Sammy Johnson – Sleep Walker
2.) If You Only Knew feat. Dallas Kacey
3.) Simmer Down feat. Jemere Morgan & Sione Toki
4.) Girl Like You
5.) Since I Met You feat. Stefanie Annika
7.) Never Too Sweet
8.) These Eyes
The Pier Album Rating:
Release Date: January 26th, 2018
Record Label: Island Empire / Mensch House Records
Official Website: Sammy Johnson Website
Since 2012, Sammy Johnson has released a string of singles and collaborations, in addition to a pair of 8 track albums with Prelude in 2013 and Lion Roar in 2016. Australian born, NZ bred & now living in Los Angeles, CA, Sammy got his big break via Youtube after his video for “Don’t Say Goodbye” became a viral sensation, racking up over 12,000,000 plays. Sammy was a social worker before making the decision to pursue music full-time following the newfound popularity of the video & song. Not too long after, a Hawaiian-based producer contacted him to work on an album and was offered a record deal with Island Empire Records, home to groups like Common Kings, Tenelle and Fiji.
He’s continued that momentum of dishing out 8-track releases with his latest record Sleepwalker that features guest appearances by that of Jemere Morgan, Sioni Toki, Dallas Kacey and Stefanie Annika.
If you’re a regular fan of J Boog, The Green, or Common Kings, then Sammy Johnson should be a rising name in your general music rotation. I feel he has a voice that opens up and carries more than that of the aforementioned and the record plays to a similar style of Pop with Hawaiian influenced R&B, Reggae & Soul.
Sammy’s wide-ranging voice is what rains down on the album and while the production is great, it’s his vocals that are the big takeaway leaving the biggest impression. He’s no Al Green, but as a whole, this record is baby making music. His voice carries so much soul, how can you not have 6 of the 8 songs play like serenading love notes? He touches on all the cliches we love when we’re in love and for a lot of us guys, he’s the vocal extension of ourselves that we’ll project to the women we love when we press play during dinner (or thereafter).
The albums top tracks, however, are the only two that aren’t about love. Both songs are an honest reflection while still pouring out his soul. From being overwhelmed and lonely by the demand of a touring artist in ”Sleepwalker,” he extends that narration to the next song by dishing on his own background of being a Youtube singer, to friends for hire as an Uber driver with the track ”If You Only Knew.” The latter is accented nicely with some edge by the addition of Hip Hop verses from Dallas Kacey. I love these 2 songs in particular because they’re soulfully honest, not about love, yet they’re still vulnerable and humbling.
After the first 2 songs, the context goes from self-reflection and loneliness to 6 straight tracks of surrendering to the many multitudes of love.
As wide-ranging a voice as Sammy has, I’d love to see him carry those vocals into edgier productions to even stripped down acoustic or piano ballads and duets. This record is a good example of why Sammy Johnson should be on your radar, coloring the prospect of his growing potential.
Listen: Sammy Johnson – “Sleepwalker”
Written & Reviewed By: Mike Patti
[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, NOT the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]