Johntá Austin has been the pen behind some of the biggest hits within the past few decades, but he’s also an excellent performer. Working with artists such as Usher, the late Aaliyah, Trey Songz, Ideal, Mariah Carey, and more, Johntá is considered an industry pro. With the release of a new project titled “Love, Sex, and Religion,” the crooning songwriter is finally showcasing to the world a different side of his artistry. Singersroom sat down with the two time Grammy award winner, and he put his current situation in an enlightening perspective.
LL: Being a songwriter/singer, along with your industry colleagues such as Ne-Yo, The-Dream, and more, how does it feel to make not only amazing music for yourself but help others find success?
JA: It feels amazing; music is all about sharing connections, so their success is my success and vice versa. Especially when you write a song that wins awards. As a writer, we have a huge hand in the creative process. From seeing the melody blend in with the lyrics to the song being played on the radio. Finally, seeing the accolades the song accumulates makes the process worthwhile.
LL: Amazing, what’s also amazing is your expansive catalog. What particular song you have written resonates with you the most?
JA: Wow, that’s a good question. Well, “Sweet Lady” by Tyrese was my breakout songwriting hit, so that particular song will always have a special place in my heart. A couple of other songs: “I Don’t Wanna” by Aliyah and “We Belong Together” by Mariah Carey have and will always resonate with my heart and well-being. However, I have so much music that I feel like everything I have written or sung holds a place in my soul.
LL: I could imagine! Now for the music you curate yourself, how you do approach making music? What’s your process?
JA: First, I conceptualize the concept and vision for the song I want to curate. Second, I connect with a fellow creative or producer. Third, we “vibe” out in the studio and have a good time doing what we love to do! Finally, we add in our final edits to get the finished song out.
LL: I always wondered, which decades of music influenced you the most and why?
JA: Wow, while I take influence from all decades, the two, in particular, that really influenced me the most are the 1970s and the 1990s. The 70s had the wonderful soul of Motown, which paved the way for me and multiple other artists today. R&B was at its golden age in the 90s, and I grew up in that era with Boyz II Men, Jodeci, and more generational talents. You may call me 70s inspired, but the 90s has to be my favorite decade of music.
LL: Out of curiosity, if you had to curate a song that blends both decades, what would it be called and why? Any features?
JA: That’s a tricky one! I might have to call it Love and Incredible; those themes were relevant within those two decades. Blending those two concepts might actually not be a bad idea. Thank you for the inspiration! For the features, Stevie Wonder would be an amazing choice, especially with the elements of Motown. Beyoncé and the late Whitney Houston would provide incredible features to the song.
LL: I love discussing curating music! Speaking of that, what have you been cooking up in terms of music for other artists?
JA: Well, I’ve been in the studio with Usher, Trey Songz, and Bryan-Michael Cox. Speaking of Cox, we have an EP coming up.
LL: How does it feel to work with somebody of Cox’s caliber?
JA: Bryan and I go back, we have been cool for decades. From us both working with Mary J. Blige, him being heavily involved with my project ‘Love, Sex, and Religion,’ and working on other projects, he and I have built such a strong bond. I’m fortunate and happy to help him explore another side of his artistry with the upcoming EP. Doing it together with him is incredible.
LL: To hold such a bond with another creative for decades and having success astounds me. What particular moment within those twenty years resonates with you the most?
JA: It’s so many, many memories! If I had to narrow it down, the success we shared with Mary J. Blige is determinedly a moment to remember. A throwback, since we knew each other forever, would be his first number one single with Ideal called “Get Gone.” Sharing that moment with him was so special and set up a great beginning for our journey. Now, sharing new sides of our artistry together in the upcoming project will add to the long list of memories we share.
LL: Amazing, this might be random, but did you or Bryan make the famous Mary J. Blidge shuffle? If not, then do you know who?
JA: Nope! Honestly, I don’t think we ever will! That’s one of those questions where we might never get the answer too!
LL: Anyways, to get back on subject, what would you tell fellow songwriters who are pursuing singing careers?
JA: I would tell them just to stick with it, believe in themselves, and to never give up. It took me over a decade to get this project out. Knowing and honing your artistry will keep the creative juices flowing. As long as you got the fire to create, then you shall achieve the goal you set to reach.
LL: Wonderful words! Any Shout outs for your team?
JA: Man! I got to shout out all of the creatives for ‘Love, Sex, and Religion.’ Jermaine Dupri, Bryan-Michael Cox, Troy Taylor, Drumma Boy, Dondria, and Bobby Storm! Shout to the album, show some support for it, it’s great R&B; we got more coming for y’all!
LL: What is the meaning behind the project name, ‘Love, Sex, and Religion?’
JA: All three of those topics are relevant in every aspect of life. Love and Sex are interchangeable, which every human being experiences while Religion is what made the first two and governs them. I just wanted to curate a project named and based on content in which my listeners and fans can relate to! It brings balance to my project.
LL: I love that perspective! Final question, since we are currently in NYC, based around our surroundings, what song would you curate from it?
JA: Wow, honestly, I would probably have to remix Frank Sinatra because a song about New York has been done multiple times. This has been a dope interview, shout out to Singersroom!