Who You Need To Know: Martin Johnson

Martin Johnson is a man of all trades.  The singer, songwriter, guitar player, and producer has been in the music business since 2005.

Boys Like Girls

Johnson was the front man of pop punk band, Boys Like Girls, that began in 2005.  The band was comprised of Paul DiGiovanni (lead guitar), Morgan Dorr, John Keefe (drums), and former member Bryan Donahue (bass).  Their first album, Boys Like Girls, was released in 2006.  The album featured their most popular single, “The Great Escape” which has over 33.5 million streams on Spotify.  It peaked at 70th on the Billboard Hot 100, and spent 4 weeks on the chart.

Boys Like Girls - Martin johnson

Their second album, Love Drunk, released in 2009, had two singles that peaked at number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100.  “Love Drunk” spent 23 weeks on the chart, and “Two Is Better Than One” featuring Taylor Swift spent 19 weeks.

Bryan Donahue left the band in 2011.

Their last album was released in 2012, entitled Crazy World, which didn’t generate much buzz.

Songwriting and Producing Credits

Johnson is credited with many pop and punk hits.  In addition to writing for Boys Like Girls, here is an abridged list of his many songwriting and producing credits:

“Bad” – The Cab; 2011; 16 million Spotify streams

“Getting Over You” – The Used; 2012; 860,000 Spotify streams

“9th Life” – Papa Roach; 2012; 370,000 Spotify streams

“Bad for Me” – Megan & Liz; 4 million Spotify streams

“One for the Money” – Escape The Fate; 2013; 26 million Spotify streams

“The Other Side” – Jason Derulo; 2013; 92 million Spotify streams; RIAA-Certified Platinum

“Best I Ever Had” – Gavin DeGraw; 2013; 27 million Spotify streams

“Waiting for Superman” – Daughtry; 2013; 35 million Spotify streams; RIAA-Certified Platinum

“human” – Christina Perri; 2013; 115 million Spotify streams; RIAA-Certified Platinum

“You Got Me” – Gavin DeGraw; 2014; 7.5 million Spotify streams

“Once in a Lifetime” – Flo Rida; 2015; 19 million Spotify streams

“Yesterday’s Song” – Hunter Hayes; 2016; 14 million Spotify streams

The Night Game

The Night Game is Johnson’s solo project, and it’s my favorite of all of his music so far, even though there are only two songs released.  The Night Game was on tour with John Mayer this past summer.

“The Outfield” was the debut single.  The song is eerily reminiscent of music from to 80s.  The song is about chasing after something you want so badly, but can’t seem to get.  It’s something that is all-consuming, and takes up every inch of everyday, but you always feel like you’re in, well… the outfield.  It’s something that is out there, but no matter how hard you try, you’ll never get to it.

The next single was “Once in a Lifetime.”  This song gives you a better glimpse of who The Night Game is.  Sticking to the 80s pop feel, but getting deeper into Johnson’s world.  The song is about how there was a point in Johnson’s life where he couldn’t will himself to leave his apartment, but he eventually found a small beam of light and his world got brighter.

Martin JOhnson - the night game - velvet jones

“Kids in Love” is a single by artist Kygo, that features The Night Game.

Martin Johnson is a powerful force in todays music scene.  He doesn’t get enough credit, because he is mostly behind the scenes.  Definitely look out for him in the near future.  His new wave 80s pop/alternative style is on the way up.  And now, we patiently wait for his new album.

Listen to Boys Like Girls on Spotify here.

Listen to The Night Game here.

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Who You Need To Know: Andrew McMahon

Who is Andrew McMahon?

Andrew McMahon has been in the music business since 1998.  He is an American singer-songwriter and producer.  McMahon is an incredible live performer, where he spends most of his time on the piano during his live shows.  Since he has been active since 1998, he has been apart of a few different projects, and he has a handful of dedicated fans.

Something Corporate

Andrew McMahon - Something Corporate

Andrew McMahon – Something Corporate

Something Corporate was McMahon’s first project.  Comprised of Josh Partington and Reuben Hernandez (later replaced by William Tell) on guitar, Kevin Page on bass, and Brian Ireland on drums, SoCo was the kick starter for each of their careers, for they all still work in the music business.  SoCo was a pop-punk, alternative rock group who was finding their roots.  They found minor success with a 10 and a half minute ballad called “Konstantine” from their independently released EP Ready… Break.  The song was recorded live, and was only supposed to be four or five minutes long, but during the live show McMahon kept going, singing new verses as he went along.  The story the song tells transcended to their listeners.  It’s about a first love, and how the love McMahon has for her will always be there, she was always be his “Konstantine.”  Even today, McMahon gets heckled at his shows to play this song.  Because of the length, he only performs it about once or twice a year.

SoCo disbanded in 2004, which is when McMahon launched his side project, Jack’s Mannequin.

