Jack Johnson (musician)

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This article is about the rock musician. For the hip hop musician, see Jack Edward Johnson.
Jack Johnson
Jack Johnson 2014.jpg
Jack Johnson performing at the Waikiki Shell in Honolulu, Hawaii, August 1, 2014
Background information
Born (1975-05-18) May 18, 1975 (age 40)
North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii, U.S.
Years active 1999–present
Website jackjohnsonmusic.com

Jack Johnson (born May 18, 1975) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, actor, record producer, and a former professional surfer. Johnson is known primarily for his work in the soft rock and acoustic genres. In 2001, he achieved commercial success after the release of his debut album, Brushfire Fairytales. Johnson has hit the Billboard 200 #1 chart for the albums: Curious George (Soundtrack) in 2006, Sleep Through The Static in 2008, To the Sea in 2010, and From Here to Now to You in 2013 - 2014. Johnson's In Between Dreams album peaked at #2 in 2005 and again in 2013 on the Billboard 200.[1]

Johnson is active in the ecology and sustainability movement, often with an ocean-centric focus. Johnson and wife Kim created the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation and the Kōkua Hawaii Foundation.[2] In 2008 Johnson adopted the concept of greening (reduce and reuse), and donated 100% of the proceeds of the Sleep Through the Static tour to the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation. Similarly, the proceeds from the 2010 To The Sea album tour went to All At Once, a Johnson backed collaborative of greening charities promoting fan involvement.[3][4][5]

Early life[edit]

Jack Johnson was born and raised on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.[6] The son of well-known surfer Jeff Johnson, he took an interest in his father's profession. Jack began to learn how to surf at the age of 5. At 17, he became the youngest invitee to make the surfing finals at the Pipeline Masters on Oahu's North Shore. One week later, however, his stint as a professional surfer ended when he suffered a surfing accident at the Pipeline that put more than 150 stitches in his forehead and removed a few of his teeth; this later became the inspiration for the song "Drink the Water".[7][8]

Jack Johnson graduated from Kahuku High School on Oahu. He would later attend the University of California, Santa Barbara, and graduated in 1997[9] with a B.A. in Film Studies.[10] While Johnson learned the guitar at the age of 8 and started songwriting at the age of 12, his passion for music grew when he played rhythm guitar for the band Soil (not to be confused with the heavy metal band of the same name) in college.[7]

Johnson credits his songwriting influences as Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Radiohead, Otis Redding, G. Love and Special Sauce, Ben Harper, Sublime, The Beatles, Bob Marley, Neil Young, and A Tribe Called Quest.[11] Johnson names Jimi Hendrix as his all-time favorite guitarist.[12]


Bonnaroo08 jackjohnson2 lg.jpg

2000–03: Brushfire Fairytales and On and On[edit]

Jack Johnson's big break was writing and contributing vocals for the song "Rodeo Clowns" which was featured on G. Love's 1999 album Philadelphonic. The song would later become the most famous single of the album.

In addition to his later success as a musician, Johnson is also an accomplished filmmaker. Johnson directed the surf films Thicker Than Water (2000) and The September Sessions (2002), in which he also starred. Both movie soundtracks were also products of Johnson. Johnson also starred in the 2004 surf film A Brokedown Melody.

Suela released a four track demo that caught the attention of Ben Harper's producer, J. P. Plunier, who worked with Johnson on his debut album Brushfire Fairytales in early 2001 with Harper and his Weissenborn lap steel guitar making a guest appearance. Brushfire Fairytales was released on February 1, 2001.

Johnson went back into the studio with Adam Topol (drums, percussion) and Merlo Podlewski (bass), who played on Brushfire Fairytales, and Mario Caldato Jr on production duties, to record his second full-length album On and On. It was the first album to be recorded at Johnson's Mango Tree Studio in Johnson's home town of North Shore, Oahu, and the first to be released through The Moonshine Conspiracy Records. On and On was released on May 6, 2003.

