Jillette Johnson lived out one of her dreams on Tuesday night: she performed for a sold-out crowd at Joe's Pub in New York City. And if she continues to put on shows like the one this week, she will certainly get to realize any loftier dreams she may have had.
Johnson, at just 24, already possesses a dynamite voice. She can really belt out those high notes, and her voice can maneuver the peaks and valleys in a way that creates the most drama for the listener. Combined with her deft piano playing (and a backing band on quite a few songs) and she is able to really take the audience on a sonic journey with her music.
The highlight of the night was easily "Cameron," the song she says is the reason she got her record contract with Wind-Up Records. Johnson took this one solo to sing her song about a boy who's more comfortable wearing dresses, and it brought the house down. It's a gripping song, and there's good reason that it's gained so much traction. Check out the video of her performing it this Tuesday below:
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Honestly, the one performer I kept thinking about listening to Johnson that night was Lana Del Rey, without the phony, bullshit facade that I hear every time one of her songs come on. Whereas Lana just sounds insincere with whatever persona she is trying to put out there (at least to me), Johnson sounded that authentic. There was real emotion when her voice cracked at the height of a power note. There was passion in her piano-playing. That carried over to the audience, especially when she performed a cover of Radiohead's "Creep" that, while not as good as the original, still packed quite a punch.
That was my first time seeing Johnson (and also my first time at the lovely and acoustically superb Joe's Pub). If she can keep performing like that every time she takes the stage, look out.
Johnson's debut album with Wind-Up Records, Water in a Whale, was released on June 25. She has a couple more New York dates and will be going on tour with Satellite this August. Check out the tour dates below:
8/8/13 at Pianos, New York, NY
8/9/13 at Mercury Lounge, New York, NY
8/13/13 at Great Scott; Allston, MA ^Co-Headline w/Satellite
8/14/13 at Tin Angel; Philadelphia, PA ^Co-Headline w/Satellite
8/18/13 at Jammin' Java; Vienna, VA ^Co-Headline w/Satellite
8/20/13 at The Basement at Promowest; Columbus, OH ^Co-Headline w/Satellite
8/21/13 at Hard Rock Café; Pittsburgh, PA ^Co-Headline w/Satellite
8/22/13 at The Pike Room at Crofoot; Pontiac, MI ^Co-Headline w/Satellite
8/23/13 at Fountain Square; Cincinnati, OH ^w/Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors
8/24/13 at The Rathskellar; Indianapolis, IN
8/26/13 at Schubas; Chicago, IL ^Co-Headline w/Satellite
8/27/13 at Cedar Cultural Center; Minneapolis, MN ^Co-Headline w/Satellite
8/28/13 at Vaudeville Mews; Des Moines, IA ^Co-Headline w/Satellite
8/29/13 at Firebird; St. Louis, MO ^Co-Headline w/Satellite
8/30/13 at High Watt; Nashville, TN ^Co-Headline w/Satellite
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