Former boyband member Johnny Wright takes time to talk to me about his experience at X-factor, going solo and what he has planned next.
So, Johnny, give us some interesting facts about yourself.
“I’m an avid music collector and own over 10,000 CD’s, they used to all be in release and alphabetical order until I moved. That’s my hoarder and OCD coming out there”!
“I used to be a Bluecoat in Blackpool and I have a misspelt Spice Girls lyric tattooed on my rib cage. I guess that’s interesting? Haha”
What was your life like as a child?
“I was blessed to have a really good childhood. My Mum and Dad were always so supportive. They bought a caravan when I was younger and I used to spend a lot of my time there. I had an accident in Year 4 that meant I was in and out of Children’s Ward, so I had a year out of school and I would spend my ‘convalescing time’ at the caravan park”.
How different is it from being in a band to becoming a solo artist? I could imagine being onstage on your own must be nervous in itself with out having band members next to you.
“Yea, it’s tougher. If you mess up, it’s just you. You can’t share the blame or laugh it off with your friends you’re sharing the stage with. It can get very lonely too, especially the touring side of it. Being backstage with just you and your phone for company, can get boring. Touring with the lads in my Frixion days were a constant laugh. So many memories were made and I had the best years of my life. But on the upside, you do meet so many new people touring alone and make new friends”.
You recently appeared on tv’s X-Factor, how was this experience? Is it what we see on tv or is it totally different?
“It was a strange experience for me really. The second I walked into the venue where the auditions were being filmed I reverted to my nervous 13-year-old self again. I was getting butterflies and shakes, the feeling I’ve lost over the years touring night after night. It’s strange, I can sing in front of thousands and I’m fine, pop me in front of 4 judges and roll the camera and BAM! It was such a long day, obviously, it’s a TV show so they only show the audition, but we got there at 9 am and we were seen at around 1 am. The judges were lovely though and everyone who works on the show is so friendly. Simon Cowell is nice guy, I think he can be misunderstood as ‘Mr Nasty’ because of his honesty, but he just knows what he’s looking for”.
What is your thoughts on digital download, with the likes of Spotify, Apple Music and so on, do you think music artist are losing out on promotion?
“I think the industry needed to evolve due to all the illegal downloading sites that popped up in the mid 00’s. The internet has a lot to answer for, but I think we’re slowly getting back on track with streaming counting towards sales. It takes the shine off the industry a bit though, there was always something magical about waiting for your favourite artist’s album to come out on Monday and to be one of the first to listen to it. I remember skipping school one Monday to get Hear’say’s album the day it came out from Woolworths haha you get to read the booklet, learn the lyrics and it was special. Kids today are used to things just chucked on the internet, the love isn’t there as much anymore”.
With that in mind, would you rather download a single or buy a CD?
“CD all day!! It’s a shame the younger music buying public, in general, aren’t fussed about owning a physical copy. It’s easier to just stream them. I’m loving the surge in vinyl sales though, it’s like it’s getting a second lease of life and even the younger audiences are buying record players and going out to their local music retailers and purchasing a record the proper way. It’s really lovely to see”.
Who is your favourite musician of all time?
“That is always a tough question! I’m such a melting pot of different genres it’s hard to say just one. Justin Timberlake is my idol. He owned his boyband years, I was a massive *NSYNC fan and his solo stuff has been next level. He seems like a really nice guy too. Also, I’m a not so secret Spice Boy. The Spice Girls ARE the 90’s in my eyes, they dominated the world and their music brings back so many good memories as a kid. I remember being obsessed with how big they were. They were on your soft drinks, your sweets and your crisp packets! It was crazy”!
For someone that believes in themselves to start in this business, how did you start as a solo artist and what advice would you give to upcoming artists?
“After Frixion called it a day, I didn’t initially want to go straight back into the industry singing. I started DJing and what started off as a hobby, took over and became my full-time job. A few years ago I was just like ‘singing is my life, what am I doing?’ And started back with my solo gigs. The best advice I can give to anyone wanting to start work as a singer/entertainer is just get yourself out there. Go to every audition, attend showcases, even offer to do a few songs at your local venues and if they like you they will book you again. I remember being 14 years old and knocking on every hotel on the prom in Blackpool and asking if I could do a free spot for them and if they like me they could get me paid bookings. I ended up doing a season at one of them. It’s a good way of getting your face and voice out there”.
Are you a boot or trainer man? And what’s your going on stage outfit?
“I’m definitely more of a trainer man. I still love my high tops and retro old-school American trainers. My stage outfits vary from gig to gig to be fair. When I do my pop shows I like to wear open shirts with vests, jeans and high tops or something a bit quirkier. But there are venues I do that have a strict dress code for artists and ‘no jeans’ policies, so I kinda have to scrub up well for them”!
What aftershave are you wearing right now?
“The new Paco Rabanne ‘Pure XS’. I’m a big Paco Rabanne fan, a Paco Ra’F’anne if you will haha I used to always get 1Million, but I’m in love with the new fragrance”.
What has been your best experience to date?
“When I was in the boyband, we released our album in Canada, so we lived in Toronto for 5 months promoting it. It’s such a beautiful city. Walking into an HMV in Toronto centre and buying a copy of our album was an immensely big moment for me”.
What can we plan to see/hear from you in the future?
“After the whole X Factor experience, it gave me a much-needed kick up the ass to get back in the studio and start writing again. I’d become content over the years and It’s been so long I forgot that euphoric feeling you get when your ideas come together and you listen back to something you created. So I’m currently doing that, working on my solo album, locking myself up in my room, alone and just letting everything out pen to paper. I’m so excited to get this album out there, it’s my baby and to show everyone what I’ve been up to and possibly a promo tour to match will be awesome. It’s gonna be a fun 2018”
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