“I want music to open something within me, to touch something few have seen, or reach something intangible in you...This record is the record I’ve worked the hardest on, this magic I’ve created in the studio. A lot of tears went into this record. I never thought I could be pushed this hard. There was so much relying on me and to see how it came forth; I’m so proud of it. I really went outside the box with myself. I don’t want to say this is my masterpiece, but if I died tomorrow this would be it. This was the record I needed to make.”
|Angela Johnson - CD Release Show
— Angela Johnson
Something magical happens when a woman arrives and stops being afraid of the resonating fullness of her power and the potential impact of her voice. It can take a while for it to happen, decades even. But, when that internal click happens, that freeing moment in her life when she embraces the magnificence of her flawlessly flawed mind, body, and gifts, new levels of inner peace and creativity are achieved and it’s a thing of wonder to behold. After nearly 20 years in the music industry, such a moment has finally happened for triple threat singer/songwriter/producer Angela Johnson, the First Lady of Purpose Music Group. No longer the girl next door or the superwoman who thought she had to be super to be extraordinary, here is Angela Johnson unfiltered, unvarnished and definitely un-bossed. The title of her sixth solo album, Naturally Me, says it all, since Johnson wrote, composed, and produced every single song on this intimate ten-track release. Throughout, Johnson is a woman claiming her power and sharing her thoughts and feelings about matters of serious import, from politics and social injustice to motherhood and relationships of the real, not manufactured kind. Honest and direct, Naturally Me is a portrait of an artist fully realized, at last.
“I’m voicing my opinions about things that I think are going wrong in the world today. I’m being more political, talking about what’s affecting my family and community. I’m putting myself out there, even though I’d been afraid too.I wanted to talk about things that are relatable that many people aren’t talking about,” says Johnson.
Not that Johnson was ever shy when it came to music, a path she’s always taken seriously. Playing piano by age four, violin by nine, and rocking the church as an organist, choir director, and featured performer by adolescence, the Utica, NY native went quickly from teenage Baptist phenom to the high school musical star of such local shows as Godspell. The eldest of four, Johnson’s family encouraged her formative years as an aspiring musician through college and beyond. Upon enrolling at the State University of New York at Purchase (SUNY) to further her study in violin, Johnson soon met her future Cooly’s Hot Box bandmates and writing partner, Christian Urich. Together the eclectic soul and acid jazz band landed an all-too-brief deal with Polygram Records, despite a trifecta of international dance hits (“We Don’t Have To Be Alone,” “What A Surprise,” and “Make Me Happy”). Nonplussed, Johnson and the group inked a subsequent deal with Virgin Records in 2002 and released the band’s critically acclaimed debut, Take It. Leaning in before the concept gained currency, Johnson decided to express her independent artistic vision distinct from Cooly’sand simultaneously recorded her solo debut, They Don’t Know(Purpose),while also contributing to the songwriting and production of Take It. They Don’t Know and its radio hit “Ordinary Things” did what Johnson had done since being that big-voiced child behind the organ keys, distinguished herself as a woman apart.