Daniel Johns performing at the Big Day Out 2008
|Birth name||Daniel Paul Johns|
|Also known as||Young Modern|
22 April 1979 |
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
|Origin||Newcastle, New South Wales|
Daniel Paul Johns (born 22 April 1979) is an Australian musician, singer, and songwriter. Best known as the former front man of the rock band Silverchair, Johns is also one half of The Dissociatives with Paul Mac and, in 2007, was ranked at number 18 on Rolling Stone's list of The 25 Most Under-rated Guitarists.
Johns was born to Greg and Julia Johns, who owned a fruit shop in Newcastle. He grew up in Merewether, New South Wales, Australia, with two younger siblings. Johns attended Newcastle High School, from which he graduated in 1998.
At the age of 12, Johns and school friends Ben Gillies and Chris Joannou formed a band, originally named "The Innocent Criminals", and practised daily after school for periods of four hours or more.
The band's career began when the three members were 15 years old when a demo recording of their song "Tomorrow" won a competition that was run by the SBS TV programme Nomad. The group, now named Silverchair, subsequently accepted a three-album deal from Sony Music in 1994, and the label hurriedly released their first album Frogstomp in 1995 after "Tomorrow" remained in the No. 1 position on the Australian singles chart for six weeks.
The band released Freak Show in 1997, followed by Neon Ballroom in 1999, and then Diorama in 2002. Following Diorama, Silverchair embarked on a lengthy hiatus before the release of the next album.
During the post-Diorama hiatus, Johns worked on several side projects, the most notable being The Dissociatives with dance musician/producer Paul Mac. Johns and Mac worked together since Mac's 1997 remix of "Freak" and his contribution to Neon Ballroom. In 2000, they recorded a five-track EP I Can't Believe It's Not Rock. The Dissociatives album was initially recorded in London, United Kingdom, and a few months later, they regrouped in Sydney and Newcastle to finish off the project. The Dissociatives toured with musicians Kim Moyes on drums, Julian Hamilton on keys, and James Haselwood on bass.
In late 2005, Johns and Silverchair reunited and announced the production of a new album entitled Young Modern. The new album was released on 31 March 2007 and was followed by the Across the Great Divide tour with fellow Australian band Powderfinger.
On 13 June 2008, it was reported on the band's website that Johns was working on a new side project with Luke Steele (The Sleepy Jackson, Empire of the Sun), but a release date was not confirmed for the collaboration. In 2008, the name of the project was "Hathaway and Palmer," according to a radio interview that Steele conducted, but this has not been confirmed since. In December 2008, Johns was named as the producer of The Scare's album.
In May 2011, Silverchair announced on their website that the band was going into "indefinite hibernation" and explained that "it's become increasingly clear that the spark simply isn't there between the three of us at the moment". Later that month, Johns and filmmaker Josh Wakely presented a talk at TEDx Sydney in which they discussed a film that they were working on that was tentatively titled My Mind's Own Melody. A video of the talk was uploaded to YouTube in June 2011, and a trailer for the completed film was released in mid-2012.
In 2012, Johns collaborated with the Australian Chamber Orchestra to create the soundtrack Atlas for a Qantas Airlines commercial that began airing a week before the 2012 Olympics. Johns explained:
When Qantas first approached me, I agreed to the project as I was really into the idea of creating a piece of music that represented Australia. I wanted it to sound big, something special. It was a conscious effort to create a good piece of music and not just a jingle. I've also wanted to work with the Australian Chamber Orchestra for a long time now, so it was great to finally be able to do that.
In May 2012, Johns wrote and recorded music with pop duo The Veronicas for the latter's third album. The writing process began in November 2011, and the twin sisters stated that working with Johns "was one of our greatest experiences."
As of January 2013, Johns was scheduled to appear in a live performance with Van Dyke Parks as part of Australia's Adelaide Festival on 8 March 2013 and was also rumoured to be working on a debut solo album. In May 2013, Steele revealed that he and Johns were completing the project that they had started in 2008.
In November 2013, it was reported by various media outlets that Johns was in the process of working on a solo album due for release sometime in 2014. His manager John Watson was quoted as saying: "it’s looking extremely likely that it’ll be out next year."
For the 40th birthday of the triple j radio station, Beat the Drum, held at Sydney, Australia's Domain on 16 January 2015, Johns performed a piano version of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit".
Johns debuted a new song as a solo artist on 29 January 2015 on the Triple J radio station. Titled "Aerial Love", the song is taken from a four-track EP that was released on 13 March 2015. National Music Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, Peter Vincent, described the song as "sexy" and "soulful". Johns is expected to release a full-length studio album as a solo artist some time in 2015. In February 2015, "Aerial Love" debuted at No. 50 on the Australian Singles Chart, later peaking at No. 21.
