BIO Johnny Bash
“Eloquent and sensitive, bold yet refined, timeless but still relevant” may best describe the vocal stylings of a very gifted singer—Johnny Bash. Born in Champaign, Illinois, the son of a self-employed entrepreneur, one can easily find the same character in Johnny. His entre into music was modest: singing in choirs and acting in school musicals and plays including A Christmas Carol, Harvey, Mr. Roberts and portraying Will in Oklahoma, all while still in his teens, This experience was further enhanced when he was hired as a very young ‘jobber’ in Summer Stock theater. There, at The Little Theater on the Square in Sullivan, Illinois, Johnny starred as the precocious 12-year old in Critic’s Choice as well as other productions including The Sound of Music, Funny Girl, On a Clear Day and Life with Father. Johnny confesses “I was hooked from then on, performing made me happy.”
Not particularly interested in college at this juncture, Johnny enlisted in the U.S. Navy. While stationed at Great Lakes Naval Base, Johnny auditioned for and was accepted into the prestigious Blue Jackets Choir. The nearly fifty-member group travelled extensively by bus throughout the Midwest singing in churches, American Legion and Veterans of Foreign War halls. Upon filling his obligation to service, Johnny relocated to his favorite place of all:Chicago.
An affinity with the arts in general guided him to seek out an acting/vocal coach and thus began his studies with Everett Clarke at the Fine Arts building on Michigan Avenue. Everett made an introduction on Johnny’s behalf to the directors and producers at the Peasant Run Dinner Theater where he worked for a season while gaining more experience and on-stage credentials.
While still only in his early 20s, Johnny worked at a clothing store and waited tables while moonlighting as a DJ. He landed a coveted gig spinning records five nights a week at The Bistro (Chicago’s equivalent to New York’s Studio 54). Records spun included the hits of the time Love’s Theme by Barry White and each night ended with Donna Summer’s Last Dance amid a crowd undulating as one under a mirror ball and clad in the uniform of the time—platform shoes, bell-bottom trousers and tight polyester shirts.
Always resourceful, as well as being the recipient of numerous grants, Johnny was able to continue to pursue his ambitions of acting and singing by enrolling in the theatre program at Columbia College Chicago. While there he was fortunate to take a solo singing class with Chicago music legend Bill Russo as well as studying with other instructors who went on to create cutting-edge performances and productions in the Chicago music and theatre scenes for decades.
Johnny Bash has always been essentially self-employed and his entrepreneurial spirit shown through again when he created Music Express Chicago. A hobby of creating mix-tapes for friends and colleagues evolved into his sought-after company that specialized in providing music for restaurants, nightclubs, industrials, private events and fashion shows. The company then followed a natural path to specializing in high-end audio/video system installations and his video production company where he continued to develop a finely-tuned ear for excellence in sound creation, performance and production. These pursuits led quite seamlessly to his work as a theatrical production sound designer for many years.
“I’ve been singing and performing since I was a child and involved somehow in the music business most of my adult life, but about 8 years ago I had an epiphany,” states Johnny. “I wanted and needed to finally follow my bliss and be a performer again. And since that moment I have been training and singing every day.”
He purchased new digital audio recording equipment and began to self-record and produce his music. Feeling more confident about his vocal ‘chops’, Johnny began to attend open-mic nights and jam sessions throughout Chicago. Today, Johnny Bash is a sought-after regular on the club scene, performing on-stage three or four nights a week. It was at one of these dates when the bass player of one of the house bands approached Johnny and asked “When are you going to make a record?” He thought about it for just a moment and replied that “now might be the ideal time”. The bassist took the initiative to invite his friend, a producer and sound engineer, to check out Johnny and after hearing him perform, committed to producing Johnny’s CD on the spot. The recording process has taken over eight months to settle on song selections, gather and record with some of the top musicians in the city and mix and master the final product.
Once committed to the project, Johnny and his team of seasoned professionals demonstrated a stalwart perseverance in ‘chasing the dream’ in a way that ultimately reflects a truly classic sensibility in artistry and production. No corners were cut. Johnny’s ultimate goal was to produce a first-rate recording or nothing at all. Towards that end he and his team sought out the best available resources and went about engaging a top-notch professional group that includes an outstanding rhythm section, reflective of L.A. ‘wrecking crew’ values and ‘all-in’ collaborators. Additionally using A-Line Pro studios for recording, mixing and mastering, his top-notch, high-quality CD, though created on an ‘independently-managed’ budget, is one that, although his first, truly showcases the first-rate aesthetic he sought to achieve.
He hopes his audience agrees.
One production note—contrary to some studio practices employed today—no auto tune or pitch correction was used on the recording. The end result is a timeless record of well-known classic tunes re-arranged and stylized as no other singer has done. “I literally would dream of singing live, on stage, in front of an audience. For the past several years now I have worked very hard to fulfill that dream and make it my reality. The creation of my CD Something New in My Life is a very natural progression in my attempt to reflect back and comment on my experiences as well as look forward towards my goal of reaching a larger audience”.
Over the course of the next few months, the world will be introduced to “a very special talent”.
We hope you will experience for yourself an artist who will lift up one’s inner-most emotions: Mr. Johnny Bash.