Johnson lights up the Underground
BY CARLY DAVIS
Running on stage and immediately setting to work on the keyboard, Jillette Johnson quickly commanded the attention of the crowd with her unique sound and keyboard playing at the Underground on Feb. 5, for the weekly acoustic night.
The singer/songwriter began playing piano at eight years old. She started playing guitar because she wanted to be like her brother. After an incident involving her grandfather and a very expensive and broken vintage guitar, that musical path was put on hold.
However, at 18 she attended New York University for almost a year, and decided to return to writing songs for guitar. Johnson locked herself in her dorm, wrote 12 songs and then got bored with it. Only recently, now 24, did she begin playing and writing again for guitar.
“I thought it was really good because they don’t usually have many females for acoustic night and they usually only play guitar, so the piano was a nice change,” said sophomore Bethany Fleming.
Johnson’s diary-like lyrics emanated in her songs, especially “17.” The song illustrates, “that feeling that you think you’re going to marry someone and be in love with them forever but you’re just a teenager. You have no idea what you’re talking about,” said Johnson.
Other songs including, “Cameron,” “Peter Pan,” “Basset Hound” and “Torpedo” are featured on her new album “Water in a Whale.”
The band Radiohead deeply influenced Johnson. She admired their work from afar and incorporated elements of their music into her own. As tribute to the band, she performed Radiohead’s “Creep.”
The crowd hung on to Johnson’s every word, impressed by her young talent. She even had some groupies that have been to multiple shows. The crowd was sang and danced along to her captivating lyrics and was more enthusiastic than most.
Johnson will be on tour all of next year, but said she would be back in the future. From her performance Johnson’s talent is evident; she could perform any song and captivate her audience.