The Moonshine Conspiracy Records was later changed to Brushfire Records; Johnson turned the offices and studios of his Los-Angeles based record company into a model of eco-friendliness, with solar power, recyclable CD packaging, and energy-saving air conditioners.[13]

2004–09: In Between Dreams, Curious George, and Sleep Through the Static[edit]

Johnson performing at the Austin City Limits Festival 2004.

In October 2004, Johnson returned to the Mango Tree Studio with Topol and Podlewski along with Zach Gill (of Animal Liberation Orchestra) playing accordion, melodica and piano, to record his follow-up to 2003's On and On. In Between Dreams was released on March 1, 2005.

Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George is a soundtrack album by Johnson, released on February 7, 2006. The album also features Ben Harper, G. Love, Merlo Podlewski and Zach Gill. It was the first soundtrack to make it to number 1 since the Bad Boys II soundtrack in August 2003, and was the first soundtrack for an animated film to top the Billboard 200 since the Pocahontas soundtrack in July 1995.

Johnson enlisted J.P. Plunier to produce his fourth full-length studio album, Sleep Through the Static. It was recorded using 100% solar energy at the Solar-Powered Plastic Plant studio in Los Angeles. The album featured Gill (keys), Podlewski (bass) and Topol (drums, percussion). Sleep Through the Static was released on February 1, 2008, and was followed by a world tour.

A live album and DVD of Johnson's 2008 world tour, entitled En Concert, was released on October 27, 2009.[14] The DVD was directed by Emmett Malloy.

Johnson spearheaded the Kōkua Festivals (2004–2008 and 2010). Often occurring around Earth Day, these six years of festivals provided support for the Kōkua Hawai'i Foundation, which is a charitable organization that supports environmental education in the schools and communities of Hawaii. Kōkua Festival 2004/2005 was a DVD released by Jack Johnson Music that showcased the early Kōkua Festivals. He also participated, with Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne, Dave Matthews, Eddie Vedder and others, in the documentary Kōkua 2008: 5 Years of Change (2009),[15] produced by Brushfire and Three Foot Giant Productions and shown on Sundance Channel.[16] On April 17, 2012, preceding his 2012 Hawaiian Islands tour, he released the live Kōkua Festival compilation Best of Kōkua Festival.[17][18][19]

Johnson produced Animal Liberation Orchestra's fifth studio album, Man of the World, which was released February 9, 2010. The album also features vocals from Johnson.

2010: To the Sea[edit]

On February 1, 2010, Johnson's official website announced that his fifth studio album, To the Sea, was in the recording process at the Mango Tree Studio, with a planned worldwide release during the first week of June 2010.[20][21] The website also announced an accompanying European, Australian and New Zealand tour to coincide with the album's release on midnight 31 May.[20]

The first single from To the Sea is "You and Your Heart", released on April 6, 2010.[22]

While speaking with New Zealand radio station ZM, Johnson said he is constantly aiming to build relationships with local pro-environment, non-profit groups. "We try to raise money for a lot of these groups who are doing positive things in the community. We try to focus mostly on environmental education, just trying to get kids out into nature, supporting local farms and things like that."[23]

Johnson embarked on a world tour in 2010 with Paula Fuga, a Hawaiian vocalist, playing at a range of venues across the world including Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, US and Japan.

2012: Hawaiian Islands tour[edit]

Johnson performing as a headliner at Bonnaroo on June 15, 2013

On February 22, 2012, Jack with John Cruz and Paula Fuga announced a 7-show acoustic tour of the Hawaiian Islands during April.[24][25][26]

At the Stan Sheriff Center on April 14, 2012, during the Pillars of Peace Hawai'i: Building Peace on a Foundation of Aloha, Johnson performed introductory music before Nobel Peace Laureate Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, gave the speech "Educating the Heart". Better Together was one of several songs Jack performed.[27][28][29][30][31][32]

2013: Bonnaroo, From Here to Now to You, and present[edit]

Johnson has released a new album From Here to Now to You with his band which was released on September 17, 2013. On June 15, 2013, Jack and the Band performed as headliners at the 2013 Bonnaroo in Tennessee.[33][34] He also played two acoustic concerts, one at London's Tabernacle in Notting Hill and the other at New York City's Allen Room at Lincoln Center overlooking Central Park, featuring songs from his upcoming album.[35][36][37] The From Here To Now To You tour ran from March through September 2014.