Jack’s Mannequin

The reason for the split of SoCo, was because their contract with their label ended in 2004.  McMahon wrote a song called “Locked Doors” which inspired his second project, Jack’s Mannequin.  He felt as if the song was too different from other SoCo songs and that if he ever wanted to release it, it wouldn’t be with SoCo, thus, Jack’s Mannequin was born.

The inspiration for the name of the band comes from a track called “Dear Jack.” In 2009, McMahon released a documentary under the same name, where he documented his battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.  McMahon began the Dear Jack Foundation, which helps fight against adolescent and young adult cancer.

Andrew McMahon - Jack's Mannequin

Jack’s Mannequin strayed from the pop-punk scene, and moved into full on alternative rock.  Their first album, Everything in Transit, was released in 2005, featuring their most popular songs, “Dark Blue” and “The Mixed Tape.”  “Dark Blue” went gold around eight years since it’s initial release.  The songs McMahon wrote for this project were more emotional and vulnerable than those of SoCo.  He wrote from a place of things being different than he remembered, and a place of change and acceptance of himself.  The most powerful music is music that relates to people, and that’s exactly what the music of Jack’s Mannequin does.  His fans from SoCo continued to support him.

Jack's Mannequin

Jack’s Mannequin – Andrew McMahon (piano), Jay McMillan (drums)

Jack’s Mannequin released one EP and three studio albums, with each one getting more popular than the last on the BillBoard 200.  Their full discography is as follows:  People in Transit (2005), The Glass Passenger (2008), The Dear Jack EP (2009), People And Things (2011).  The albums grew and matured with McMahon as a writer.

In September of 2012, Jack’s Mannequin played their last show together (besides the Everything in Transit 10 year tour).  McMahon would then move on to his third and current project.

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness

McMahon’s third project began in 2014.  The self titled album was his biggest release to date.  The indie pop and alternative rock album is loved by many, including myself.  The track “Fire Escape” peaked at #4 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart, and “Cecelia and the Satellite” peaking at #5.  This is his most popular project, and more and more people are falling in love with him and his music.  With this endeavor, McMahon toured with Weezer and Panic! At The Disco during the summer of 2016.  His second album, Zombies on Broadway, was released in 2017.

Andrew McMahon is a fluid artist, continually changing and not afraid to try new things, and part with what is old.  He has been popular since 1998, and he will continue to stay relevant.

Who You Need To Know: Jack Antonoff

Who is Jack Antonoff?

Jack Antonoff has most likely produced or written (or both) one of your favorite songs in the last 5 years.  He works with a variety of artists, including Taylor Swift, Lorde, and Sia.  He started his career off in an indie rock band called Steel Train, in 2002.  Steel Train’s last album, Steel Train, was released in 2010.

In 2009, Antonoff  joined Nate Ruess and Andrew Dost to form the iconic alternative rock band fun.  The bands second (and final) album released in 2012, Some Nights, had multiple chart toppers, including the #1 “We Are Young,” which lasted on the Billboard Hot 100 for 43 weeks.

Fun.

In February 2014, Antonoff announced his newest project (and best yet), Bleachers.  Bleachers released Strange Desire in August 2014.  The lead single, “I Wanna Get Better,” peaked on the Billboard Alternative chart at #1, and the album itself peaked at #11 on the Billboard 200.

Antonoff reworked his first album, Strange Desire, and turned it into Terrible Thrills, Vol 2.  On this album, he recreated his music from Strange Desire, and had popular artists put a twist on it.  Each song is sung by a different artist.  Sia sing’s on “Like a River Runs,” giving it a completely different feel than it had on Strange Desire.

While still working with Bleachers, Antonoff works with a number of popular artists.  He and Lorde collaborated on her #1 sophomore album, Melodrama. He also produced three songs on Taylor Swift’s pop breakout album, 1989, as well as her newest single, “Look What You Made Me Do.”

Jack Antonoff, Taylor Swift, Lorde

Most of Bleacher’s music revolves around the death of Antonoff’s younger sister, Sarah, who lost her life to brain cancer at age 13.  He openly speaks and writes about her and how the loss affected his life.  In “Like a River Runs,” track #8 on Strange Desire, he sings “when I fall asleep I can see your face, what I lost in you I will not replace, and I could run away, I could let them down, but I will remember your light.”

Antonoff is now on his Gone Now Era tour to promote his sophomore album, Gone Now.  Gone Now‘s lead single, Don’t Take The Money, was Bleacher’s return to music.  The song dominated alternative radio and was a fan favorite at music festivals across the globe this summer.

Gone Now is an album unlike any other I have heard in alternative music.  It is an album that should not be listened to on shuffle.  Antonoff uses lyrics and melodies heard on earlier songs and translates them into the later songs.  The album is incredibly cohesive in so many ways.  “Goodmorning” and “Goodbye” mirror each other, but are still completely different.

Bleachers at the MTV VMA Artist to Watch Concert

Bleachers at the MTV VMA Artist to Watch Concert

 

What can’t Jack Anotonoff do?  Virtually nothing.

 

You can purchase or stream Strange Desire, and Gone Now, and purchase tickets to the Gone Now Era Tour here.