The Creative Original Artists Rock Radio Show showcases independent artist who are making their name in the music world. With keeping with this theme and as a partner with Mayhem Music Magazine, C.O.A.R. Radio showcases Johnny Lima as their Spotlight Artist.
Johnny Lima is a singer, songwriter, producer and award winning artist for “Best Rock Performance” for his song “Blame It On Love” from his album ‘My Revolution’. This California native got his first guitar at age twelve. A few years later Lima took his songwriting and vocal talents to the San Francisco Bay Area. After fronting a couple bands, Johnny knew in order to take his career to the next level he’d have to do it alone. After spending a few years honing his songwriting skills, Johnny entered the studio to record his debut solo album in 1996. This album was released independently worldwide.
Lima’s style of music was still respected overseas and garnered the attention of many independent labels in Europe, those hell bent on keeping melodic rock alive. Now and Then Productions in England signed Lima to a production deal in 1998 and he released his sophomore album ‘Shine On’ the following year on Italy’s Frontier Records.
Lima was also invited to perform at the annual Gods of AOR show in England in 1999 and 2000. On his return from England in 2000, Johnny wasted no time and began writing music for his third album, ‘Made In California’ which was scheduled to be released in 2001. Little did he know that 2001 was going to be a very important year in his personal life, and that music would take a backseat for the first time.
‘Made in California’ wouldn’t see the light of day until 2003. Released by Frontiers Records, Made in California was an album that showcased Lima’s knack for big hooks, big vocals, and was the perfect soundtrack to any rock fan’s summer.
Lima’s debut album from 1996 was becoming a much sought after album amongst rock fans and therefore harder than ever to find. He decided to re-record the songs from the debut album, and ‘ Version 1.2’ was released by Escape Music in 2005 and would include brand new versions of most of the songs on the debut album, with a new song added in for good measure. Between 2006-2007, Lima kept himself busy in the studio producing and co- writing Dirty Penny’s debut album ‘Take It Sleezy’, which reached 39 in Classic Rock Magazine’s top 50 albums of 2008. He also produced an E.P. for Southern California’s Diamond Lane. Lima was also called on to record and mix albums by Miss Crazy, and the highly anticipated debut album from the new supergroup Freakshow, which included Frankie Banali from Quiet Riot on drums, and Jeff LaBar from Cinderella on lead guitar. Dirty Penny would also call on Johnny in 2009 to produce their sophomore album, Young & Reckless.
In the summer of 2008, Lima went back into Suspect Studios to record ‘Livin’ Out Loud’ was released worldwide in 2009 independently. With a renewed passion for performing music, Lima decided it was time to get out of the studio and take his music to the stage so in 2012, he put together a group of some of the Bay Area’s best, and took the stage for the first time in 12 years. 2012 was also the year he finally returned to Europe. With performances in Germany, as well as Europe’s most beloved rock festival, Firefest, in Nottingham, England.
Johnny spent most of 2013 in the studio but before he could complete his new album, Johnny embarked on an acoustic tour in Europe with shows in Stockholm, London, and a sold out show in Nottingham. On his return, he realized that in order to finish the new album, he was going to have to find a way to finance the completion of the album. Recently hearing success stories in regards to “crowd-funding”, Johnny decided to give it a try. Thanks to the generosity of his fan base, he was able to raise enough money on IndieGoGo to complete the album, and in March of 2014, Johnny Lima’s latest rock masterpiece, “My Revolution” was officially released. Later that same year, Johnny was invited to perform at the Vasby Rock Festival in Sweden, where he shared the stage with legends like Europe, TNT, Gotthard, and House Of Lords. Lima also performed at Melodic Rock Fest 4 that same year here in the US.
For 2015, Johnny decided to record an acoustic based album titled “Unplug ‘N Play”.
With “Unplug ‘N Play” being released and Johnny Lima being the C.O.A.R. Radio Show “Spotlight Artist”. Mayhem Music Magazine talked with Johnny to find out more about this artist and producer.
Mayhem Music Magazine: Johnny, you released your first full acoustic album entitled “Unplug n’ Play” in December. What made you go acoustic this time around?
Johnny Lima: The whole purpose of me doing an acoustic album was to support an acoustic tour that I had booked for the summer of 2015. However, I wasn’t able to finish the album on time but I ended up releasing it anyways because it turned out pretty damn good if I say so myself. I’m really proud of it, and I think it helped me grow as a songwriter.
Mayhem Music Magazine: How do you feel your writing style has changed since your debut album in 96?
Johnny Lima: That’s a great question. I don’t know if it’s changed, it definitely has progressed. The more you do it the better you get at it. That applies to everything. I think it still fits in the same genre but I’m a much better song writer now then I was twenty years ago. If I wasn’t, I’d stop doing this.
Mayhem Music Magazine: I’ve always felt that a well written song could be played electric or acoustic and still hold up either way because of the melody and the lyrics.
