Stoddart has planted a musical seed for himself in the
music industry and firmly rooted himself there. Coming from a musical
family, his path stood there before him to walk and not only did he
walk, he ran with it. As an arranger, songwriter and producer he has
worked with some of music's top performers from
Diana Ross to Kirk Whalum
to Celine Dion. With that said,
John has now ventured out and embarked on his debut disc 'Wings
To Walk This Road' an album filled with beautiful
lyrics and lush melodies. I recently caught up with John and spoke
with him about his musical path, his influences and his achievements.
TY: John, thank you for taking the time out of your busy
schedule to do this interview, I appreciate it as do your fans.
John: It's my pleasure man, no
TY: You come from a musical family, grew up singing as well
as playing piano in the church from an early age, did you always have
aspirations to be a performer even from that age?
I thought I was going be a piano player, I seem to play a lot on my
singer, songwriter piano guise but I thought I was gonna probably,
I didn't imagine I would be a singer I imagined I would be a musician.
The singing came for me a little later on
TY: You are a singer and songwriter, which do you prefer doing
I like them both equally there's different things about them that
are great but I like them both. The one nice thing about being a songwriter
is that it gives you the opportunity I think to work with a lot of
different artists which is nice in a different way than being a singer
does you're able to connect with a lot of different other types of
TY: Your journey in the music industry is a traveled one from
studying classical piano at age of thirteen at the renowned Settlement
School of Music in Philly to attending Columbia Union College to launching
your own production company, Urban Junction East Music (or UJEM).
In taking that journey, would there be anything you would change or
do anything different?
I wouldn't, you know people ask me all the time, young musicians and
people trying to get into the business if they ask for advice as to
how to get started and you know what was my masterplan, I have to
say you know that looking back a lot of the things I wanted to do
I didn't get to do and a lot of the things I didn't plan on doing
that I ended up doing and that I really loved and I just realized
that at the end of the day that it was really kinda divine providence
but I try not to worry too much 'cos it was tough sometimes you know
but I try not to worry about those types of things I kinda feel like
God has a purpose, a plan for my kind of work so I don't worry too
much about it.
TY: Your contribution to the music industry is applied in various
genres from gospel to pop to R&B where you have produced, arranged
and performed with some of music's elite from Kirk
Whalum to Diana Ross. What's your
work ethic when working with such talents are you a professional first,
fan 2nd or vice versa?
yes I'm a musician first. I love the music but I would say that I'm
a musician first and then a professional second. I guess those two
tie in together but I really just love the music and some of my most
favourite things to do musically are not high profile things I mean
I may never win a grammy doing those things, I may never end up on
television but they just are so rewarding musically.
TY: Your debut album 'Wings To Walk This Road', is an interesting
title, how did you come up with it?
a lyric from one of the songs on the album its a lyric from the song
TY: Who did you work with on the album and are there any collaborations.
wrote probably 80 - 85% of the record and most of the people that
contributed, contributed musically. I got to work with some legendary
musicians everyone from Tony Maiden
and Paul Jackson Jr to Louis
Conti. Kirk Whalum
played on the record got to work with some great producers James
Anthony Carmichael, Lionel Ritchie
it was just a really great experience Christian
McBride, Billy Kilson,
Ricki Peterson awesome musicians
I almost shouldn't start naming names
TY: Speaking of collaborations, is there anyone in the industry
with whom you'd like to work with
know I have some amazing friends that maybe the world quote unquote
'hasn't heard of yet', I have actually been thinking about that of
late you know when I'm ready to start on my next project I really
think I would call on just friends of mine who I feel are like amazing
and maybe undiscovered as of yet and just do a record where I get
a chance to work with people who I've known and kinda grown up with
over the past years who are incredible that maybe people hasn't heard
TY: God is very evident in your music, is there a conscious
message in your songwriting and or songs?
you know I'm a Christian and its just a big part of my life so it
was inevitable that it would find its way into my art and it's not
something that I try to force I hope the music doesn't come across
as preachy its just a part of my life and a great part of my life
and I want to share that with the people who listen to the music.
TY: You're a father of 2 daughters now, have you written
any songs about them or for them on the album?
written a song for my first daughter I haven't recorded it yet and
I haven't written a song for my second daughter we're working on that
one it's like the song 'Angel'
which is the first single was a song that I wrote for my wife so I'm
working on my way down I start with the wife then I gotta do one for
the 1st daughter then the second daughter so it will be on the second
record you'll see.
