Michael Johns (singer)

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Michael Johns
MichaelJohns.jpg
Michael Johns at the American Idol, Season 7, Top 12 party on 6 March 2008.
Background information
Birth name Michael John Lee
Born 20 October 1978
Perth, Australia
Died 1 August 2014(2014-08-01) (aged 35)
Tustin, California, U.S.
Genres Pop, pop rock, soul, soft rock, rock
Occupations Singer, songwriter
Years active 2000–2014
Labels Beverly Martel Music
Maverick Records
TRP records
Downtown Records
Associated acts Brooke White, The Rising

Michael Johns (born Michael John Lee; 20 October 1978 – 1 August 2014) was an Australian singer-songwriter who finished in eighth place on the seventh season of American Idol in 2008. In 2009, he released an album, Hold Back My Heart, which sold 20,000 copies.

Early life[edit]

Johns was born in Perth, Western Australia on 20 October 1978.[1] As a teenager, he appeared as The Coachman in Pinocchio at the Regal Theatre and was a choir singer in Anything Goes at His Majesty's Theatre.[2] He attended Newman College in Perth.[3] In 1997, when he was 18, he moved to the United States on a tennis scholarship and majored in drama at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia, before dropping out after two quarters.[1][4] Johns also briefly played Australian rules football for the United States Australian Football League (USAFL) club Atlanta Kookaburras from 2001 to 2002.[5][6]

Career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Johns moved from Tifton to Atlanta to pursue a music career, playing cover engagements.[1] He then joined a band called Film for 18 months.[7][8] After traveling to Los Angeles to showcase for a number of labels, he was signed to Maverick Records in 2002 as a solo artist under his birth name Michael Lee.[7][9] He recorded an album, and then formed a rock band called The Rising.[7] A song from the album "Cradle" received some airplay,[9] and the album titled Future Unknown was released in 2003.[10] It was also released on iTunes in 2008 after Johns appeared on American Idol. After Maverick, he was signed to Columbia, but was later dropped.[7] He started using the name Michael Johns in 2006 as an homage to his stepfather whose name, like his middle name, is John, hence "Johns" because there are two of them in the family.[11]

American Idol[edit]

Overview[edit]

He auditioned for American Idol Season 7 at San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium in July 2007. He finished in eighth place in the competition.[12][13]

During his time on Idol, Johns became friends with fellow finalists Amanda Overmyer and Carly Smithson. They were called "the three rockers" by judge Randy Jackson.

Performances[edit]

Week # Theme Song choice Original artist Order # Result
Top 24 (12 Men) 1960s "Light My Fire" The Doors 12 Safe
Top 20 (10 Men) 1970s "Go Your Own Way" Fleetwood Mac 1 Safe
Top 16 (8 Men) 1980s "Don't You (Forget About Me)" Simple Minds 5 Safe
Top 12 Lennon–McCartney "Across the Universe" The Beatles 10 Safe
Top 11 The Beatles "A Day in the Life" The Beatles 4 Safe
Top 10 Year They Were Born "We Will Rock You"/"We Are the Champions" Queen 6 Safe
Top 9 Dolly Parton "It's All Wrong, But It's All Right" Dolly Parton 9 Safe
Top 8 Inspirational Music "Dream On" Aerosmith 1 Eliminated

Post-Idol[edit]

As one of the seventh season finalists, Johns joined the 2008 American Idol Live! tour after the show.[14] While he was on the Idol tour, he worked on the soundtrack for Olympic snowboarder Shaun White's documentary DVD Don't Look Down.[15][16] The soundtrack was released by Three Rings Projects on 20 January 2009. Johns sang on all but one of the vocal tracks,[17] one of which is a duet featuring fellow seventh season contestant Brooke White.[18] In December 2008, Johns released a song he wrote in 2006, "Another Christmas."[19] Half the proceeds from the song were donated to the Red Cross and half to fight amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.[20]

In April 2009, Johns released "Heart on My Sleeve," the lead single from Hold Back My Heart.[21] The song debuted on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart at number 27.[22] The album was released on 23 June 2009, and debuted at number 97 on the Billboard 200 with 5,000 copies sold.[23][24] It has sold 20,000 copies as of January 2010.[25] In 2012, Johns released Love and Sex, a three-song EP.[19][26] He also appeared in a 2012 episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Johns met his wife, Stacey Vuduris, in 2003. They were married in 2007 and remained so until his death on 1 August 2014.[27]

Death[edit]

Johns died in Tustin, California[28] on 1 August 2014, reportedly due a blood clot that developed in a sprained ankle.[19] On August 4, 2014, an autopsy was done on Johns's body and it was reported that toxicology results were pending.[29] His remains were subsequently cremated and returned to his native Australia.[30]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Release date Artist Album Label Number of tracks
2001 Film Rolling[31] Projector Records 6 tracks
16 September 2003 The Rising Future Unknown[32] Maverick 11 tracks
26 August 2003 Live at the Apple Store[33] 5 tracks (EP)
2007 Michael Johns Michael Johns[34] - 12 tracks
2008 Another Christmas[20] TRP records 1 track
2009 Don't Look Down – The Height of Competition[15] 17 tracks

