ARTIST NAME: Johnny Gates
SONG TITLE: Wish I Knew You
RELEASE DATE: June 1st, 2018
GENRE: Indie Pop/Rock
Johnny Gates – Wish I Knew You
Falling for music as an adolescent, Johnny Gates started his first band at high school in Providence, RI. These formative years were well spent, moving from passion to skill in the Providence music scene. Their determination took the band to Nashville, TN to chase the American dream, giving them the chance to hone their songwriting craft and work with some of music’s biggest names.
Since relocating once more to a land of opportunity, Los Angeles, Johnny has toured the US multiple times, including opening for the icon Rod Stewart. He has also become a fixture at Hollywood’s prestigious Hotel Cafe and more recently performing at The Rockwood Music Hall in New York and The Peppermint Club in Los Angeles. He’s now focused on his forays as a solo artist with producer David Labrel (Ryan Adams, Lukas Graham), channeling his life experiences into his vulnerable and honest music, which perfectly complements the tasteful musicianship he’s crafted while on the road.
Releasing on June 1st, “Wish I Knew You” deals with the very relatable message of unrequited love and wanting what you can’t have, with its storytelling deeply complemented by the stripped-back folk-rock instrumental that rides a very James Bay-esque wave, which altogether is sure to whisk you away into a pensive moment.
Speaking on the motivation behind the track, Johnny states “Wish I Knew You” was one of the first songs I wrote for the EP. At the time, I was in a situation where I was into a certain girl but wasn’t able to say anything because she was with someone else. I would see the way she looked at him, and I just kind of pictured it being me and knowing the real her. I think we can all agree that being a third wheel sucks”
Discuss your existence.
Family and music have always been the two most important things to me, and my existence here is truly defined by that.
State your favorite genre of music and your reason.
My favorite genre of music is that of the singer/songwriter. I think there’s something special about a genre that is able to survive, in the midst of so many trends coming are going. And I think it connects the most with listeners on a personal level and draws people out to concerts to just basically sing along. Which I love!
Tell us your experience as a musician.
I’d like to think my experience in music is that of having persistence. I started a band in high school that went from a small local scene, to eventually signing with Atlantic records. Now working on my first solo stuff, I’m as inspired as ever to write, record, and tour as much as humanly possible. My experience has always had a more “working class” take on music. I just love writing and touring.
Tell us the theme of your song.
“Wish I Knew You” is pretty much about how being the third wheel sucks haha.
Name the people behind your success and thank them on this platform.
First and foremost, my family, I’d be lost without them. My bandmates in runaway saints have played a huge role in any success I have now. And the fans who continue to show up to shows and support the music. They’re truly the key to anyone’s success in this industry. So thank you so much, guys, for always believing in this dream, and letting me know if a song is kind of lame ha.
Tell us your future goals.
Tour, tour, tour, and write and release music that I really feel like represents me as an artist and person, and connects with the fans that I’ve made along the way.
Share your press release and reviews with us.
Elaborate on how you think your music is inspiring your fans.
I think my music is pretty honest, so I’m hoping to inspire other songwriters especially, that’s it’s OK to just write whatever comes out. And for fans, I’m hoping they understand that we are all in this together, and hopefully, they can relate to some of the stories I have to share, and we can all hang and sing our hearts out together.
Analyze the transformations you have discovered so far in the music industry.
Well, seeing as I really started playing music in high school, technology has been the biggest transformation to hit the industry. It’s super accessible now to record, book shows, reach out to managers/producers/labels, release music, and connect with fans; which is awesome.
State the artists you cherish most and your reason.
I’ve always looked up to artists like Ryan Adams and Butch Walker. Both guys really dive headfirst into their projects and give it everything they have. From the lyrics to the guitar tones on the record, to the shows, it’s a full package of just raw talent and passion. They inspire me every time I pick up a guitar.
Elaborate on how you develop your lyrics.
I really try to draw from my real life as much as possible, so it’s usually when something specific happens, and I just dive in. I think the more detailed the better. And in the choruses, I try to keep it a little more open so everyone can hopefully relate.
Tell us if you enjoy collaborating with other artists or just singing as a solo artist.
I love collaborating when it comes to the recording process and touring. To me, there’s nothing more fun than sitting in a studio and just trying a bunch of different ideas while recording. And with the tour, you truly become a family out there, and I’m obsessed with that.
Brief us your opinion on making music that makes people dance or making the music with a genuine message that inspires them.
Personally, I’ve always been drawn to music with a genuine message. I think music can be therapeutic for so many people, and when a song that has a beautiful lyric or story hits me, there’s nothing better than that.
Haha well, I’m not the best when it comes to biz related questions, but I think it’s making sure that no one steals your music and benefits from it? I remember when I was a kid; I mailed lyrics to myself in the mail.
Discuss the impact of a Performance Rights Organization.
PRO’s track your spins and streams and help you collect the money that is owed to you. I’ve been with BMI for a while now, and my relationship with them actually played in a big role in signing my first big record deal. That’s an important relationship for sure.
Elaborate on how you develop your melody and instrumentation.
I like to set up all my gear like I’m at band practice, turn the amp up loud, and write in that environment. I feel like it’s the most natural for me. So I’ll just jam on whatever comes out.
Go into detail on the recording of this song.
I started recording this song in a rehearsal space in Hollywood. I did guitars, kick drum, and vocals down there, and eventually came up with a solid demo. From there, I took the demo to my producer, David Labrel and we built on top of that. We really sat around for a few days with this one, trying to nail down the best guitar tone. We wanted it to gradually build, and by the end, really feel good. But, keep it as raw as possible throughout. No tricks.
Discuss your music performance.
Performing is my favorite part by far. I love to just keep it as raw and honest as possible. Ideally, I like to play with an electric guitar for most of the set, and my kick drum, with a couple really stripped acoustic songs thrown in the mix. I love the quiet room, sing-along vibe. Eventually, I think playing theatres would be really cool.
State your artist’s name and elaborate on it.
Johnny Gates and shout out to my dad for having the same name!
State the title of the song and the meaning.
“Wish I Knew You” and it’s about a girl I was really into, but not in a position to let her know because she was with someone else.