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Transvocalizers — Johnny Boy

| Jun 1, 2009
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I’m either getting old (and let’s not go there), or transgender artists are getting way younger all the time. Case in point is this month’s featured Transvocalizer, Johnny Boy. She is from Philadelphia and is all of 18, but is already establishing herself through an incredible array of videos on the Internet. She raps and presents some techno/dance style material as well. She is now getting ready to release her first CD project, where she concentrates on her singing and even goes into new territory for her by way of recording some ballads.

Johnny Boy is a recent “find” for Transvocalizers and she’s been very gracious to grant us an interview. She’s one of the youngest artists we’ve ever featured. No matter, though…she has some interesting thoughts to share. She’s going to be worth watching in time to come.

TGForum: What kind of musical background do you have? Any kind of formal training?

Johnny Boy: I actually have taken classes for dance and vocal training since I was 7, so people stating I’m just going into music after gaining some popularity on websites are retarded. Before I ever made a YouTube video, I was working in music. Period.

TGF: I know you’re primarily a vocalist, but do you also play any instruments?

JB: I can play a bit of piano…here and there…

TGF: Musically, and vocally as well, who are your influences, and why.

JB: I’m really into old Madonna music. I think she proves you don’t have to be the best vocalist but if you’re a great performer, you’ll be successful.

TGF: How old were you when you first got into music?

JB: 7

TGF: You have an extensive Internet presence on MySpace and YouTube. Do you perform live, or at least plan to in the future?

JB: I actually plan doing live shows once I have a good amount of material to perform.

TGF: In regard to the Internet, has the easy-ness of putting material out there helped you more than you thought it would? Have there been any drawbacks or problems?

JB: By easy-ness, you mean helped me feel more comfortable? Uh, I’ve always felt confortable in own shoes…especially after I dropped out of school.

TGF: Talk a bit about your soon to be released album project. You said in your last email to me that it’s a full album, or is it an EP? You also mentioned that you’re doing ballads, correct? Are these original or cover tunes? I also take it that you recorded in a studio this time around, rather than working at home.

JB: I’m releasing an EP early this summer. My new rap track, I’m Just JB, hits iTunes and other online stores on July 7th, and I have a ballad and a remix coming out the week following that, I believe. I worked with a new producer this time around, because I wanted to go for a new sound, and the ballad is called Love (Together For All Time). It’s my first time actually singing on a track. I’m super excited.

TGF: What do you hope to achieve from releasing this project?

JB: I hope to achieve people taking me more seriously, and know that I can actually hold a note, per se. I’m not just a pretty faced, crazy tranny everyone thinks I am. I’m considering doing my first live performance at my 19th birthday party this year, so that should be exciting.

TGF: I like to ask this next question because of the variety of answers it always gets. What makes you, Johnny Boy, unique? How do you define yourself?

JB: What makes Johnny Boy unique is, I don’t live my life caring if people will like what I do. I live my life only caring about one person’s opinion…mine.

TGF: I also usually ask this question: What advice would you offer to other artists, both transgender and non-trans?

JB: Follow your dreams. Just because you’re transgender doesn’t mean you can’t be a musician.

TGF: Final thoughts?

JB: I don’t know…I guess my passion for going ahead with my career is that there really isn’t a huge tolerance on the radio for “transgender/transsexual” music. I want to change that, because we are people…we are BEAUTIFUL, AMAZING, TALENTED people. Just like everyone else.

Besides Johnny Boy’s MySpace pages and YouTube videos, her most recent rap single is now available on Find Johnny Boy on iTunes and YouTube by searching for Johnnyboyxo. (There’s a band from England called Johnny Boy.)

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Category: Music

Pam Degroff

About the Author ()

Pamela DeGroff been writing for TGForum since the start of 1999. Her humor column, The Pamela Principle, ran until 2005. She started the Perpetual Change music column in May of 1999, and in 2008, Angela Gardner came up with the idea for the Transvocalizers column and put Pam to work on that. Pamela was a regular contributor to Transgender Community News until that magazine's demise. While part of a support group in Nashville called The Tennessee Vals she began writing for their newsletter, and also wrote for several local GLBT alternative newspapers in Tennessee. Pamela is currently a staff reporter for a small town daily paper in Indiana, and is also a working musician.

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