Adrift in an ocean of hard rock and metal music, I’m sent a link and a message from a friend I work with in the music scene publishing business, “Does this fit my show? I’m not sure that I care if it does, he’s good” It didn’t take long listening to that link in order to see what he means. Smooth, uplifting, fun, this was really good. Next comes the flurry of finding him. In an age of instant communication it’s rather amazing how many people aren’t always on Facebook. Pouring through personal profiles when the message service on the site won’t work, finally finding a name, “I got him!!”, setting up a group chat, laughing at ourselves that two people who love metal so much are tempting fate with something so different from our normal but… It’s. So. Good. Then comes the small talk, quick questions, looking up information as we set up interviews… but wait… why does his bio read so differently from what I’m used to seeing?
Johnny Walylko wasn’t born into a music family. He didn’t start on stage at some tender age. He was that star athlete we all knew in school, gifted with ability, waking up early to knock on his dad’s door and go work out. He learned early what discipline, training, focus and devotion to what you love really mean. He was discovered early, taken into an athletics school in Pasadena, his mom moved with him so he could have a type of home life in what looked like a promising career as an athlete. Time, effort, commitment and money were directed into that life but an injury in his Junior year stopped it short. There was no way Johnny would be able to continue this path. As with any family this caused a few problems, broken hearts for what could have been, wondering where the next step was, worry, stress. Fate had something in store; his roommate had a friend who left a guitar and, being used to keeping busy, young Mr. Walylko decided to see what he could do with it. Learning the guitar and writing, his artistic side began to bloom. Still, he tried to go ahead with other plans. Music was there and it seemed to follow him meekly. He would write songs and play for fun, still trying to find his way and finally deciding to become a Navy S.E.A.L., only to discover that he had a heart condition during training. While it was corrected, the damage was done for a career in the service he wanted. Again, relying on music to help him recover from this, he became more enamored with it. He went to college, joined the reserves and began MMA fighting. Music was taking hold and when a knee injury stopped him from carrying on with what he thought he wanted, music was there to show him what he needed.
All of that devotion, effort, focus and drive was turned to the thing that healed his soul while his body was mending. Military turned musician he discovered his talents and ran with them. Tactical mind finding ways to cut through the artistic malaise and determination to make up for any time lost, he’s breaking out with a vengeance. He lives music every day. Early morning wake ups are now to hit the studio rather than the gym. He found a way to record his songs the way he wants but it requires beating the workers into the studio. On to classes about music and writing, earning his degree in what he now knows is his passion and succumbing to it in a way he didn’t know he could. When asked about his passion he laughed, a little nervous, and replied, “With music I think I might not be the most mentally stable person, because it’s all I think of.” Welcome to the Beautiful Madness of music Johnny, many musicians just read that and laughed because they completely understand.
If the first part of his life reads like a ‘Mission Impossible for Beginners’ script, this portion of his life is like the feel good movie of the year. He notes his true discovery would have been the day he went to the top of Mt. Washington for photos and ended up serenading a young lady… not what you think. This little cutie was a tiny tot who stopped to watch the guy singing. Caught on tape it was viewed and shared an outrageous amount of times and a man named Pete Peters reached out to help him get his music going strong. Together they record and work to build what Johnny wants – a life completely devoted to music. Yes, you heard it, he’s not stopping with just hoping he gets somewhere with it. The all star attitude mixed with musical motives to drive him to only see a future in the industry, and he has a well laid plan to get there. He has challenged himself to complete a mission – Project 52 – 52 weeks of music, one recorded release each week. If you don’t know any musicians, I’ll explain that this means he will eat, sleep, breath music, writing songs in his sleep, recording them the moment he wakes… think of this as a musical obstacle course he’s taken on for a full year. Why? So he can bring to you all that he’s felt and all that he’s feeling. Uplifting and soulful music to brighten your day in the way he needed it to once upon a time. His take on the music he creates is, “I wanna make as much of an impact as I can through music. This is all I can imagine doing.” His most recent release at the date of this writing is “Alright”, not pop, not rock, not what you expect really, but ALL good. The video began as clips of ideas and turned into a love story. Personally, I think his life was one big love story with music. Pain, tragedy, the chance meeting, music waiting in the wings like some hopeful lover as he tried to deny his feelings, until finally the moment he found he never wanted to be parted from her again and she wrapped her arms around him lovingly…. Not the end. Not even close to the end.
To find out more, check out his Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/johnnywalylkomusic/ and his website https://johnnywalylko.com/, in fact, you can just plug that name into Google and watch the interesting things that pop up. Not just YouTube channels but articles, MMA profiles… there’s interesting things to read about this man and it’s all part of the reason why this amazing musician has such a strong following already.
Jana Lee Macheca - Lady Jaye - Is the founder of First Angel Media as well as a photographer and writer for not only her own company, but Chimera Magazine out of New York. Passionate about music and driven to help the local scene she works to connect those within it, as well as working behind the scenes on various projects. You can find her photo collection at www.firstangel.smugmug.com