Personal life[edit]

On July 22, 2000, Johnson married his college sweetheart Kim.[38] They have three children: two boys and a girl. Johnson lives on the North Shore of the island of Oahu in Hawaii. In an interview with Johnson, Ann Donahue from Billboard described Johnson's family life by saying "There is often trouble in balancing the life of an artist, environmentalist, and family man, but Johnson seems to have the niche for such a challenge. This time around, he's found a pace that agrees with him…bringing his family along so he can spend mornings with them sightseeing."[39] Both Johnson and his wife decline to talk about or release any intimate information concerning their children.[40]


In 2008, Johnson and his wife Kim created the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, a non-profit public charity supporting environmental, art, and music education worldwide. Jack and Kim Johnson also founded the Kokua Hawaii Foundation in 2003. Johnson and his family work hard every year at festivals and concerts alike, to raise money for causes they feel are most important. Johnson recorded a cover of John Lennon's "Imagine" for the 2007 benefit album Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur, which was also included on the 2009 benefit album Rhythms del Mundo Classics. In talking about Johnson and his career choices, Rolling Stone wrote: "It is a typically generous move from Johnson, who has used his multi-platinum success to support causes he cares about." Although the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation is a non-profit organization that "focuses on environmental, arts and music education", it has raised more than $750,000 from 2009 to 2010 to give away.[41] Johnson was in Osaka, Japan on his To the Sea 2010 World Tour at the time of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan. He was in a hotel with his family when it struck. After having to postpone the rest of his tour, he donated $50,000 to GlobalGiving's Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund.

Johnson's Ohana Charitable Foundation has also supported Little Kids Rock, a national nonprofit that works to restore and revitalize music education in disadvantaged U.S. public schools. He also decorated a guitar for Little Kids Rock to auction to raise funds for its program.[42]

On September 22, 2012, he donated his time to play a few songs at Farm Aid 2012 in Hershey, PA. Later in 2012, Jack donated $50,000 for Hurricane Sandy relief and added links on his website for others to donate:

After years of touring and surfing along the East Coast, I have made so many great friends. It is heartbreaking to see the images and hear their stories. I just made donations to help recover and relief efforts for Hurricane Sandy. Below is a list of groups you can support. If you can't donate money, you can donate food, supplies or your time. Our East Coast family, friends and neighbors need our help. Aloha—Jack[43]

Vocal and music style[edit]

Johnson's smooth baritone vocal and laid back acoustic songwriting, coupled with his surfer image, has made his music popular with backpackers relaxing on rustic beaches around the world. UK Indie Folk Singer-Songwriter David Knowles[44] has cited Johnson's laid back minimalist approach to songwriting as an influence.



Year Title Role Notes
1999 Nice Guys Sleep Alone Woody actor
2000 Thicker than Water himself documentary; also director
2001 Out Cold Jack Johnson and Band actor; cameo
2002 The September Sessions himself documentary; also director
2002 Getting Out short film; composer
2003 12 composer
2004 A Brokedown Melody himself documentary; also director

List of awards and nominations received[edit]