TY: Who do you listen to on your time (who's in your CD changer)?
have been listening to there is an artist he's actually a songwriter/producer
that had a record out a couple of years ago his name is Tommy
Sims it's a huge record it's just ai ya yie its unbelievable.
What other record do I have in my CD player these days Kirk
Franklin - Rebirth
I like that record I'm working on a classical record with a singer
friend of mine so I've been listening to some Rockmodinoff
and eh what else... those are the things that have been kinda at the
top of the list.
TY: Do you listen to Rap or hip hop/R&B at all?
John: A little bit
of the radio um I'm a song guy so I really connect with songs more
than I connect with anything else and I haven't listened to much hip
hop particularly since I became a parent most of the time when I would
listen to that kind of stuff I'd be in the car and it's not always
kid friendly so I don't get as much hip hop these ways. Some R&B
stuff here and there I really enjoy because I'm a lyricist I really
enjoy the way some rappers kinda put stuff together so thats intriguing
to me on the hip hop side R&B there's a couple of artists Anthony
Hamilton, I like Javier
there's some stuff recently that he's done that I'm into those are
the two that comes to mind off the bat
TY: Are you touring right now and if so where can we expect
to see you perform next?
I'll want to wait to go visit the website, I've been doing a little
bit 2 spot here and there I haven't been out on tour as of yet but
I want the people to check the website which is johnstoddart.com.
We try to keep it updated with tour dates and there's a lot of cool
stuff on there, there's information about the record I talk a little
bit about so many inspirations behind some of the songs, pictures
and bio and there's a great chat page and email links you know you
can drop me an email if you like you can order the CD its got links
to some of my projects I've worked on a friend of mine Rev who has
links on there as well you know
TY: To date what has been your biggest achievement and why?
(LOL) lets just put it this way what we do as musicians particularly
in the music industry it looks really glamorous most times it looks
more glamorous than it really is but one of the things that I think
has really kinda been the middle of all this going on you know the
new record and all the excitement behind that the first single was
a song entitled 'Angel' and some
of the emails that I got in response to that song was so touching
and I think I'm gonna say that the most rewarding thing about doing
what I do is that kinda stuff you know somebody who had just been
you know more than just say I really like your record. I had one young
lady for example sent me an email and she was young I think in her
early 20s and she heard the song Angel and it came at a very down
time for her in her life she had just lost her younger sister her
sister was 18 or 19 killed in a car crash and she was feeling really
down and the song came over the cable radio and she looked up to see
who it was and took the time to drop me an email and I think those
kind of stories you know I get people who that was a sad one but I
get people who um one guy was getting married for the first time in
his 40s he finally found that person that he wanted to marry and he
really wanted Angel to walk down the isle to his bride and those types
of things are why we do what we do so those I would say are the greatest
you recall where you were when you first heard 'Angel'
on the radio?
I think I was probably driving I think I was probably driving
somewhere because the song did particular well here in the this area
and one of the stations that we listened to played it often and a
friend of mine called me because he heard it they're playing your
song on the radio and so we were able to turn it on and caught it.
what did it feel like to hear your song on the radio for the 1st time?
It feels great you know you spend all this time playing all this
music for years and years imagined what it would be like the first
time you get to hear something of your on the radio it's pretty cool
TY: What advice can you give to someone aiming to take on the
career of a singer/songwriter/producer such as yourself?
would say that probably the most important thing is to be nice to
everyone you meet that would be the advice I would give, I would say
that and be as good, work hard at your craft those would be the two
things I would say be nice to people and whatever your craft is whether
it's playing an instrument if its singing if it's songwriting whatever
it is work hard at it and become really good at it
TY: Is there anything you'd like to say to your fans?
you it's such a great privilege and honor to be able to given a voice
and an audience as it were to share your heart I just really appreciate
it particularly people writing and responding, how much they appreciate
the music it really does a lot to make it worth while for me in terms
of all this work I've put in to try and create what we've created
and it means a lot when people appreciate it, when they like it, when
it helps them you know when they feel like it inspires them when they
connect with it somehow so I just wanna say thank you to all the fans
and I'm gonna do my best to keep giving you guys great music.
John my good man it's
been a pleasure talking to you I thank you for your time, your fans
thank you for your music. Much continued success in your career and
let's see your record sell a million - All the best
appreciate it man, nice meeting you
John Stoddart's latest hit 'Now
John Stoddart's 'Fly Away'