R & B's Newest Kingmaker: Johnta Austin
For the past ten years, Atlanta, GA, has steadily nurtured and produced a homegrown sound within the world of R & B and Hip Hop, that is undeniable. Whether, it's Jermaine Dupri and the So So Def squad, LA Reid and the LaFace crew, or Ludacris and the DTP family, this city, breeds musical kingmakers.
The newest person to make the hits, is 24-year-old Johnta Austin. Although many have not really heard of him, millions have heard his music. Austin's incredible writing talents have garnered him Billboard Top 100 hits and even a Grammy. This dapper lad has penned for Toni Braxton "Just Be A Man," Aaliyah "Miss You," and most recently, Mariah Carey "We Belong Together and Jessica Simpson" Public Affair. "
Austin's first hit was eight years ago, when Tyrese belted his ballad, "Sweet Lady." That R & B smash made every young girl and woman want a piece of Tyrese. Little did know, a 16 year old old Austin, was the one that really caused them to go weak in the knees.
Not much has changed, cause Austin's new ballad, "Lil More Love" has the same effect, only this time, his own voice is hear.
In between getting ready for his album debut, Ocean Drive, and prepping for his first video shoot, Juicy talked up with Austin to talk about being a former choir boy, his love for the ladies, and how music inspires him.
Juicy: For those who do not know you, who is Johnta Austin?
Johnta: Man, I'm easy going. [I] like girls [laughs]. I love the ladies. Women are just beautiful, ya know.
Juicy: You're from Atlanta, right?
Johnta: Yeah, I was born and bred in the ATL. I'm from SWATS (South West Atlanta).
Juicy: I read that you grow up singing in the church?
Johnta: Well, my grandfather was a pastor, so I was following in his footsteps.
Juicy: Was grandfather was a major influence in your life?
Johnta: Yeah man. My grandmother was awesome. I remember listening to him as a child and just having the desire to be just like him. So my grandmother was absolutely a very influential person in the manifestation of my gift.
Juicy: So how did you get started in the business?
Johnta: Just doing shows and things like that. Things just took off.
Juicy: Like on overnight celebrity?
Johnta: I do not know about overnight [laughs]. I have been doing what I do for a while. I mean God has a different destiny for everyone, and when you follow the path that he has set for you, things just take their natural order.
Juicy: A lot of people do not have your same spirituality.
Johnta: Well growing up in church, that's at the very essence of who I am.
Juicy: So how do you remain grounded and not get cooked up in the glitz?
Johnta: There are temptations out here, the women, ya know. But I do not put too much stock in me, cause its all gods' blessing. I think that when you keep that in mind it keeps you focused on your craft and your love of music.
Juicy: Having such a wide range of artists that you've worked with, what artists continue to inspire you, personally?
Johnta: Artists like Marvin Gaye, Baby Face, R. Kelly, I mean these dudes are musical geniuses. They have take music to another level. They have taken music on all levels and have created masterpieces that were able to touch people in so many ways. Like the one joint that Marvin Gaye did [What's Going On] man, that song was created years ago, and still has managed to touch the hearts of millions of people today.
Juicy: So let me ask you, as an individual at the front of music and entertainment, do you feel that entertainers have any type of responsibility, with regards to the type of music they release?
Johnta: Well I think, we are accountable to a certain extent. Music is a very powerful tool … it can also be a dangerous weapon. For instance, I write a lot of songs about women and love, but I would never do anything to demean or belittle a woman. Women are precious beings, so in music when I'm writing about women, I'm conscious of the portal.
Juicy: When did you decide to crossover into being an artist?
Johnta: Well I was actually signed to record deal before, but my voice went through this change, and I was let out of my recording contract.
Juicy: So let's talk about your new album, Ocean Drive. How did you come up with that title?
Johnta: Ocean Drive is really nice strip in Miami. It's sexy, fun, relaxing. It's just a really nice place and that's reflective of my album. It gives you the fun, the sexy, the chill. Just great music.
Juicy: What's your favorite track?
Johnta: My favorite track would have to be "Turn It Up."
Juicy: I gotta make sure I check that out. Aside from your album and everything, are you working on anything else right now?
Johnta: Yeah man I'm back and forth, between New York and Philly, just constantly working, and writing. I'm in the studio now working with Enrique Iglesias.
Juicy: Before I let you go, I got to ask, what is the craziest thing that has happened to you've been in the biz?
Johnta: Just recently I was scheduled for a studio session with someone, I'm not gonna say who, but I was running late. When got there, he asked me to leave.
Juicy: Just like that?
Juicy:: That must have stung a little?
Johnta: Yeah, but I respect that. But that was crazy [laughs].