Award Year Category Result
ESPN Film Festival 2000 Adobe Highlight Award Won
ESPN Action, Sports & Music Awards 2001 Surfing's Music Artist of the Year Won
ESPN Action, Sports & Music Awards 2002 Surfing's Music Artist of the Year Won
ESPN Action, Sports & Music Awards 2005 Best Video Woodie – Live Action (Best Live Action Video) Nominated
ESPN Action, Sports & Music Awards 2005 Road Woodie (Best Tour) Nominated
Surfer Magazine 2000 2000 Video of the Year Award Won
Satellite Awards 2006 Best Original Song (from movie "Curious George") Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards Japan 2006 Best Male Video Nominated
Meteor Ireland Music Awards 2006 Best International Male Nominated
Grammy Awards 2006 Best Male Pop Vocal Performance Nominated
Grammy Awards 2006 Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals Nominated
ECHO Awards 2006 International Pop/Rock Male Artist of the Year Nominated
ECHO Awards 2007 International Pop/Rock Male Artist of the Year Nominated
ECHO Awards 2009 Best International Male Artist (Bester Kunstler International Rock/Pop) Nominated
Brit Awards 2006 Best International Male Solo Artist Nominated
Brit Awards 2006 International Breakthrough Artist Won
Brit Awards 2007 Best International Male Solo Artist Nominated
Billboard Music Awards 2011 Top Rock Album Nominated
Billboard Music Awards 2011 Top Alternative Album Nominated
Billboard Touring Awards 2010 Humanitarian Award Won
ASCAP Pop Music Awards 2003 ASCAP College Vanguard Award Won
National Wildlife Foundation (NWF) 2012 National Conservation Achievement Award in Communications Won

