Imagine that you have spent all of your life working toward your dream. Then, reality steps in, forcing you to re-evaluate your life. Once you get used to that idea however, the pendulum swings back the other way. So is the story of Sony Music Nashville's Angie Johnson, who releases her EP, "Sing For You," next Tuesday.
Music had always been the focal point of Johnson's life. Even during her time in the Air Force, she was the featured vocalist in the Air Force Band. After she left active duty, she moved to Nashville, doing everything she could to pursue her career. However, she just couldn't seem to catch that magical break. So, on New Years' Day 2011, she decided to embark on a different path, becoming a full-time student. Then, a few months later, Johnson found herself deployed performing for troops in the Middle East. An audience member posted a video of her performing "Rolling In The Deep," and that proved to be the spark her career needed. She appeared on such talk shows as The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which eventually led to a spot on NBC's "The Voice."
Johnson tells Billboard that the road might have had a few twists than she planned for, but she feels she is doing what she was meant to do. "I had no idea that somebody was going to tape me singing in the Middle East, and all of this would result from that," she said. "It just lets me know this is what I'm supposed to do."
Having her EP being released by Sony is something she admits she is having a little trouble getting used to. "It's a dream come true. I've never made a project on this scale -- with the support of such an amazing producer and record label. My fans have been watching this journey from YouTube to "The Voice," and they've been asking for new music. I'm so glad to be giving it to them."
Speaking of "The Voice," though it's not serving her country, she says there are some similarities. "All of my training has proven useful in my career -- like doing what you're told when you have no idea what the end result is going to be. That was 'The Voice.' I didn't know if a chair was going to turn around. Producers led me through the gauntlet, but nobody knew what was going to happen. Having the gumption to move forward with your eyes blindfolded, and walk in the fire anyway, I wouldn't have been able to do had I not been in the military serving all these years."
She has fond memories of that period of her life, as well. "I started as an Intel analyst, and my first duty station was in San Angelo, TX at Goodfellow Air Force Base. That's where we get all of our intelligence training. From there, I had hoped that I would get stationed overseas. I really wanted to go spend some time in Japan or Europe. They sent me back home to Knob Noster, Missouri. I ended up being stationed with the 509th Bomb Wing there – the B-2 Stealth Bomber unit. I ended up being a mission planner, and I really loved being stationed there. I went into a group called Tops In Blue. I started learning there were things I could do musically in the Air Force. I traveled to just about every Air Force base in the world doing morale shows with the group. It was for a year, and it was really hard – lots of equipment hauling, traveling, and entertaining. I consider that my time of paying my dues on the road. We were our own roadies. We did everything ourselves," she says with a laugh.
Though the EP will be released next week, Johnson says there's not a single -- yet. "My whole life is backwards – everything that has happened with my life and career has been backwards, so I think we are going to do things a little bit differently. Instead of going to radio first, I think we are going to go to the media first, and try to hit all those outlets that showed the YouTube video or did stories on "The Voice," then try to get something started at radio," she says.
With songs on the album such as the touching title track – her tribute to her fellow soldiers in the Armed Services, and the flirty "Swagger," it looks like Johnson is living the fairy tale. "A Cinderella in camo, I guess," she says happily.
And, what about that soldier who got everything rolling with a single YouTube post? "He's got a thank you in the EP....and he's got my heart forever," she says.