Latin Music Week

Mark Johns Turned Tears to Glory on 'Molino' EP, Hear 'Wait Till Tmrw': Exclusive

David Murphy
Mark Johns

Mark Johns is the happiest she's been in a long time.

“I'm just over the moon every day,” she attests, and of course she is. She's the first singer-songwriter signed to OWSLA she just wrapped her first bus tour in support of rapper gnash, and she's so close to releasing her debut Molino EP, she can taste it: “I honestly feel like I could smile all day, which is nice and a little bit different from how things were a few months ago.”

Rewind the clock and find Johns staring sadness in the face. The music industry is a lonely place, whether or not you've been hand-picked by Skrillex. She'd left everything she'd known because of a Twitter DM, and while things moved in positive directions, the sudden changes were kind of scary. But Johns didn't shrink under the weight of insecurity. Instead, she took her feelings head on.

Johns got her start on Soundcloud. In L.A., she worked with songwriters and producers, adding her rich vocals to dance tracks or hip-hop choruses. Molino, she's proud to say, is the first body of work she can call her own.

“The more that I started writing for it, the more I would force myself to be honest,” she says. “That's really difficult, to put yourself out there. Having the product be here made me like, 'Alright, cool, I did this. Now, I have this art that I created with that honesty.' I feel super-empowered from it. It's really tight. I feel like, I'm really excited to write more now.”

Molino's six tracks carry the sound of that sadness, but it also finds the beauty in life's lows. She gets a little cheeky.

“I stopped taking it as seriously,” Johns says. “I was so precious with everything that I was writing before. At this point, I was just like, 'Okay, I should be able to talk about this and not have it be morbid.' There's always a way to take that strip out of it, and I like doing that, I like the challenge of that.”

Fans rallied around lead singles “Molino” and “Before You.” Today, Johns shares the final track on the EP. “Wait Till Tmrw” plays like a rocky love song, but Johns says it's all about her family, and the faith they placed in her as she set out to Los Angeles to chase her dreams.

“Imagine your first-born daughter says, 'Hey, I'm gonna drop out of school and move to L.A. with all of these people I've met on the Internet to become a singer,” she explains, her voice carrying more than a touch of side-eye. “I totally get it, but I think it just took a little bit of time to get to a place where they understood how much this means to me, that there was progress. 'Wait Till Tmrw' is about holding your tongue for people that you care about, because it's always worth it to give the benefit of the doubt.”

“Wait Till Tmrw” is Johns' favorite song to sing and the only one she actually listens to recreationally. It's her lullaby to herself, a song that calms her whenever the winds of melancholy and doubt swirl into her space. She's been ending all her sets with it, the perfect cap to every memorable moment on tour.

“I feel so relieved to finally have content out, and to be able to perform it is the end goal,” she says. “You write a song so that you can perform it to people one day, and there's so many months of stuff that's in between. Sometimes you forget that, and this tour really reminded me.”

Molino, out Nov. 4 on OWSLA, is available for preorder online. Hear “Wait Till Tmrw” and check the full tracklist below.

Molino Track List:
1. Molino
2. Chapstick
3. Before You
4. Love Letter
5. Bacardi
6. Wait Till Tmrw