BROOKLYN, NY – During a hot summer day, Val Johnson was sitting in his room in Brooklyn, NY, looking through his catalog of songs searching for inspiration for a new song. The hip-hop artist with a flair for traditional R&B looked at himself in the mirror and in a tongue-in-cheek comment said, “Man … I’m handsome.”
Thus was born Johnson’s newest single, “I’m Handsome (Remastered).” It’s not a song about another conceited rapper. It’s a song that uses the word “handsome” as a metaphor for success.
“To me, handsome means having a nice demeanor, being sophisticated, optimistic, manly and extraordinary,” Johnson said. “I think I’m handsome economically, physically, spiritually – in lots of different ways. The song is about me being handsome – being confident in myself and not letting other people bring me down. And it’s also about having fun and hoping all the girls will come to me because I’m good looking.”
The song – which has a music video on YouTube – has already inspired a “Handsome Dance” that is sweeping across the nation. Johnson said he loves that he’s inspiring others through his music because he’s almost always inspired by people – especially girls – when he writes music. He tells the story of a recent encounter with a beautiful woman at a café in Manhattan as an example of how inspiration can strike at any time.
“I saw this girl with an afro and she was looking real nice,” he said. “I thought she was beautiful. And immediately in my head I started writing a song called ‘Shawty With An Afro.’ I came up with the beat and the chorus on the spot, and walked outside and recorded it on the phone. I feel like I have a special gift for coming up with beats and melodies in my head. If I have a lyric, I can come up with a beat in my head and write it or record it on my phone right away.”
Johnson said his sound is unique – self-described as R&B with a hip-hop sound. He said he feels strongly about representing traditional R&B because many of the artists out there today who call themselves R&B artists have, in his opinion, moved away from what truly makes R&B great.
“I feel like I have my own style, and yet I have the traditional R&B style,” he said. “I’m very melodic. Some people might hear it and think I sound like Ne-Yo or Usher. Ultimately I want people to feel inspired and loved. I feel like that’s missing nowadays, especially in R&B. Love is missing. All you hear is sex and drugs and that kind of stuff. I want to bring the love back.”
Johnson’s single, “I’m Handsome (Remastered),” is currently available for download on all digital media download sites. It will also feature on an EP that he plans to release later this year. He’s also made a music video for the song, which can be seen on YouTube.
For more information about upcoming live shows, or to hear more of Johnson’s music, visit his website at ValJohnsonMusic.com, or follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @IAmValJohnson.