Elliot Johnson is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter, and producer from Richmond, Virginia. Guitar is his primary instrument. In addition, he plays drums, bass and piano. He is currently enrolled in classical studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, with a concentration in classical guitar.
Elliot started playing electric guitar at age thirteen, refining his skills by playing in bands with friends and multiple church worship teams. Over the years he grew into a well-rounded performer of contemporary music. Through his personal experience and formal training at VCU, he has developed an extensive knowledge of theory, a keen listening ear, and a versatile improvisational technique.
In addition to being a skilled musician, Elliot is also a talented amateur producer. His recent self-titled EP combines the very best of his musicianship, songwriting, and production skills. Using his custom-made backing track system, Elliot frequently performs his own songs and covers of popular tunes in the Richmond area.
Tell us a little bit about your musical background; when you first started, the first experience that made you want to become a musician.
I saw my friend at youth group playing some power chords on a strat when it struck me that playing the electric guitar is the coolest thing ever. So when I got home I got my dad to show me some chords on his electric guitar and worked up from there.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
My top three favorite artists are Zedd, Bach, and John Mayer.
Who are some of your biggest inspirations, musical, and non-musical?
My top three artists I previously mentioned are definitely my biggest musical inspirations. Zedd, because his album Clarity exemplifies truly great electronic dance music. Bach, because his music is so intellectual and yet so expressive. John Mayer is one of the most sensible and listenable artists out there, and I really identify with a his vocal/guitar style a lot. My biggest non-musical inspirations are my life experiences, I always strive to make my songwriting/lyrics authentically represent who I am and where I’ve been.
If you could follow in any musician’s footsteps, who would it be?
I’m really aiming to follow in the footsteps of Daft Punk, in particular with their record “Random Access Memories.” The big hits on their album like “Get Lucky” and “Lose Yourself To Dance” exemplify a really organic, retro style of dance music that lands squarely in my desired sound/feel. I want to be that artist on the radio who plays dance music but with the organic sound of real instruments. That kind of vibe is really refreshing & effective in a pop world that’s dominated by synthesizers and drum machines.
If you had the ability to pick anybody to collaborate with musically, who would it be?
I want to grab John Mayer and have him play lead guitar on one of my EDM tracks. It would make for a really interesting cross-genre club track.
What are your plans for the future of your music?
While I’m wrapping up my music degree at VCU, my plan is to take every opportunity I can to perform and make connections. Even if it’s just an open mic at a local restaurant, I’m getting out there and sharing my music with people. Once I’ve worked my way into the scene, I’m going to start working toward being a touring performing artist. I’m also getting an education in production, so that’s a possibility as well. I could end up moving to Nashville or LA, but for now I’m going to see how far I can get in Richmond.