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Meet Johan Danno

Today we’d like to introduce you to Johan Danno.

Johan, before we jump into specific questions about your work, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My story is comprised of many, all starting and circling around South Florida. My music journey. Why I sold everything and moved to Australia for eight years. The top corporate career I killed myself to get, then left behind to seriously pursue music. Yet at the core of all our stories, is always our journey within. Where I believe, EVERYTHING starts and ends.

Music for me started thanks to my grandmother in New Jersey at a young age. A concert pianist, when my parents split when I was very young, she paid for my guitar lessons which I took on my mother’s Guild guitar, the one she had with her at Woodstock and when she traveled the world. When she passed, I got the last line of the last letter we wrote tattooed on my arm “Please keep well, keep playing, and keep loving.”

As I feel is true with most people, I loved music, but took the safe route in college, getting a business degree. The first year at UCF was when depression and anxiety hit like a ton of bricks. To the point, I contemplate suicide. I remember waking the next morning with sunrise, tears rolling down my face with gratitude I slept on the idea. That was when I wrote my song “Alive”. Staff wanted to put me on anti-depressants and meds, but thankful, friends and family convinced me “Music, meditation, and surfing are equal medications”.

After school, I sold everything and moved to Australia as I had some friends over there. Music was still a dream, so I got my masters in IT, scored a job at SAP, then Deloitte, and was working crazy hours and drinking nearly every night at the time. I was still playing open mics and some shows but knew something had to change. Long story short, I discovered the power of music when I learn my song “Alive” was helping a buddy through a very rough time… which helped me at the time also. It was like the clouds parted. I find my answer. And I quit my job.

Where I am today, is all thanks to my friends, family, and fans. I sunk all my money into equipment and did a crowdfunding campaign to raise $5k to record “Purpose and Peace” my debut EP. With there support and lots of work, I booked three tours across the USA and Australia, playing from Hawaii to Syndey, Nashville, and New York, to Austin and LA.

It was my last US tour in 2017 when I went to LA for some “Meetings” with Industry contacts and was all fluff, a waste of time. Broken and broke, I spent my last money on a 24hr train ticket to Austin, where a friend Kevin put me up. He got me a gig to play at Google and played non-stop over three months to make enough to get back to Florida. I was only supposed to be here a couple of months, but due to a number of circumstances, I stayed longer. It’s been almost two years back, I’ve played some many stages, with many bands and players from Pensacola and Orlando to West Palm and Miami, and can say it was the best decision I could have made for my career and myself.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I truly believe that what stands in our way, can become our way. That all things don’t happen to us in our life but happen for us. Music and meditation became my medication for depression, along with surfing. Many days and times, I would hit lows and feel hopeless. Numerous times in my life, I have been homeless in Australia or here in the USA. Living on couches, traveling via bus and walking to work, school, or gigs. Living off the cheapest meals possible… but those times, can either break us or make us.

I feel for me as for nearly everyone… the greatest obstacle and challenge we will have to face is the critic and judge within ourselves. Comparing ourselves to someone else, or our expectation of where we think we should be – or want to be – is the quickest way to doubt and worry, and stop you in your tracks. But with no enemy/challenge within, no enemy/challenge outside can break us.

Until I started creating routines of inspiration, joy and learning how to be my best friend through the Gratitude training here in Florida, along with sitting ceremonies with native and south American tribes, that was when I got me, out of my own way. Create a vision of your future, and see how/where your gifts can be of service to others, and what blocked the way, will become your way.

Can you give our readers some background on your music?
As songwriter and performer Johan Danno, I share conscious, uplifting soul folk-rock reggae with infectious positive vibes. I’m grateful to be recognized both for my live show and songwriting, as New Times Broward Palm Beach just named me “one of the top 5 shows to see in South Florida” along with the Australian songwriters association naming me one of “the top 5 rock songwriters in Australia of 2017”.

Handling every aspect of my music career as an Indepreneur (self-managed artist) can be stressful at times – such as booking my 14 show Australia tour next two-months while also recording my next EP “WITHIN” and playing 3 shows a week – but it’s thanks to friends, fans and fellow musicians it’s worth it.

Organizing things like my LOVE IS MY MEDICINE festival with Casa Mannabliss in Delray on Jan 31st and our monthly SOULFAM Sessions at Robot brewing in Boca, all fusing live art and music, allows me to learn the business side, while also performing, and creating opportunities for fellow South Florida artists, and something fresh for our communities.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Grit. Perseverance. Positive attitude. Practice, Failing, learning, and adjusting. Willing to be wrong and admit it. but above all – focus on being better, stronger, further, and wiser than the person you were yesterday.

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