Downtown Records[edit]

Year Album details Peak Sales
US[35] US
Indie
[35]
2009 Hold Back My Heart 97 12
2012 Love & Sex (EP)[26]

Singles[edit]

Year Title Chart Positions Album
US AC
2009 "Heart on My Sleeve" 22[36] Hold Back My Heart

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Ho, Rodney (15 February 2008). "Michael Johns interview (updated)". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Access Atlanta). 
  2. ^ "American Idol contestant Michael Johns dreamed of fame". www.news.com.au, PerthNow. 8 October 2008. 
  3. ^ Daile Pepper (3 October 2008). "Idol comes back to earth in Perth". WA Today. 
  4. ^ ""Idol" Johns Ditched College, Last Name". TMZ. 8 October 2008. 
  5. ^ "Could a former USAFL player be the next American Idol?". 18 February 2008. 
  6. ^ "Mike goes his own way". Atlanta Kookaburras Australian Rules Football Club. 27 February 2008. Archived from the original on 4 March 2008. 
  7. ^ a b c d Fred Bronson (15 May 2008). "The Billboard Q&A: Michael Johns From 'American Idol'". Billboard. 
  8. ^ "melodic.net: The Film". www.melodic.net. Retrieved 2008-01-13. 
  9. ^ a b "Music Morsels: Crossroads: Michael Lee Of The Rising". www.serge.org. Archived from the original on 8 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-13. 
  10. ^ Andrew Leahey. "Michael John: Artist Biography". AllMusic. 
  11. ^ "Idol‘s Michael Johns Explains His Personal Name Change". People. 2008-02-25. 
  12. ^ "Shocking elimination leaves 'Idol' crowd booing - today > entertainment - Reality TV - TODAY.com". MSNBC. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  13. ^ "‘American Idol’ Elimination Shocker: Michael Johns’ Dreams Dashed, As Carly Smithson And Syesha Mercado Squeak By". MTV. 2008-11-04. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  14. ^ "'Idol' Tracker: Live from Arizona, the tour begins". Los Angeles Times. 
  15. ^ a b Tania Hussain (21 January 2009). "Album Review: Don't Look Down –The Height of Competition". 
  16. ^ "‘American Idol’ Tragedy: Season 7 Finalist Michael Johns Dies At 35". RadarOnline. 2 August 2014. 
  17. ^ "Interview: Rye Randa Discusses Shaun White's Don't Look Down". Blogcritics. 6 January 2009. 
  18. ^ "Michael Johns And Brooke White — “Life Is Okay” — Don’t Look Down Soundtrack". Rickey. 
  19. ^ a b c Blumm, K.C. (August 3, 2014). "American Idol Finalist Michael Johns Dies at 35". people.com. People. Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  20. ^ a b "Michael Johns To Release Christmas Song In Aid of ALS & Red Cross". Access Hollywood. 2008-12-03. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  21. ^ a b Shirley Halperin and Fred Bronson (August 02, 2014). "American Idol' Alum Michael Johns Dies at 35". Billboard. 
  22. ^ Gary Trust (May 14, 2009). "Chart Beat: Paula Abdul, 'Epiphany', Frank Sinatra and more!". Billboard. 
  23. ^ The Billboard 200. Billboard. 11 Jul 2009. 
  24. ^ Gil Kaufman (July 1, 2009). "Black Eyed Peas Top Non-Jackson Album Sales On Billboard". MTV. 
  25. ^ a b "The best-selling Idol albums from 2009". Content.usatoday.com. 2010-01-17. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  26. ^ a b Tania Hussain (20 June 2012). "Love and Sex According to Michael Johns: "Follow your heart and try and be the best person you can"". Newsvine. 
  27. ^ "Michael Johns Appreciates Wife’s Humor". OK. 2 June 2009. 
  28. ^ "Coroner Press Releases". Orange County Sheriff's Department. 2014-08-04. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  29. ^ Lucy Thackary and George Stark and Helen Pow (August 5, 2014). "'I think he's dead!' Dramatic 911 call from friend who found American Idol Michael Johns' dead body is released as cops say he was 'drinking heavily' before he died". dailymail.co.uk. 
  30. ^ "Loved One's Say Goodbye to 'American Idol's' Michael Johns," Who, August 12, 2014.
  31. ^ "Rolling by Film". CDbaby. 
  32. ^ "The Rising: Future Unknown". AllMusic. 
  33. ^ "The Rising: Live at the Apple Store". AllMusic. 
  34. ^ "Michael Johns - Michael Johns | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  35. ^ a b "Michael Johns - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  36. ^ "Adult Contemporary - August 15, 2009". Billboard.  Log in required

External links[edit]