Jemma Johnson is one of the growing number of young musicians making a name for themselves on YouTube. Her channel is packed with beautiful covers and she’s just written her own self-penned track ‘Say No’ as a free download. She is currently working on her first EP and took some time out to chat to us about her influences and plans…
Hi Jemma! Would you like to introduce yourself to the TMF readership.
Hi! I’m Jemma Johnson, I’m 20 years old and I’m a singer/songwriter currently studying in Leeds.
Your debut track, “Say No”, is available for download. Can you tell us a little about it?
I wrote ‘Say No’ sometime last year and I remember going through a phase where I would say yes to everything, work and family related. It took a while for me to realise that I was only doing it for other people and not myself. So, this song is about that and just accepting that even the smallest of things can be hard to deal with.
Do you have an earliest musical memory? Was there a record or act that made you think ‘I want to do this!’
I remember going into a shop with my family when I was around six years old, and I was pretending to be Pocahontas from Disney – as you do. I was swinging on anything and everything and happened to swing around a shelf full of mugs… It crashed to the floor and broke nearly everything on it. It was quite an embarrassing experience but it never stopped me singing!
When I was 15 years old, my friend sent me ‘Love Story’ by Taylor Swift, as soon as I’d listened to it I ran up to my room and picked up my guitar. I wrote two songs that night and they became the first songs I played to a live audience.
If we were to look at your MP3 player, is there anything on there you’d rather we didn’t see? Do you have your own stuff on there?
To be honest, I update my MP3 player so often I don’t really have anything on there I’d be embarrassed of. I do have my own music on there because it’s really important to listen back to your own stuff so you can hear what works and what doesn’t and then improve it.
Is there any style of music you just don’t get?
I don’t get unnecessarily loud and fast music. I can appreciate some styles to an extent but I feel it exists for musicians who want to show off how fast they can play, and to me, that’s not what music is about.
Are there any artists you’d really like to collaborate with in the future?
I’d love to collaborate with Kina Grannis. She’s a huge inspiration to me because she’s proven that you can be successful without the help of a major record label.
What’s next for Jemma Johnson?
Well, I’m working on an EP at the moment which will be my first official release so I’m really excited but I want it to be perfect so it’s taking some time.
What’s the question we should have asked you today?
Where can you find me?
I have a YouTube channel where I post covers every now and again so if you want to have a look it’s here.