Interview with Solo Artist Johnny Stanec

By Mick Michaels

The Cosmick View: Hello, Johnny and welcome to The Cosmick View/MBM Ten Pounder! Thanks for taking some time to chat with us! 

CV: Describe your definition of your sound and style and how does
that definition uniquely describe the music?

Johnny Stanec: I would tell someone I write somewhere between Americana-inspired folk rock and the sounds of the mid-90s Britpop movement. A strange sounding mix, but if someone listening read that, it would make sense. I like combining elements of acoustic music, plus full production and bright melodies layered with harmonies. I employ piano and synth sounds and also harmonica and strings. The main song is built on guitar/bass/drums and I take it from there.

CV: Today, everyone talks about artist and audience connection. Is such a
level of connection actually achievable for an artist and if so, how have you
made the connection to your fans?

JS: I am a private person, so transparent social media really isn't for me. I use it to promote a release or show, but I don't offer much of a look into my personal life. If I were to achieve a higher level of success, that wouldn't change. Many of today's acts are more famous for their public personas than they are for their music. I'm not a pop artist and I don't consider myself an entertainer. I am passionate about releasing quality music…after that, it sort of ends there for me.

CV: Is fan interaction an important part of your inner culture?
JS: As a solo artist frequently performing by myself, I don't typically have anyone else to worry about, but out there on my own I am always friendly after a show. If someone enjoyed it and comes up to me, I give them some time and talk with them. I am obscure, so I know these folks are just like me, fans of songwriters trying to do something honest. I take it as a huge compliment if someone wants to talk to me after my set. Their time is every bit as valuable as my own. 

CV: Can an artist truly interact with its fans and still maintain a level of
personal privacy without crossing the line and giving up their “personal
space” in your opinion?

JS: I don't know what life is like for someone who is famous all over the world. I am just a working-class songwriter from Youngstown, Ohio. If greater success were ever to happen I would do my best to remain private, but also grateful to the people making my life possible. Boundaries are necessary to maintain sanity. So, for an obscure artist like me, I don't think anything like that will ever be a problem.

CV: Is music, and its value, viewed differently around the world in your
opinion?  If so, what do you see as the biggest difference in such multiple
views among various cultures?

JS: I think a lot of people everywhere take music for granted. Unless you are being sold as something worth their attention, you will usually be treated as background noise. Actual music fans are hard to find, no matter where you go.

CV: Do you feel that an artist that has an international appeal, will tend to
connect more so to American audiences? Would they be more enticed or
intrigued to see that artist over indigenous acts because of the foreign flavor?

JS: The US is a large place and very diverse. Some cities are more welcoming than others. Some regions are known for different things. A band from the UK might go off huge in New York or San Francisco, but flop somewhere else. American audiences are fickle. Finding broad appeal is difficult, for both foreign and US-based acts.

CV: Has modern-day digital technology made everyone an artist on some
level in your opinion? Have the actual lines of what really is an artist been

JS: If you are talking about social media, then no. It hasn't improved our lives or made us happier. Everyone is attempting to get your attention at all times. Everyone is in a band, or making videos or creating content. Art is hard to define, but there are most certainly things that are not art. However, even that is subjective. I just try and do my thing and avoid reading the comments.

CV: How would you describe the difference between an artist who follows
trends and one who sets them?

JS: There is nothing new now. You have to just be yourself and try your best not to rip anyone off. Too many artists try way too hard. Setting trends isn't something I am concerned with, or will probably ever be credited with doing. I keep my head down and write my sad lyrics about the passing of time. I know where I belong.

CV: Has music overall been splintered into too many sub-genres in an effort
to appease fan tastes in your opinion? And has such fan appeasements, in
actuality, weakened music’s impact as a whole by dividing audiences?

JS: Everyone likes to label things and then re-label them over and over again. I am an outlier; I don't consider my music as part of a genre. I think people want to make it feel new so they give it a different name. Music evolves, or tries to at least. Every generation wants their own thing. So, new approaches are expected. I don't know if it is hurting music or helping it.

CV: What can fans except to see coming next from you?
JS: Aside from releasing two new singles recently, I will be finishing up tracks for a new full-length record that I plan to have out in early 2022…maybe a March release. I have some shows booked for the fall and will hopefully add more. After that, keep writing, more shows, etc. I like to keep active.

CV: Thanks again Johnny for taking some time and talking. It is greatly appreciated.
JS: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me! 

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My name is Mick Michaels...I'm an artist, music fan, songwriter, producer, show host, dreamer and guitarist for the traditional Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me; what I couldn't say in speech, I was able to do with the written word.  Writing has given me a voice and a way for me to create on a multitude of platforms including music and song, articles, independent screenplays, books and now, artist interviews. The Cosmick View is an opportunity to raise the bar and showcase artists in a positive and inspirational light. For me, it's another out-of-this-world adventure.

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