For many music artists from small towns, it can be tough trying to gain exposure. But Johari L, a singer/songwriter/producer from Grand Rapids, MI, sees this as an opportunity rather than a barrier. “As of now, there's no one really making a name for our city in music. From what I’ve heard, most of the musicians here are too focused on the trends that surface in mainstream. It’s the perfect place for me to really stand out with my unique sound. Hopefully I can inspire others to do the same,” said Johari.
Johari L has been cranking out music from his bedroom/home studio for many years. He and I met online through my cousin Kaileia back in 2011. At the time, we were both amatuer teenagers just trying to make music. Although we might’ve not been as skilled just yet, we collaborated on a track together and I remember specifically playing the song over and over again to hear Johari singing his verse. We lost contact for a few years, but recently reconnected as both of us have progressed artistically and professionally since then.
Formerly known as L12 for eleven years, Johari recently changed his official stage name to Johari L. He felt that the name change was necessary in showing his growth and maturity as an artist and as a young man. Johari’s music journey began even before his birth, and only developed further and further through his childhood and youth. “I was born around music. My mom has always told me stories about how she'd play her favorite albums aloud close to her stomach while she was pregnant. I'd always kick while she sung. My mom is an amazing singer. Her and I always sung together, especially our favorite cuts from Prince albums,” said Johari.
Johari’s experience and exposure to music has allowed him to experiment with all genres, most notably R&B, Soul, Pop, and Rap. Johari stated, “I grew up listening to Prince, TLC, Missy Elliott, Jon B. and any other well known artists from the 80's - 90's.” We can see heavy R&B and Soul influence in the artist’s songs “Press Play” and “Come and Get Me,” both which are classic love-making styled tunes. Recently, however, Johari L has leaked his newest self-produced & self-written, Hip Hop and almost poetically inspired track - “Waves,” which just might be circulating in email inboxes around the U.S. As a businessman and artist, Johari chose to release “Waves” in September 2016 as an exclusive download which can only be received directly via email from the artist himself. He is more focused in long-term growth than mere plays, and focuses on generating long-lasting relationships with his small but growing loyal fan base.
Johari L has a new name and developed persona, to go along with his new audio and visual material that will be coming very soon. He is consistently working in his home studio and doing all he can to improve all aspects of his music career, from studio equipment to networking to videos and promotions. “I’d like people to know that when it comes to me and my music, it’ll be an experience for them. When you listen front to back without skipping a track, you'll see a story line. I love cohesive projects. It's what turns music into art,” said Johari. For more information on Johari L, visit his Youtube channel and/or follow him on Facebook.
OTDHipHop is an independent music blog and network, curated by Rapper/Blogger Jehzan Exclusive.