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Nedra Johnson

Much like Ben Harper and Toshi Reagon, Johnson is a 90's songwriter whose penchant for integrating funk, rock and R&B into her work never obscures a basic reverence for earlier troubadours, from Ferron to Bob Marley. [Testify is] one of those rare charismatic records that can be enjoyed by Jimi Hendrix, Nina Simone, Holly Near fans equally - quite a feat."-Karen Iris Tucker, NY Blade

Nedra Johnson is a singer, songwriter, guitar, bass and tuba player of Welsh & African-American descent. Her debut release "Testify" co-labeled on Big Mouth Girl / Goldenrod Records shows the diversity of her influences. Growing up, Nedra listened to "everything from Louis Jordan to Social Distortion."

Openly lesbian in her life & lyrics, Nedra is a favorite in the lesbian & gay communities, performing regularly at Pride events and women's music festivals. When asked whether or not her openness has hurt her career she says,

"I have performed in front of audiences of as much as 7000 people because of and in spite of my sexuality. I can honestly say that I have never gotten any negative feedback because I am openly lesbian. And it's not that I've been sheltered. I've performed in clubs and festivals in the States & Europe on my own and with Gravity. No problems. Even the Playboy Jazz Festival in LA, people stopped and turned like, "Did she just say girl?," but as I walked around directly afterwards, people had only nice things to say. I have found that people experience my songs in terms of their own sexuality. Now if it's a problem, industry wise, I don't know...but the audiences seem to love it."

The 24th Annual Michigan Womyn's Music Festival in August 1999 was taken by storm, with the debut performance of Nedra's Fat Bottom Girls, an all-women ensemble of 6 tubas and a rhythm section! It was performing with her father's band, Howard Johnson and GRAVITY that inspired the instrumentation. One highlight of the festival was the tuba players sitting in with punk rock band, Tribe 8 on their cover of "Radar Love," then jumping into the mosh pit!

Performances have included:

Opening Sets for:

"This is one spirit singer who could give Jerry Falwell a heart attack. Birthed in the blues of Bessie Smith, the hymns of Big Maybelle, and the soul of Kurt Cobain, this jazz baby brings a punk energy to the sacred and profane body prayers she growls at the temple of Aphrodite and into the mosh pit of the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival. Johnson's musky invocations welcome all who believe in the power of booty to heal the soul. This is conversion music for those in need of sexual healing."
- Jim Fouratt, The Advocate

Ladyslipper "A voice comparable to any of the great blues women...a maturity and energy that is unique and refreshing...Highly recommended."
- Ladyslipper

"New artist to look out for..."
- HITS Magazine

Village Voice "Charming...irrespressibly sexy"
- Village Voice


Regarding Nedra's solo performance and her debut release Testify...

 "Her voice evokes the soulful, smoky blues sound of the '30's and '40's, but with a definite '90's attitude. Her music (a blend of blues, funk, jazz, gospel, rock and R & B) is peppered with '60's folk angst, but with a definite '90's agenda. She has a reputation for being outspoken (the name of her record label: Big Mouth Girl), yet New York's Village Voice found her "charming", and described her songwriting as "irrepressibly sexy". She defies categorization. In short, Nedra Johnson is an original, and she delivers her message loud and clear, with spirit and style."
- BackStagePass.org

Source:  http://nedrajohnson.com/indexie.htm

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Song Previews

Testify (funky acoustic)
Workin' Hard For The Joneses
Are You Gay? (getting angry yet)
Love Is Not Concerned
Primary Lover Blues
Where Will You Be?
One Thing In Common
Hail Mary
get over it...
About A Girl
Get It & Feel Good

Forever With Me* Nedra Johnson © June 1998

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Sanctified Booty
By Drew Alise Timmens

I first became aware of singer/songwriter nedra johnson (pronounced Nee’ dra) at the Witness Our Welcome (WOW) conference held last August at Northern Illinois University. I almost missed her concert because I’d assumed she was simply a gospel singer hired to provide a small diversion and made my plans accordingly: I’d go out to smoke a cigarette or two while I, a consummate city-dweller, called back home to bemoan being stuck in the middle of an Illinois cornfield where I couldn’t get a cell tower while in the building with very few people who looked like me. Then I heard it. “It” was the big sultry voice of someone who was clearly not singing ordinary gospel. Johnson had taken the stage.  [Read More]