“I hope my music inspires people to be who they are. I'm busy being me. ” - Ithalia Johnson
A FEW THINGS ABOUT ME
Born and raised in the Bahamas, citizen of the world. Ithalia Johnson is an island woman siphoning rock music from her ancestors. She was raised in a home with a mother that sang the blues, a father that played folk songs on the guitar and a grandfather who cleaned fish and conch to country music. The soundtrack of Ithalia’s early life was a myriad of colourful contradictions, and she was destined to write music that carried multitudes of sounds, people, and spaces.
“The way fandom works is that songs mark important moments in a person’s life, and an artist grows up with those people. My road has been different, and I choose to focus on the timelessness of songs. People will find me when they find me, and we will go from there.”
Born to open up and let all the music come through, and the music found her, and Ithalia accepted the challenge to blaze her own trail. The angst of a tough childhood, ending with the death of her mother found a home in Punk Rock. Ithalia moved to New York and recorded her first album WHERE THE STARS DON’T SHINE (1995), determined to leave her tears in the mosh pits.
I'm an optimistic realist. The world may not live in peace forever, but I hope that everyone gets a turn.
A traveler, moving through New York and London in the pursuit of fame. Three Alternative Rock albums followed; FIND MY PIECES (1996), SOUL REVISION (1997) and LOOKING FOR THE FLAME (1999). Though the singer-songwriter moved between many recognizable genres on her musical journey, the fate of her songwriting was sealed. Ithalia’s lyrics made a point to stand on their own, question the status quo, question fame and the search for her soul.
WELCOME TO OUR LIVES (2002) was released after September 11th and the death of two sisters. Mining grief for purpose, the songs shift between elegies to lost loved ones and insightful anthems questioning the fate of the world. After September 11th, Ithalia’s music world shut down. Not discouraged, she got a mortgage to build a house and siphoned off enough money to record her next album WE’RE ALL STARS (2004). The songs mesh Rock and Rhythm & Blues with a serving of pop-punk on the side.
"I write music and perform because there’s a chance for transcendence when I let go of everything in a four-minute song."
The next journey was the move to Boulder, Colorado, where Ithalia recorded and released her most ambitious album at that time, LA LA LIFE (2006). When the music trail slowed, she sought inspiration in other forms of art. The musician wrote poetry, screenplays, and memoirs on her way to writing and recording nine studio albums. In 2009 Ithalia wrote a prize-winning screenplay and performed to an international crowd at The Bahamas International Film Festival.
I'm a what?!
The return to music in 2010 was the return to her country and Traditional Bahamian roots. Ithalia recorded a hybrid country-rock album, laced with Rhythm & Blues and a touch of Traditional music from her ancestors. The highlight of that year was performing at Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble in Woodstock, New York. Then the quiet move of settling into family life with children.
"With all the challenging things going on globally, I feel if you have something to say to inspire positive change, now is the time to say it.
In the background of a growing rum business and family life, songs brewed and the battle between the gray of identity, motherhood and music continued. In the grasp of record-breaking climate change and disasters, new and old wars, and Covid lockdowns, Ithalia wrote her new album LIGHT UP THE WORLD (2023). The songs take the temperature of the world and question the fate of the world, while offering inspiring ways to be in the world.