On Oct. 25, country darling Carolyn Dawn Johnson chatted in-person with Broken Records Magazine’s Markos Papadatos prior to Martina McBride’s headlining concert at Beacon Theatre in New York City.
Most people may know singer-songwriter Carolyn Dawn Johnson as the background vocalist and instrumentalist in Martina McBride’s band and the songwriter behind Chely Wright’s chart-topping tune “Single White Female,” but what people may not know about her is that she is a popular entertainer in her own right in her native Canada, as well as in Nashville, Tennessee.
In 2002, she was named “Top New Female Vocalist” by the Academy of Country Music (ACM) and subsequently, in 2003, she took home the fan-voted American Music Award for “Favorite New Country Artist.”
Her song “Complicated” reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot Country Charts and “I Don’t Want You To Go” went to No. 7; furthermore, her breakthrough single “Georgia,” which features backing vocals from Martina McBride, was a Top 25 hit. Equally successful were “Simple Life” and the fun, up-tempo tune “One Day Closer To You.”
This year, she garnered her fifth “Female Artist of the Year” career win at the Canadian Country Music Awards (CCMAs), which was presented to her by global singing phenom Taylor Swift. “It felt like it was the first time that I had ever won an award,” she acknowledged. “It’s been a while and I was very excited. When Taylor Swift called my name, my heart was racing. I’ve loved Taylor’s music and she is always very sweet. It was amazing and I keep making music since I love it and it’s nice getting recognized for it.”
One of Carolyn’s biggest musical influences in life is Patty Loveless and she had the chance to share the stage with her in 2005 when they performed together in Danbury, Connecticut. “Patty is one of the reasons that I moved to town since when she sings you can feel what she is singing about. I wanted to be an interpreter as well and I wanted people to feel whatever I sing,” she revealed.
Carolyn also showcased her respect and love towards fellow “Female Artist” nominee and Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame member Michelle Wright. “Michelle is incredible and a fabulous person and she is such a class act,” Carolyn remarked.
Although Carolyn considers all of her songs as her “babies,” she noted that one song that stands out to her in particular is “Stop For Me” from her newest album.
Throughout her career she has had the good fortune to sing with Keith Urban, Sheryl Crow, Martina McBride and Blake Shelton, Carolyn listed Vince Gill as her dream duet choice and she praised Joe Nichols and James Otto. “I love Joe Nichol’s voice and he is wonderful. James Otto is a soulful singer and he is amazing. I’ve known him for a long time and although he is very tall, James has a huge smile,” she said.
According to Carolyn, she stated, “Right now, I am working with Martina since I used to work for her in the past and I love her. I’ve sang on all of her records since ‘Emotion,’ with the exception of ‘Timeless.’ I do need to make some new music since it’s been a few years since my last record.”
Carolyn concluded by sharing her love and appreciation towards her loyal fans. “Thank you for sticking with me and for relating to me. Thank you for telling me your stories about my songs,” she said.
To learn more about Carolyn Dawn Johnson, check out her official website.