When Robby Johnson came to Nashville to cut a couple of songs, he never imagined that he’d end up in the recording studio as a full-fledged artist with six of his own tunes on the project and then shooting a music video with director Ryan Smith (My Kinda Party). But life works in amazing ways sometimes, as Robby proves.
The Canadian-born singer grew up with French as his main language, but from an early childhood, he found himself inexplicably drawn to everything American. When his parents went through a painful divorce and his mother moved Robby and his brothers to a small town in Quebec, the boy turned to television as a way to handle his loneliness. He soaked up American programs, songs and movies, perfecting his accent-free English through exposure to a variety of videos, shows and networks. Robby was practically raised by American television. Poverty and shyness were a way of life for Robby growing up, but in his imagination he dreamed big. He always believed that one day – some day – he would find a path toward the life he hoped for.
After high school, he took a job in a manufacturing plant. The equipment noise was deafening, but against the 110-decibel background levels, Robby could sing as loud as he wanted to on his shifts. His destiny finally took form one Christmas when he received a paid demo session as a present. The experience changed him forever. It was the first time he realized his voice might be special and that his songs could affect those who heard them. In 2012, Robby decided to come to Nashville and cut more songs. So strongly did he believe in his dream that even when the company where he worked as a manufacturers’ sales rep refused to give him time off, he took a leap of faith and moved to Nashville.
In Nashville, renowned studio musician/producer Jimmy Nichols was brought in to oversee arrangements, but when he recognized the potential of Robby’s talent, Nichols turned to Grammy and multi-award winning songwriter/guitarist Frank Myers (“I Swear,” “I’m Already There,” “Tomorrow”) and together they started helping Robby find his way through Nashville’s Music Business. “The minute we started working with Robby, we threw out the rule book,” says Nichols. “Everything was so different with him from the beginning. He has the makings of a true artist.” Echoes Myers, who likens Robby’s sound. “He definitely has the ‘it factor.’ I really believe Robby has the potential to fill a void right now in country music.”
Their work paid off as one of the songs they recorded broke Top 20 on US country radio charts, a rare accomplishment for an independent artist. Even more unbelievable is when Robby was invited to perform his single on the LATE SHOW with David Letterman. This unprecedented success opened the doors to incredible collaborations for Robby’s first album. Legendary producer James Stroud stepped in and helped Robby gather songs from Nashville’s top songwriters including Luke Laird, Ashley Gorley, Dallas Davidson, Shane McAnally and Sam Hunt just to name a few. As an added treat, country music giant, Vince Gill, plays an electrifying guitar solo on one of Robby’s songs titled “I Ain’t The Guy”.
With interest building and a buzz underway about Robby’s upcoming album, the singer-songwriter seems poised for stateside success, something he’s pinching himself to realize.