Houston native Jelando Johnson has always believed life is a journey, not a destination. It was the basis for his latest album, “The Journey.”
The debut EP from the recording artist, composer, producer and musician is a collection of deep grooves blending melodically with funky rhythms in an upfront yet laid back manner will excite the ears of each and every listener. Johnson honed his musical skills as a member of the award- winning Texas Southern University Jazz Ensemble. It was there and many other venues where he developed styles in various musical genres. Those skills have led to Johnson laying down grooves with such artists as Joe Sample, George Duke, Marion Meadows, Kim Waters, Bobby Lyle, Steve Cole, Peter White, Kirk Whalum, Bob Baldwin, Patrice Rushen, Michael Henderson, Avery Sunshine, Karen Briggs, Ronnie Laws, Eric Darius, and many others. Throughout his journey, Jelando has shared his talents through many recordings, musical productions and concerts across the nation and around the world. He’s also performed at numerous festivals including:
The Defender talked with Johnson about the inspiration behind his music.
Defender: What are your latest projects and what are you working on now?
Jelando Johnson: My main project is my EP “The Journey.” My main focus is getting it to the people through social media, my website, my blog and through performances at festivals and music venues in Houston, nationally and internationally.
Defender: How long have you had your love of music?
Johnson: I’ve had a love for music all my life. I used to listen to my uncle’s record collection after school every day for years. But after I saw Earth Wind & Fire in concert on HBO, I knew for sure I wanted to be a musician. I still have that DVD.
Defender: How crucial was your time in the Texas Southern University’s jazz ensemble in shaping the musician that you have become today?
Johnson: My time with the TSU Jazz Ensemble was crucial because that’s where I learned the fundamentals of jazz. It was also a link to KTSU-FM where my jazz education really took off. The seeds of me becoming the professional musician I am now were planted at TSU. I also wrote my first song there.
Defender: What is your ultimate goal in the industry?
Johnson: My ultimate goal is to build a rich musical legacy through performing, teaching, film scoring, publishing, writing, recording, partnerships, giving back and any other way I can make a difference through music.
Defender: How can people find you?
Johnson: I can be found at: www.jelandojohnson.com. On Facebook@Jelando Johnson Music, Twitter@jelandoj, Instagram@jelandoj or Pandora Internet Radio@Jelando Johnson Radio. My music can be purchased through my website along with iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and all the other digital stores.
Defender: What’s a little known fact people would be surprised to know about you?
Johnson: I’m from Texas and I don’t like pecans.