FACES of the South: Angie Johnson

With next week comes July 4th, which makes us extra excited to have today’s FACE of the SOUTH, Angie Johnson. If you haven’t heard of her, you will. As a member of the U.S. armed forces, serving in intelligence and eventually as an Air Force Band vocalist, Angie was thrust into the spotlight when, on her last deployment, a soldier filmed her entertaining the troops singing Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” He uploaded it to YouTube and 11 days later the video had been seen over a million times! Fast forward to Carson Daly encouraging her to audition for The Voice, where she landed on Team CeeLo and stayed until the Battle Rounds. Now, Angie Johnson is a signed artist for Sony and an Air Force reservist.

How did you find your way to Nashville and where did you grow up?

I grew up in St. Ann, Missouri, a little suburb in St. Louis county. My dad, who is originally from Pikeville, Kentucky, was a huge bluegrass and country music buff, and we used to watch The Nashville Network together all the time. Knowing that all of the artists that I loved were making music out of Nashville put a desire to live here in my heart early on. When I finished my active duty term in the Air Force, before joining the Air National Guard, I finally made the move to Music City.

What has been the biggest difference in your perception of the music industry and the reality?

The biggest difference is that I didn’t realize how much work being an entertainer is. It’s kind of like being a service member. The same way that you’re in a troop 24/7, you’re an artist 24/7. I’m always on the move, either going to creative meetings, marketing meetings, social media meetings, stylist fittings, meetings with my producer, songwriting sessions, recording in the studio, interviews, traveling to gigs, etc. And when I’m not going here or there, I’m thinking about tweaks for the album, talking points for my stage show, designing concert merchandise, charities I support. Somewhere in the middle of all of that I have to remember to make maintaining my relationships, my home and my health priorities. Time has to be managed well. It’s a lot of fun! But it’s also a lot of diligent work.

Are you a songwriter as well as a singer?

Yes, and I cowrite. I cowrote the title track of my EP, “Sing For You,” and the fourth track, “Swagger.”

What highlights in your career have happened in just the past 2 months?

I got to release my EP at The Grand Ole Opry during a special show celebrating the anniversary of our Vietnam veterans returning home. That was such a dream come true. The project was finally releasing after months of pouring our souls into it. And I got to perform at The Opry in front of an audience full of service members. It was totally magical. Also, at this year’s CMA Fest, I was invited by The Goo Goo Dolls to perform two new songs off of their new “Magnetic” album with them. Every other minute I was blinking and pinching myself to make sure the experience was real. I still can’t believe I got to sing with Johnny Rzeznik! He even gave me his number and suggested we write together sometime!

How will you be celebrating July 4th?

I’m always on my two weeks of annual training in the Air National Guard on July 4th. This Independence Day, my unit and I will be entertaining veterans at a VA home in St. Louis.

What is one way that everyday Americans can give thanks to our servicemen and women this July 4th?

Well, service members love to kick back with a tasty adult beverage, especially on national holidays. So if you see a troop on the 4th, hand ’em a sparkler and beer!

With lots of travel on your agenda, what are must-haves for your carry-on bag?

I always travel with my St. Louis Cardinals Fredbird PillowPet. My manager hates it because he’s a Cincinnati Reds fan. That’s another reason I love carrying it. Go Cards!

Can you share one piece of life advice with us that you have leaned on?

If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that life passes by in phases, and phases end. So if you’re in a phase of life that is just totally amazing, then relish every second. On the flip-side, if you’re at a low point or in a stressful place, keep the faith because that phase will end and a new one will begin. You just have to hang on until then. I’ve given that advice to a lot of deployed troops or friends going through work or marriage troubles…or newborns, ha ha!

In this exciting time of your career, how do you carve out time to spend with your loved ones?

I have to make it a priority. I still have the same 24 hours in each day like the next girl. But maintaining my relationships is one of the most important things to me. So sometimes I have to decide to reconnect with a friend over breakfast at 7 a.m., instead of sleeping in, because that is the only time I have over several weeks to do so. I’m also usually a really tidy person when it comes to my living space. But I’ve let things being spic ‘n’ span slide in an effort to spend time with my Mom or call my Dad who lives in Florida. I’d rather talk to them than clean the kitchen any day.

When you think of the South, what is one distinguishing feature?

Sweet tea! We do it right in the South.

What’s your favorite luxury or indulgence?

A really great meal. I love gathering with friends at a laid back restaurant and having delicious food, red wine and lots of laughs and good conversation.

What is your favorite thing about living in Nashville?

The vibe. It’s just enough big city and small town. Whether you go downtown or out on someone’s land, all of Nashville just feels alive. Of all of the places I’ve traveled to in the military, Nashville is still my favorite place in the whole wide world.

If you even have time to read, what book(s) currently has your attention?

I love to read. It’s one of my top 3 de-stressors. I’m all about the motivational self-help books. I’ve recently started reading Joyce Meyer’s Battlefield of the Mind. Joyce tells it to you straight. I like that.

Nashville is becoming known as quite the food town. Would you share one of your favorite dishes at a local restaurant?

I’m obsessed with the Junk Salad at Tavern. It’s got everything in it but the kitchen sink.

Please name 3 things that you can’t live without (lighthearted, excluding God, family and friends!)

  • A canine companion (i.e. my dogs Banjo, Fiddle and Zoe)
  • A digital companion (i.e. my iPhone)

Thank you so much Angie! Hear some of Angie’s music here: http://home.officialangiejohnson.com.

If you haven’t seen that video that launched Angie’s career, here it is! Over 3 million hits!