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Jack Johnson: Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 December 2014. 
  2. ^ Sekula, Sarah. "Musician Jack Johnson is as green as it gets". usatoday. Retrieved 8 October 2015. 
  3. ^ Kezon, Lauren. "Musicians Changing ‘Charity’". CBS Local Media. Archived from the original on 8 April 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  4. ^ "All At Once". AllAtOnce.org. 2008. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  5. ^ KETTMANN, MATT (5 February 2008). "Talking with Jack Johnson". Santa Barbara Independent. Archived from the original on 12 March 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2015. Yea, all the buses are on biodiesel. We’re doing this new community - I don’t know what you’d call it. It’s connected to our website and called “All At Once,” which is a song on the album. At every show on this tour, we’ll have a collection of booths called The Village Green. The idea is really from Zach Gill’s wife and my wife, they’re really working on it. They’re reaching out to nonprofits in every town, and we’re having them at our shows 
  6. ^ "Jack Johnson Biography". Music.aol.com. Retrieved August 30, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "Jack Johnson Interviews". Archived from the original on October 26, 2009. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Cover Story: Jack Johnson – The Dude Abides". Archived from the original on July 24, 2009. 
    Also at: Closed access "Jack Johnson – The Dude Abides". Rolling Stone. March 5, 2008.  (subscription required)
  9. ^ Kettmann, Matt (Spring 2008). "Surfing Singer Jack Johnson Stays Mellow" (PDF). UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association. Retrieved October 10, 2014. 
  10. ^ "TV Guide Bio". Retrieved October 10, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Jack Johnson Music – Band". Jackjohnsonmusic.com. Retrieved September 22, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Jack Johnson Plugs in for Electric New Disc 'To the Sea'". Rolling Stone Music. May 24, 2010. Retrieved June 13, 2013. 
  13. ^ Serpick, Evan (June 14, 2007). "Rock & Roll: Tours - Tour Industry's Green Revolution". Rolling Stones (1028): 13–14. 
  14. ^ "Jack Johnson En Concert – Brushfire Records". Brushfirerecords.com. July 8, 2009. Retrieved September 22, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Kōkua 2008: 5 Years of Change". IMDb. 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Kōkua 2008 company credits page". IMDb. Retrieved June 4, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Jack Johnson & Friends: Best of Kokua Festival: Amazon.de: Musik". Retrieved August 30, 2012. 
  18. ^ Johnson, Jack (February 22, 2012). "Best of Kōkua Festival". Brushfire Records. Retrieved April 19, 2012. 
  19. ^ Johnson, Jack (February 22, 2012). "Kōkua Hawaii Foundation". Kōkua Hawaii Foundation. Retrieved April 19, 2012. 
  20. ^ a b "New Album and World Tour". www.jackjohnsonmusic.com. February 1, 2010. Retrieved February 3, 2010. 
  21. ^ "New album, 'To The Sea'". March 3, 2010. Retrieved March 24, 2010. 
  22. ^ "Jack Johnson op MySpace Music – Gratis gestreamde MP3's, foto's en Videoclips". Myspace.com. Retrieved September 22, 2010. 
  23. ^ "Interview with ZM's Polly Gillesipe". May 2010. Retrieved June 15, 2010. 
  24. ^ "Jack Johnson announces new live album & Hawaiian Islands tour". News Archives. Jack Johnson Music website. Retrieved March 13, 2012. 
  25. ^ Tour Archive. "Jack Johnson Tour Archive". Jack Johnson Music website. Retrieved June 19, 2013. 
  26. ^ Brushfire Records. "Jack Johnson Hawaiian Island Tour 2012". Vimeo. Retrieved September 11, 2013. 
  27. ^ News Archives. "April 03, 2012, The Dalai Lama visits Hawaii, Jack to Perform at Pillars of Peace Event". Jack Johnson Music website. Retrieved April 20, 2012. 
  28. ^ "April 18, 2012, Jack Honored to perform for His Holiness the Dalai Lama". News Archives (Jack Johnson Music website). Retrieved April 20, 2012. 
  29. ^ "April 2, 2012, Media – Pillars of Peace". Media. Pillars of Peace. Retrieved April 20, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Kamehameha Schools students welcoming the Dalai Lama to Honolulu, Hawaii, on April 13th, 2012.wmv". Pillars of Peace video. YouTube. Retrieved April 20, 2012. 
  31. ^ "Dalai Lama share message of peace in Hawaii". Archives. Tibetan Sun website. April 15, 2012. Retrieved April 20, 2012. 
  32. ^ Kerr, Keoki (April 16, 2012). "On first full day in Hawaii, Dalai Lama shares message of peace with students". Hawaii News Now (KHNL, KGMB, KFVE) website. Retrieved April 20, 2012. 
  33. ^ "Jack and the Band Last Minute Headliners at Bonnaroo". News Archives (Jack Johnson Music website). Retrieved June 19, 2013. 
  34. ^ Crothers, C. Taylor. "2013 Bonnaroo Photos, Saturday: Jack Johnson – Bonnaroo 2013". Bonnaroo website. Retrieved June 19, 2013. 
  35. ^ "Win a Chance to See an Acoustic Evening with Jack in London & NYC!". News Archives (Jack Johnson Music website). Retrieved June 11, 2013. 
  36. ^ News Archives. "New Album out September 17th". Jack Johnson Music website. Retrieved June 11, 2013. 
  37. ^ "New Single, I Got You". News Archives. Jack Johnson Music website. Retrieved June 11, 2013. 
  38. ^ "Jack Johnson on his upcoming Hawaii shows". Hawaii Magazine.com. October 21, 2009. Retrieved September 22, 2010. 
  39. ^ Donahue, Ann. "YOU DON'T KNOW JACK JOHNSON." Billboard 122.19 (2010): 12–14. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. October 5, 2010.
  40. ^ "It Ain't Easy Being This Mellow". Men's Journal. June 30, 2008. Retrieved August 30, 2012. 
  41. ^ Edwards, Gavin. "Jack Johnson's L. A. Beach Party". Rolling Stone 1107 (2010):19.
  42. ^ "Jack Johnson". Little Kids Rock. Retrieved January 13, 2014. 
  43. ^ "JACK JOHNSON SUPPORTS RELIEF & RECOVERY EFFORTS FOR HURRICANE SANDY". Jack Johnson Music website. Retrieved June 11, 2013. 
  44. ^ "David Knowles". davidknowles.biz. Retrieved September 20, 2015. 

External links[edit]