From singing in a church youth praise band back at the age of 15, KC Johns has become a successful singer, songwriter and recording artist, whose country-rock sound is attracting more fans all of the time.
Johns, who was raised in Hernando but now lives in Nashville, is on tour, writing songs, making music videos, and even having her music heard in a motion picture.
Her song “Whiskey Break” was part of the documentary film “Enormous,” a movie about the Gorge Amphitheatre, the largest outdoor concert venue in the country. The film documents the beginnings of the Gorge Amphitheatre in rural Washington State east of Seattle, and how it’s become a popular spot for the top names in the music business and their fans.
“Every band’s played there,” Johns said recently in a conversation with DeSoto County News. “Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, they’ve all played there. We got an email a couple of months ago. They wanted to use ‘Whiskey Break’ and I was super excited about that.”
Johns thinks the song’s exposure in the movie opens more personal career opportunities. She also knows the Gorge is a place she’d like to perform at sometime.
“It definitely opens some doors up now that the song’s in the movie,” said Johns. “Now that I’ve seen the movie, I definitely want to go out there. When you go out there you have to camp. If you’re going out there for a concert you’re going to be out there for the whole weekend.”
While the Pacific Northwest is someplace Johns might like to visit in the future, right now her travel plans have her headed toward the Florida Keys. That’s where she’ll be the focus of the film, producing a music video for her new single, titled “Shore Feels Good.” Johns described the song in summery, upbeat terms.
“I wrote it with my buddy Steven Cade,” Johns said. “We’re shooting a music video in Key West, so we’re excited about that. The single comes out on Aug. 13 and the music video comes out two weeks later.”
In fact, Johns said music videos are now a vital part of any song’s promotion and popularity. She cited an example of a cover Johns did and pushed out on social media.
“Earlier this year, we released a song called ‘Black Dog,’ a cover of a Led Zeppelin song. It went viral on TikTok,” she explained. “Overnight, it just blew up. Every time we’re releasing a single we try to do a music video because video content right now is everything.”
Social media and video has also kept Johns’ music top of mind for current and new fans of her sound. During the past year, when the coronavirus pandemic closed many venues, it was social media that sent her music to a global audience.
“I gained fans in a different place that I never thought I would,” KC said. “I started going live on TikTok, I started going live on Facebook, and I started getting these fans from all over the world that I probably wouldn’t have gotten, just being in Nashville.”
Johns also credits a team she has put together in the last year-and-a-half that has used social media to promote and brand her music to that growing audience.
The talented musician has done a ton of traveling in a career that started when she took a trip with her mother, Darlene Johns, to check out the music scene in Nashville as a teenager during a spring break. KC learned much from the visit, primarily learning that her music journey was just beginning.
“I didn’t really feel like I knew who I was as an artist then and really didn’t fit in, so I finished college, then got a job on cruise ships and I sang on cruise ships for about 5-6 years,” KC related. “After that, I got a job at Dollywood, did one season there and then moved back to Nashville. I’ve been in Nashville for about 4-5 years now.”
Not only will you see KC Johns on tour in places like Gulfport, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Nashville, Key West, and in North Carolina, but it’s always important for her to come back and perform in DeSoto County, where her roots are.
You’ll find her from time to time at the Mississippi Ale House in Olive Branch, or Uncle Bubba’s in Hernando.
“During COVID, I knew a lot of places would shut down and I felt like my hometown really never left me in the dark,” Johns explained. “It was like, ‘you need somewhere to play, we’ve got your back.’ That’s huge for a hometown to do that for any local band. It’s always been great to play back here and I want to make sure I continue to do that.”
Meeting people remains the most enjoyable part of her music career and Johns uses those encounters to inspire her music.
“As long as I get to make music, be successful at just that, and make money doing it, I feel that is a huge accomplishment in itself, because not everybody gets to make music for a living,” Johns said. “I’m super blessed just to be able to do that. Now that the road’s opening back up, I have no idea what the future holds.”
You can learn more about KC Johns and her tour schedule by visiting the KC Johns website.