With a new album, incredible vocals, and hard work day and night, John Lindahl is the next big name.
This Southern California native doesn’t let anything get in the way of making his dreams come true. Throwing a positive spin on the ups and downs of the music industry, John Lindahl knows that success requires a constant grind.
How have you kept busy during quarantine?
“I produce all of my own music in [my house], so I have a lot of stuff I can do. I record, produce, and engineer my own stuff. I don’t need to go anywhere! So it’s been busy – a lot of it is making promotional videos, making new music, going live on instagram takeovers, making a lot of content for the album, and interviews.”
You’ve used your platform to speak up for the Black Lives Matter movement in light of recent events. What are ways you and your followers can continue to support and advocate for the movement?
“Frankly I think this a human rights movement. My shirt [i’m wearing now] says, “All lives can’t matter until black lives matter.” The black community is where we need to focus. [We should] learn about the systemic racism in our society. The best thing to do is going to sites where you can donate. Also, participating in peaceful protests. Follow your local black lives matter pages, and the NAACP. If you are in one of the states where the polls are open, I think you need to get out there and express our first amendment rights. Our voices matter.”
Your Opening Night album and Opening Night: The Complete Score just came out. Congrats! There’s been a big change in terms of sound and visuals for this album. Can you speak to the inspiration behind that?
“This is definitely a concept album. Everything I put up to this point was good, but nothing that had a connecting thread. I describe it as a theatrical release of a movie vs a directors cut/ extended edition. The Complete Score is the album they way I wanted it minus the remixes. The connecting thread is that you are supposed to be watching this musical that I wrote in a broadway theater. My first avenue as a performer was on stage in musical theater. Sonically, I took a lot of inspiration from Michael Jackson, Freddy Mercury, musical theater, etc. The album is centered around a hero’s journey. It really tells the story of my life up until this point. Me wanting this dream since I was a kid, overcoming adversity, being told I wasn’t good enough, being signed, and dropped by a record label. [This album] is my redemption. Coming back and saying I got signed to a new label. This is me reinventing myself and reintroducing myself! I modeled the album like you were watching one of the Rocky films. A lot of [the album] is attributed to musical theater and Rocky films.”
Mina Alikhani [manager] is awesome, and she is great with showcasing myself and my brand. Mina was great about encouraging me to lean into stuff that I’ve always loved. Chris Brown and Justin Timberlake energy! She helped bring out a lot of that confidence in me. Angelo Kritikos shot my covers. It really helped the image of this album. Fun fact! The cover of the album was actually caught on accident.”
Although most of the album is produced by you, what was it like working with different people on some tracks like Daniel Martz and Conor Michael Smith?
Daniel’s the best, and so talented. He was the most multilaterally used on this album. Connor Michael Smith and I hold similar views about wanting to be the greatest artist in the world in our lanes, and wanting to be that polarizing figure. Working on that song with him was really fulfilling. Brian Morton (Morty), who plays drums in my band, is a co producer on Honest. Izaiah, and 6ix produced Clouds! Super thankful for them. Gotta shoutout Humanz, Daniel Martz, Bobby Campbell, Gerry Brown, and Post for mixing the album. Eric Hudson added so much as a writer, too. He is the most talented musician I have ever encountered. I am so appreciative of the people who have helped make it what it is. I love collaboration, [my album] wouldn’t have the sonic identity it has without them. I want to make sure I recognize the people who helped me, and give credit that they deserve. It comes from a place of being so thankful for people believing in the project that I created and wanting to be a part of it.
A lot of the songs share personal stories, especially “Idols.” What was the decision making process in sharing such intimate details of your story?
“That was the song I had to think about the least. Yet, it is the most cathartic and most personal. I remember taking the mic and just speaking into it. I can’t say that it was a conscious decision to reveal those intimate details about my life. It was just stuff I kept bottled in for almost five or six years. I am so glad I did because “Idols” is the most important song in the album if you are trying to get to know me because I am speaking so candidly. The label loved it. Def Jam is a historically hip hop label, and hip hop is built on the narrative of ascending your circumstances. If you have beef and you want to call someone out, you call someone out. It was a way for people to help understand me more.”
What’s the biggest change you’ve noticed in your sound and in yourself between previous albums and now?
“Narrative wise, I’m not afraid anymore. I used to be so silent about wanting to be the Michael Jackson of our generation, wanting to be the greatest of all time, and holding that inside. Now, I think that’s been a big personal change that I’m not afraid to say what I want, or where I’m going to be someday. Sonically, I have always made eclectic music. I was happy to be able to make an album that had a connecting thread musically given the disparity in genre between the songs.”
The Complete Score features more songs, remixes, etc with more artists. How did this come about?
“I wanted the album to initially be a 14 track album, but there were concerns that “Overture” would turn listeners away because it’s 5 minutes of instrumentation. They proposed the idea of a deluxe version with “Intermission,” “Overture,” remixes, and acoustics to make it a deluxe album. It pleased all parties! Regarding the remixes, Nevaeh, an incredible artist, was brave enough to go into the studio during COVID. She sounded amazing! The acoustics for “Honest” and “Lies” were recorded on my childhood piano. The dance remix was awesome because Bruce Carbone & Luca Schreiner did an amazing job. Jordan Harris, whose Logic’s body guard, and one of my best friends, Chris Heckenkamp, are the two voices on “Intermission” that are arguing – one saying my music is trash, and the other saying no, this is musical genius! That was really cool because that was going to reflect what the world was going to think of my music.”
As a growing artist, what is a goal you hope to accomplish, and how do you plan on achieving it?
“My biggest goal is being the greatest artist of all time, but how do you quantify that? A good start is to do a sold out worldwide arena tour. A stadium tour will be a good measure of the amount of people that listen to my music and enjoy it. Releasing this album is one of my biggest dreams, and something that I hold really dear to my heart.”
Anything you would like to add?
I want to say thank you to everyone on my team that helped make this album a possibility. I am so grateful for people on my team at Def Jam, my mom, my family, my manager, and my record label for really believed in me and taking a leap with this album, Thank you so much! You guys are family, truly and that’s the way i always want it to be. For my fans, I didn’t expect for the responses to be so positive. I was expecting some hate here and there, but no one has said anything but incredibly positive things. It means the world! Thank you so much to the fans. I see you guys.