New York Songwriter Johnny Darlin on Anxiety

New York Songwriter Johnny Darlin on Anxiety

johnnydarlin indie artist

“I always have extreme anxiety before releasing new material. I get nervous that everything can be interpreted in a million different ways and that my work could be interpreted in the wrong one. BUT IS THERE A WRONG WAY?” @johnnydarlin

Jacqueline Jax logo photoGETTING TO KNOW JOHNNY DARLIN
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio

Challenging Myself…
I keep a vision board in my mind. I watch performers who are there, for inspiration. I see a lot of shows. I reach out to people to see what they’re up to artistically and if they need any help on set or in the writing process to keep myself surrounded by other artists trying to make it happen. And I practice my major and minor scales every day on my keyboard to remind myself of the very basics of what I’m doing.

I am most afraid of…
I always have extreme anxiety before releasing new material. I get nervous that everything can be interpreted in a million different ways and that my work could be interpreted in the wrong one. But then, I’m like, “IS there a wrong way?” and then I get confused and even more anxious. However, I’m learning to accept that it’s the artist’s job to produce the art and the public’s to take it in and decide for themselves what it’s about. I do it all the time with the artists I’m a fan of and I have questions that go unanswered about their intentions, but I still dig what they created. I think with the release of the next EP especially, I will get better at accepting that. And most people just want to dance, ponder life, have a great time, and have their emotions of loneliness validated by knowing someone else feels them at the same level of intensity, and I think the next EP has elements of all of this.

Success…
Producing a song that makes even one person cry or experience a positive catharsis.

I can trace back my start to multiple sources…
church choir, when I got my first karaoke machine and microphone and started writing and recording songs into it before my 5th birthday, piano lessons as an extracurricular that turned into a main passion, and Music class at elementary school, which was taught by the most amazing and inspiring woman on the face of the planet – Mrs. Rogers – who really made me believe I had a talent. She eventually also became the church youth choir director, so I got to see her twice a week which was all the more exposure to musicality that I think led to the passion really forming.

 

Music Trends…
I happen to really, really like pop music, and love when I hit upon a pop chorus in my writing and playing, so what tends to be trendy doesn’t bother me, because I’m usually a fan of it. I’m a fan of culture, what is popular, and the process of examining why it is – what in the landscape of society allowed for certain artists, songs, images, films, and moments to take off the way they have? It hasn’t gotten to a point yet where it’s affected artistic decisions as I’m just getting started, but if it were to get there, I would find my balance in knowing that it would be hard to perform something I am just personally not behind so it would remain imperative to be accessible but also totally and 100% authentic.


“My Sister Went out on a Date Tonight”…
This was the song that really kicked off me and Francis Steakknife’s collaborative sound; before this, we were playing around with beats that had a very different feel, and this one actually just came from my sister about to go on a date, and my jealousy of that moment. I was 18 or 19 at the time, still closeted, and wanted to go on a date! I probably had never gone on one at that point! I always tell my sister she should write the comeback song about how much dating sucks and how naive my storytelling is. Anyway, I thought of a riff that ended up making up the chorus, beatbox-ed a beat into my computer, and just started free-styling lyrics that were just exactly what was happening downstairs – her getting ready for the date. It was sort of therapy. Then I sent it to Francis Steakknife to build it into a fuller song and we started a chain of emails back and forth (we weren’t living in the same city at this point) that took it to where it is now – a sort of punkrock queercore stomper, with a dose of humor. (Buy the song: http://johnnydarlin.bandcamp.com/track/my-sister-went-out-on-a-date-tonight )

johnnydarlin
I live in Brooklyn, NY…
currently and the music scene is wonderful. I feel connected to a lot of independent bands and performers here whose musicianship is both impressive and impossible to define. I love to keep up with all of their live shows and watch them develop. I also love a good night out at a really big pop show at the Barclays Center – there’s a great beer garden nearby for a small pre-game before seeing a big act blow your mind and expose the very outer limit of how massive music can be.
Social Media…
I love that we live in a time where you can connect with everyone so intimately. It’s inspiring to see kids have platforms to come out of the closet and discuss their queerness in ways that their families and bullies at school have no idea about, and get support from total strangers. I also love that so many artists themselves are so active on these platforms in very similar ways as their very own fans. Did you hear the story of the woman who Rihanna thought was one-of-a-kind based off her Instagram and cast her in the “Bitch Better Have My Money” video? And she was so great in it! That story blows my mind and makes me realize what an amazing time we live in in regards to the social media.
I would love to have 5 minutes alone with…
I would love to have five minutes alone with Freddie Mercury. I consider him perhaps the greatest performer of all time, his voice is startlingly clear and beautiful, and he was able to mask his pain – a pain I think I can relate to – in music that had the tendency to sound theatrical and largely positive, which is so interesting to listen to. The nuances are stacked so high in each and every Queen song.

 

 

Social Media Links: