August 22, 2007 â€“ Los Angeles, California – Vacillating between Hip-Hop, R&B, Soul, Electronica, Funk, Reggae and every kind of rhythm in between, sultry voiced Jennifer Johns crafts stirring tunes that are both heart-rending and head-bobbing. The Oakland, California music powerhouse proved herself as a potent interpreter of taboo desires with a passion for creating â€œElectric Hip-Soul,â€ on her critically-hailed debut, heavyelectromagneticsoularpoeticjunglehop, showing up & coming singers/songwriters/lyricists/producers how itâ€™s done.
â€œIt is not every day that an artist achieves the ability to stir the heart and soul through song and vibration. My heart has not yet stopped stirring since I have heard Jennifer Johns.” KRS-One
â€œJennifer Johns, another locally bred singer on the verge of an artistic breakthrough whose oversize personality matches her talent. Another Bay Area-bred singer on the verge of an artistic and commercial breakthrough is Jennifer Johns. She’s an Oakland native who’s toiled for years, opening shows for national artists such as KRS-One and touring with alt-hop fan favorites Blackalicious. Johns’ 2004 debut album, “Heavyelectromagnecticsoularpoeticjunglehop,” was an eclectic fusion of electronic beats and organic vocals, which touched on everything from hip-hop to soul to drum and bass to spoken word. Johns’ second album, titled “Painting on Wax,” looks to build on that foundation considerably, with production by Grammy-nominated producers Spontaneous (Mystic) and Charles Stella (Norah Jones), as well as local stalwart Amp Live (Zion-I, Goapele).â€ San Francisco Chronicle
Johns is one of the most promising voices in indie soul music today. Recently signed to Hiero Imperium Records alongside famed underground hip hop artists Casual, Del the Funkee Homosapien, Domino, Pep Love and Souls of Mischief, her triumphant sophomore album Painting on Wax is a compelling overload, combining warm, seductive vocals and vintage R&B with a funky new-age twist. Her music is a celebration of love and life; a powerful package of brilliant songwriting and flawless harmonizing. She still has that demure California charm about herself and a unique vulnerability that paints a picture of a young woman with an old soul full of timeless, liberated melodies. Although it was predominately West Indian rhythms that filled her home as a young girl, Jennifer says it was somewhere between Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh’s “The Show”, Rakimâ€™s “Know What’s on Your Mind”, and Queen Latifah’s “Ladies First” that she first fell in love with hip-hop music and soon identified as a part of the culture.
“Oakland native Jennifer Johns will inevitably draw comparisons to Jill Scott, and possibly fellow Oakland Youth Chorus alumnus Goapele, but be clear Johns is her own artist. From the opening 808 kick of “Heavy” to the spoken word/D&B of “Do You Believe in Love” to the doleful ambitious cover of Sade’s “Cherish the Day” Johns proves that she’s an original voice.” XLR8R Magazine
Currently on tour with the exquisite and elegant French/African duo Les Nubians Johns is an exceptionally graceful artist who got her start by hitting high notes in the church and school choirs. It was her experience performing with the multi-cultural Oakland Youth Chorus alongside soul pioneers Goapele and LaToya London, where she received her comprehensive training. Allowing her boisterous pipes to branch out and extend across Adult Contemporary and Hip-Hop, Johns boldly stakes out her own turf on her sophomore effort, Painting On Wax, a title that symbolizes the calm after the storm. â€œI was coming out of a painful relationship during the recording of my first album and had a lot of emotional experiences. I felt as if I had poured everything out of me; like I had bled on wax. So I felt that this time around, I would much rather paint.â€
â€œMademoiselle Jennifer Johns incontournable souffle de musique avoir et a ecouter car la vie, c’est maintenant.â€ Les Nubians
“Like it’s mouthful of a title suggest, John’s musical offerings merges elements from all over the place, from the bumping drum n’ bass rhythms of it’s title track to a dream Massive Attack style treatment of “Cherish the Day”. And while covering someone as singular as Sade might prove tricky for many up and coming artists, John’s husky, honeyed vocals possess polish and poise (honed through her years with the Oakland Youth Chorus and performances with artists like De La Soul, Medusa and Mystic) that anchor the track, and the entire album, in John’s eclectic yet organic sound.” San Francisco Bay Guardian
The dazzling 12-track composition is a perfect balance of genuine, intoxicatingly erotic slow burners and feel-good vocal confections that are full of life. While the first single, â€œMove With Itâ€, as well as â€œGoody Goody Gumdrops,â€ contain trunk rattling bass signifying certified club anthems, â€œNastyâ€ is on the opposite end of the spectrum; a clever cocktail of 80â€™s-era electro-Pop with sexually charged lyricism. On â€œGhetto Internationalâ€, the talented tunesmith calls on a bevy of talented California artists from the underground Hip-Hop scene to join her in a global jam fest where you find Palestinian and Panamanian MCs rhyming in their native languages. The Latin-flavored dancehall jam, â€œGet Upâ€ was co-produced by Johns and is an exuberant funhouse of a record that makes you want to crank up the volume and do just what it says. â€œChasing The Sunâ€ is another musical gem in which Johns also co-produced, and is a beautiful expression of her spirituality and electro-soul. With guest appearances by Gift of Gab from Blackalicious and Zion of Zion-I, and Kaz Kyzah of the Team to name a few; production provided by Amp Live (Zion I, Linkin Park, Goapele and Grammny nominees Spontaneous (Mystic) and Charles Stella (Wax Poetic and Norah Jones), Painting on Wax is a musical masterpiece.
â€œYou may have noticed a progression of talented female vocalists from the Bay Area recently: Ledisi, Goapele, Mystic, LaToya London, Jennifer Johns, Femi. All are stylistically diverse artists who have redefined the urban soul genreâ€¦ Performing in a recent underground hip-hop show at West Oakland’s 2232 MLK, the spoken-word poet and soul diva Jennifer Johns nearly stole all the shine from her sassy cohort Jean Grae. After all, few can resist the heft and deliciousness of Johns’ voice, which bears a rich inheritance from old-school jazz and blues women, harkening to forebears like Mavis Staples and Sweet Honey in the Rock.â€ East Bay Express Newspaper
The standout songstress has opened for some of the most respected names in the industry including Lauryn Hill, Mos Def, Common, Capelton, Black Eyed Peas, Slum Village, Lyfe Jennings, Zap Mama, De La Soul, Mary J. Blige, Chaka Khan, Missy Elliott, Be el Gilberto, Les Nubians, The Roots, and many more. Beginning October 2007 Johns will travel and perform alongside legendary hip hop icon KRS-One during the â€œI Am Hip Hopâ€ Tour which shares the same name as his honor at the upcoming 2007 BET Hip Hop Awards. Her music abounds with experiences that are both familiar and inspiring, which is an instant reminder of her hit making prowess. In addition to amplifying her voice for the masses, Johns also lends her time to a variety of community based organizations, namely after-school music programs. She sits on the board of Girlfest, an organization that raises awareness for battered women and children, in addition to working with Youth Speaks in California and Sybarite Productions Artist Development Center in New York- both programs that support young people and the arts through poetry, music, dance and performance.
â€œClassic hip-hop beats are freshened up with the sultry vocal harmonies and showering flows of Jennifer Johns. While honing her singing skills in the Oakland Youth Chorus, the sexy songstress/MC fell in love with hip-hop culture and decided to meld her R&B ambitions with boom-bap rap. The versatile Johns is well on her way to establishing herself as one of hip-hop soul’s elite.â€ Chicago Tribune
â€œJennifer Johns is a powerful performer. In front of hundreds of people at local stage shows in Berkeley and Oakland, Iâ€™ve seen her captivate the crowd and bare her soul, undeterred and in pure neo-soul fashion. Her music is off the hook too, with fierce punches of funk, dub reggae, social commentary and raw emotion, mixed with hip-hop beats, deejay tricks, and natural percussion.â€ Shout Magazine
Describing her poignant album as â€œsexy, b-girl-woman, international electro-soul-dance-hip hop experience,â€ the left coast diva who was influenced as equally by Sade, Whitney Houston, Lauryn Hill and Sweet Honey in the Rock as she was by Bob Marley, Earth, Wind & Fire, Paul Simon, Phoebe Snow and Jay-Z has successfully created a record of new material as durable as her old.
â€œOakland based soul sister Jennifer Johns will no doubt move you to raise your fist in the air in solidarity and peace.â€ 7×7 Magazine
â€œIn the same vein as Eryka Badu, Lauryn Hill and Jill Scott, but with her own style, spoken word artist and soulful singer Jennifer Johns impresses on this release. Overtop a range of electric beats and sonic breaks mainly provided by Spontaneous, atmospheric additions from live instruments and R&B vocals are well produced to create an alternative for the more popular sounds of the Neptunes and the like. Johns comes off easily appealing with provocative production and a sexy delivery of her voice.â€ Impact Press
â€œOnce the audience was sufficiently aroused with poetic foreplay, Jennifer Johns took the stage. The background music was an instrumental of Tupac’s â€œHail Mary,â€ and the crowd moved as one to the hip-hop-electro-reggae-funk. Johns moved smoothly on stage to melodic rhythms and lifted her feet one at a time, although against the backdrop of the night it seemed like she could fly. It was surreal. Beneath Johns’ entrancing voice, DJ Solo mixed and scratched with the skill of a surgeon. Johns performed into the early hours of Saturday morning, free styling while DJ Systematic spun a soundscape of dance hall reggae. It was surely Alaskan Hip-Hop History. We all bore witness to a star on her flight to fame.â€ Anchorage Press Newspaper
***New York tastemakers, trendsetters and industry executives are cordially invited to attend â€œRe-Living Voluptuous Living,â€ an exclusive non-profit event to raise money and benefit Sybarite Productionsâ€™ Artist Development School and New York Dance division. The show will highlight musical artist Jennifer Johns as well as include independently choreographed routines from famed urban choreographers including Tanisha Scott (Sean Paul, Beenie Man), Eric Negron (Destiny Child, Missy Ellliott), Tweety (MTV’s Dances from the Hood) and Marc Inniss (Amerie, Fabolous, P. Diddy, Elephant Man). â€œRe-Living Voluptuous Livingâ€ will also include a fashion extravaganza, featuring collections from such prominent designers as Adidas, Dickies Girl, Mecca, Brooklyn Xpress and LRG/Luxirie. This monumental and necessary artistic event will take place at New Yorkâ€™s prestigious S.O.Bâ€™s (204 Varick St. @ W. Houston) on Tuesday, August 21st from 10pm-2am.***