Johns released his fifteen-track debut album as a solo artist on 22 May 2015, entitled Talk. The record features multilayered arrangements of R&B, soul, synthpop, and electronic melodies. Talk peaked at No. 2 on the ARIA Albums Chart in Australia within the first two weeks of its release. The album also achieved some unexpected success in other parts of the world, coming in at No. 1 on the Slovakian iTunes albums chart shortly after release.
In May 2016 Johns collaborated with Perth duo Slumberjack on their track "Open Fire", which is the first single from their forthcoming EP, to be released late 2016. Johns also featured in the music video.
A public controversy arose in July 2007 when Johns claimed on Australian radio station Triple J that he had shared a joint with his then-wife Natalie Imbruglia, Australian Federal MP and ex-Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett, and Bono of U2 in November 2006 while they listened to a demo recording of Silverchair's album Young Modern. Following Johns' claim, Tony Wood, whose daughter Anna Wood died of water intoxication secondary to use of MDMA, suggested that Garrett be subject to a drug test, despite Garrett's assertions that he had not touched marijuana since his twenties, and Johns countered the claim by claiming it was a joke. Johns also said that he thought it would be obvious that it was a joke, seeing as both Peter Garrett and Bono were publicly against drugs.
On 28 October 2014, Johns was stopped by police when they spotted his black Jaguar traveling at a speed of between 70 and 80 kilometres per hour (43 and 50 mph) along Morgan Street in Merewether, which is governed by a speed limit of 50 kilometres per hour (31 mph). Johns, who was arrested for driving under the influence, told police that he had consumed four large wines between 4.30pm and 7.40pm. Johns was required to attend a traffic offenders course, he reappeared in Newcastle Local Court in February 2015 and was convicted of mid-range drunk driving, receiving an $880 fine and disqualification from driving until June, 2015. "I made a mistake, for which I am really sorry," the singer told reporters outside the court that day. "I completed the traffic offenders program and it will never happen again."
In late 1997, during the Freak Show tour, Johns experienced depression amid rumours that he was suffering from a drug addiction/eating disorder. Johns explained in a Rolling Stone Australia interview that he had developed anorexia nervosa. Johns claimed that he weighed less than 50 kilos (110 lbs) at his thinnest. With Neon Ballroom came the single "Ana's Song" about Johns' battle with anorexia. In 2004, Johns spoke at length to ABC interviewer Andrew Denton and revealed that at one point he had considered suicide.
After recording Diorama, Johns was diagnosed with a rare but serious case of reactive arthritis. After treatment in Los Angeles, he was able to tour with the band for the Across the Night Tour. Reports of the arthritic symptoms did not resurface after the completion of the tour.
Johns announced his engagement to long-time girlfriend, actress, singer, and model Natalie Imbruglia in late 2002, and they married on New Year's Eve 2003. On 4 January 2008, they announced that they were divorcing, stating, "We have simply grown apart through not being able to spend enough time together."
In July 2008, The Daily Telegraph announced Johns was dating Australian model Louise Van der Vorst. In 2009, the couple moved from Australia to New York City so that Van der Vorst could expand her modelling career. By July 2011, the couple were living together in Newcastle, Australia. In April 2012, it was reported that Johns had initiated the dissolution of the relationship in February 2012.
As of early 2013, Johns was dating fashion designer Estelita Huijer, with whom he was photographed in Crown Street in Sydney. It was reported in early May 2013 that Johns was regularly seen at venues on Crown St, located in the inner-city Sydney suburb of Surry Hills, including the eatery 'Bills'.
Johns is also known for his animal rights support, having revealed that he is a vegan in 1998, although it was stated that he is a pescetarian in 2009. The Neon Ballroom song "Spawn Again" features Johns' views on animal liberation, but he stated in a subsequent interview: "I'm not telling people how to eat or how to change their lives, I just wanted to express my opinion in a song and it's something, as I said, I feel very strongly about so that's just how I express myself through music."
Awards and nominations
- At ARIA Music Awards in 1998, he won Producer of the Year for his work on Silverchair's Diorama.
- 2008 Song of the Year and Most Played Australian Work APRA Awards for "Straight Lines", written by Daniel Johns and Julian Hamilton, was presented by Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Johns, on his own, also won Songwriter of the Year.
- Silverchair has won 21 ARIA awards to date.
- At the ARIA Music Awards of 2015 was nominated for Best Male Artist for Talk.
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions||Certifications|
|Title||Details||Peak chart positions||Certifications|
As lead artist
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Album|
|"Cool on Fire"||2015||68||Talk|
|"Going on 16"||—|
(with Zhu and Vancouver Sleep Clinic)
As featured artist
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Album|
(360 featuring Daniel Johns)
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