Roseville Council Member's Son Talks American Idol and Music Lessons from Dad
Outgoing Roseville Council member Jeff Johnson's son Jake competed on American Idol last year. Now, he's looking planning the next steps of his music career and auditioning for NBC's "The Voice."
Jake Johnson, a Roseville High graduate and son of outgoing Roseville Council member Jeff Johnson, has a theory about why American Idol gave him the boot in the Hollywood round of its 2012 season.
“It was poor song choice on my part,” Johnson said about picking “She’s Not There” by The Zombies. “I could have mellowed it out a little more than I did: It’s not a very appealing song when you sing it acoustic and don’t try to change the melody.”
But the 20-year-old isn’t bitter about the early departure. He said he’s thankful for the opportunity to work with talented musicians, to make lasting friendships with contestants (including drummer Reed Grimm) and to take a peek behind the camera of a television spectacle.
“There’s a lot of drama behind the scenes you don’t really see,” Johnson said. “People freaking out, people who aren’t as developed as performers—especially the younger contestants—people who hyperventilate and stuff like that.”
Since American Idol, Johnson’s been pushing forward with his music career—partnering up with his brother and drumming for the Ben Johnson Band, enrolling at the Minneapolis Media Institute in audio engineering and playing a show with his father at a South Minneapolis church.
Johnson attributes much of his musical talent to his father, Jeff Johnson, a singer and keyboardist who last year declined to run for reelection to the Roseville Council.
“He was in a rock and roll band for 20 some years, and that was his living for that span of time,” Jake Johnson said. “He’s the most talented musician that I know.”
Johnson hasn’t given up dreams of musical fame, and on Jan. 13 he’ll head to Chicago to audition for NBC’s “The Voice,” where he hopes to achieve similar success to Eagan native Nicholas David, who last month sang in the show’s finals.
In his Voice try-out, Johnson will apply the lesson about making his music accessible that he learned from his American Idol defeat.
“I’m a very old soul,” he said. “Rock, blues are kind of my alley, but I try to incorporate a lot of music on the radio today and switch it up to fit my personal style. You’ve got to appeal to the masses these days.”