The Next Big Duo: Johnnyswim
Here’s a list for you: Simon and Garfunkel, Sonny & Cher, Hall & Oats, Ike and Tina Turner. Singing duos sit high on the list of music’s greats. In recent years, however, it has been rare to find a duo high on the charts. One fresh-faced pair is set on bringing back the trend. Meet Johnnyswim, a male-female duo whose acoustic vibes and passionate vocals bring you back to a time when music felt “real.” Their casual, innocent sound and laid back demeanor are a breath of fresh air among the range of highly edited styles that are out there today. Given the success of folksy, foot-stomping bands and singer-songwriters lately (i.e. Mumford and Ed Sheeren, to name a few), it's no wonder this talented duo has caught the attention of music lovers everywhere. The Nashville rooted couple seems to somehow mix the styles of The Civil Wars, Lauryn Hill, John Mayer and The Lumineers all into a soulful sound that is completely their own. While their albums have mostly been classified as “folk,” it’s hard to confine them to one genre. Their songs incorporate aspects of folk, soul, R&B and country, making it so there is something to please almost anyone.
Amanda Sudano and Abner Ramirez became Johnnyswim in 2005 after they met in a coffee shop and realized they shared the same passion for quality, soulful music. After collaborating on various projects it was easy to tell they had found something special. The groups talents run deep: Sudano is the daughter of pop icon Donna Summer and songwriter Bruce Sudano, while Ramirez went through classical music training at the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. More important than their musical prowess is their passion for their craft, which can be heard through the soulful vocals that define their songs. Johnnyswim stays true to their love of real, honest sound, making their music both lovable and impressive.
The early years of Johnnyswim were focused on songwriting and performing for small audiences around Nashville. Their audiences grew with each performance until the group decided to take on the biggest audience of all: the internet. Their YouTube videos show a relaxed couple whose talent seems to come so naturally. Viewers were drawn in by the group’s unique sound and innate ability. In 2008, Johnnyswim released their first EP, 1-4, which was met with limited success. Determined to make it, the duo moved to Los Angeles and began working on a second EP, 5-8, which dropped in 2010, supported by tours in New York and Los Angeles. Their third EP, Home, legitimized their efforts and gave the duo a quality rep in the business. The EPs title song, my favorite of theirs to date, combines the lovable, "Mumford-like" foot-stomping and hand-clapping with strong harmonies and an acoustic feel. Home became available on iTunes and soon the group made appearances on NBC's Tonight Show and VH1’s You Oughta Know, which launched the careers of artists such as James Blunt and Sara Barielles.
Johnnyswim is looking towards and even brighter future; their 2013 Bonnaroo performance is only a sign opf things to come. A full-length debut, “Heart Beats,” is scheduled for release early this year and music gurus such as Billboard and MTV are saying it could be big. This is just the beginning of the road for this soulful duo and I am beyond excited to see where they go from here.