When James Johnston released his debut single ‘RAISED LIKE THAT’ in the winter of ’21 it smashed all expectations – reached #1 on the CountryTown Hot 50 airplay chart, racked up 14 million streams to date and highlighted Johnston as one to watch in country music. Recently, Johnston has been breaking records by becoming the first independent country music artist in over 21 years to have a single certified Gold by ARIA. Every track that’s followed has been a hit for Johnston. His latest single, ‘SAME SONGS’ featuring Kaylee Bell hits airwaves today and is sure to blaze the same trail.
‘SAME SONGS’ is an anthemic ode to the songs that shaped a generation. “These are the soundtracks to the stories of my life,” echo’s Johnston’s gritty vocal in the first verse. Known for his strong relationship with his fans, it was them who decided Kaylee Bell should be his co-star in this nostalgic epic. “Grown from a single Tiktok video, SAME SONGS is my first collaboration. When I reached out to fans on who they’d like to see me collaborate with I was inundated with requests to partner up with Kaylee.”
The New Zealand-born singer/songwriter even wrote her own verse for the tune, tipping her hat to country legend Dolly Parton as well as pop queens Beyoncé and Britney Spears. Similar to Johnston, Bell has been kicking career goals lately. She’s already the most streamed female country artist in Australasia – a mantle she’s held for the last 4 years – and now after performing her original song ‘Keith’ to coach Keith Urban on The Voice Australia, the song has become a global hit.
When it came to producing ‘SAME SONGS’, the two singers were on opposite ends of the globe. Collaborating once again with long-time friend and producer Justin Wantz, Johnston recorded his vocals in Sydney whilst Bell recorded hers in Nashville.
Since its release to streaming platforms in July, ‘SAME SONGS’ has already received over 645k streams in a matter of weeks. It’s the kind of success the country boy from Wingham has become known for. After his unstoppable debut, his follow up, ‘SMALL TOWN’, flew to #1 on the CountryTown Hot 50 airplay chart, where it roosted for 10 consecutive weeks. His most recent single, ‘COUNTRY BOYS’, has enjoyed several weeks dancing around the top ten – and claiming the #1 spot – with Bell’s ‘Keith’, which also recently peaked at #1.
After graduating high school over a decade ago, Johnston took a year to ‘give music a crack’.
He bought a van and set out on the great Australian road trip, playing in every little town and pub he could find. Not much has changed years later, however he’s traded the sticky pub floor for the bright lights of some of Australia’s largest festivals. August will see him at Mount Isa Mines Rodeo, NQ’s Rock’n Country in Mackay, as well as the beloved Gympie Music Muster. He’s also slated to perform at the Baralaba Bash, Savannah in The Round and the titanic, CMC Rocks in 2022.
Home is where the heart is for James Johnston, and he wears his heart on his sleeve. Cliché as that may sound, the singer/songwriter has built an impressive career with a swag of songs that celebrate life in Australia. Thumping anthems dipped in nostalgia has been the secret formula for this rising star, yet its success lies in its authenticity. James Johnston is the real deal. His latest, ‘SAME SONGS’, is yet another feather in his cap – a rousing collaboration between two artists at the top of their game.