going to naturally get hype like they would with a trap beat. So it’s stretched me as an artist and made me more versatile. I’ve even developed “rap hands” when I perform. Basically I’m Luther Vandross with “Drake” hands on stage.
Many of your song topics speak on love and relationships. Do you ever feel that R&B music limits you from creating music on tougher topics? How do you explore the inspiration for the songs?
I don’t feel like it limits me. I’ve made songs about pornography, losing loved ones, being broke, etc. Basically, if it’s something that I deal with I express it in my art. I think that’s what’s dope about the lane I’m in. I’m able to speak on relatable issues through the lens of my faith. Yeah, I struggle with pornography, but how have I been growing and gaining victory through God’s grace? Yeah, I lost a love one, but how has God’s peace comforted me? There are not too many things I won’t talk about in my music. If I’m going through it I know somebody else is probably dealing with it too, so I want to use my gift to edify and encourage them.
Who are some guys in CHH that you’d want to collaborate with?
Man, you trying to get me in trouble. I’ve been telling people I’m retired from doing hooks. But I would probably come out of “retirement” to collaborate with Eshon Burgundy, Dre Murray, and my homegirl Kayla Starks. My current wish list of collabs are with artists outside of the CHH genre mainly. Artists like Mali Music and Kierra Sheard.
Talk a bit about your focus with the Die Daily Crew. How has being part of that team pushed your art and ministry?
S/O to my Die Daily crew! I love those guys. We just had a great time in Austin for SXSW. We rented out a house and just had a blast fellowshipping and talking about life. We’re all just a bunch of like-minded individuals whose lives and careers center around three things:
1. Dying to self
2. Serving others
3. Living for Christ
A lot of us work in youth ministry and pour back into our communities. Hanging around them makes me constantly check my motives and make sure I’m walking out what I talk about in my music. Not only do we sharpen each other spiritually but artistically also. We bounce ideas off each other and share advice. It’s really a community and I’m excited to see what each person in the group does in 2017.
Anything else to add or say?
If you get a chance go download my new single “Save Me” on iTunes.