Johnny Lima: I totally agree. A great song is a great song, regardless if it’s just with an acoustic guitar or a full electric band. That’s the best test. Take any song and just sing and play it on an acoustic. If it still moves you, then it’s a great song. If it feels like some- thing’s lacking, well, it’s not such a great song after all.
Mayhem Music Magazine: You’ve played some notable shows in Europe in 2015. Can you tell us about some of them?
Johnny Lima: Yeah, I was there the year before as well. I played the Vasby Rock Festival in 2014. I wanted to come back the following year and that’s why I booked that acoustic tour. This time I wanted to hit some markets I hadn’t been to before like Greece and Norway. Zinny Zan, the organizer of the Vasby Rock Festival found out I was going to be in Sweden at that time and he invited me to sing with the Vasby All Star Band. So I performed at Vasby Rock Festival 2015 and it was an amazing experience. Great to share the stage with so many awe- some artists.
Mayhem Music Magazine: Do you have any plans for playing live in 2016?
Johnny Lima: In October I’ll be playing Rock n’ Skull which is in Illinois. It’s a weekend festival and in November I’ll be playing the H.E.A.T. Festival in Germany. Looking in to getting more dates booked in Europe, but nothing has been finalized.
Mayhem Music Magazine: When you go out this time are you going out with a full band?
Johnny Lima: Yes, I’ll be bringing some of the guys from my American band, and use a couple of Europeans. It’s a good mix! HAHAHA!!
Mayhem Music Magazine: Who were your music influences growing up?
Johnny Lima: Well KISS was my first intro- duction to rock n roll back when I was four years old and I’ve loved rock music since then. I got into Black Sabbath and Van Halen. Then in the mid to late 80’s it was Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Ratt, and I also loved the Scorpions. I also loved some of the lighter bands like REO Speedwagon, Styx, and even Air Supply. I don’t admit that that often but you can’t deny that Air Supply have written some of the most beautiful ballads ever.
Mayhem Music Magazine: It doesn’t sound like rock music was the only genre that influenced as a song writer?
Johnny Lima: There’s a lot of great music out there and I think that’s what makes me a great song writer is that I don’t just listen to rock music. I listen to pop, to country, to real heavy stuff. I’m really influenced by writers and producers like Mutt Lange, and Max Martin. Other people that influence me from a songwriting perspective are Desmond Child, Diane Warren, Bryan Adams, to name a few.
Mayhem Music Magazine: You’ve been a recording artist for quite awhile.
Johnny Lima: It’s my twentieth anniversary and that’s why I’m going to be working on a “Best Of” album this year. I’m going to highlight my whole career. It’s going to be a double album. I’m going to have six to eight new songs and like twenty two songs from the seven albums I’ve released. I’ll be re-recording some of them. It’ll be kind of fun revisiting some of those songs. I’m looking to have it finished by the end of summer.
Mayhem Music Magazine: You also stay busy as a producer.
Johnny Lima: Yeah, I love being in a studio. I love creating. That’s my favorite part of doing all this. I love working with other artists and bringing things out of them that they didn’t even know they had or taking their song and making it better. I’m working that as much as being a performer and solo artist.
Mayhem Music Magazine: Who are some of the artists you are working with?
Johnny Lima: I just finished mixing a band called Mukagee and also a Portuguese artist named Joey Medeiros. Right now I’m in the process of mixing an album for a group out of LA called Idora. I’m working with an artist Tara Black doing a song with her that we co-wrote. I’m also working with Dave Friday from Madman’s Lullaby. We’re doing a whole album together.
Mayhem Music Magazine: Since you’re a veteran in the music industry. What do you think of the music industry in this day and age?
Johnny Lima: I think things are great but I think what the problem is that people no longer value music. I remember when I was a kid and I’d go buy an album I’d sit there and listen to it from beginning to end at least four or five times. Music was a source of entertainment for me. It was an escape. Nowadays we’re competing with PS4’s and xBox’s. Music has now become sort of like background noise while you’re driving or cleaning the house. It’s so easy to go on the internet and just grab a song and you don’t have to pay for it. So with that aspect the music business really sucks. But with saying that, the internet has opened a lot of doors for musicians like me because I don’t need a record company to promote my album. I’ve got social media, I’ve got the website, we’ve got iTunes. There’s pros and cons of the music business nowadays. I just try and pay attention to the pros, and try not to let any of the cons bring me down.
Mayhem Music Magazine: C.O.A.R Radio has been a big supporter of your music. What can you say about Timothy J and COAR Radio being such a promoter of independent artists?
Johnny Lima: Timothy’s awesome. He’s de- finitely a fighter for the cause. I can’t thank him enough for what he’s done for me and all the other artists he promotes and supports. I’m always appreciative of support and I’m always grateful for it. I don’t take any of that for granted.
You can hear Johnny Lima on The Creative Original Artists Rock Radio Show at: www.coarradio.com
To keep up to date on the latest news on Johnny Lima, you can visit his web page at: www.johnnylima.com
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