John, tell us where you’re from and what influenced you to pursue music.
I’m born and raised in Chicago, south side Roseland area. What influenced me to do music was my environment. [I] grew up in church and sung in choir – been around my best friends and cousins [who] did music. [I] was just always surrounded by music in one way or another.
Speaking of influences, who are your top 5 favorite artists of all time?
My top 5 artists of all time are Michael Jackson, Heatwave, Marvin Gaye, Stylistics and the O’Jays.
How long have you been making music?
I been making music for 5 going on 6 years.
How would you describe your style of music?
It [was] rough in the beginning learning from others and finding your way musically. My style of music simply goes by feeling. It’s smooth when it needs to be, edgy, uplifting and most definitely fun.
Tell me about your introduction to Chicago Steppin?
I was introduced to Chicago Steppin from my parents. When I was little [my] mom woke me up Saturday mornings cooking breakfast, listening to Herb Kent “The Cool Gent” on the radio, Maurice “Ice” Cold Pepper doing his thing spinning duties. Mom and Dad asking me what artist is this, learning songs, artists and history. Dad playing vinyl records in the living and we Steppin’ and cleaning the house. [Laughing] That was my foundation!
In your opinion, what are some of key ingredients of a great Steppin song?
A key ingredient to a Steppin song is the music. You will know if you like it within 20 secs. It’s like a rollercoaster. Music tells me to go hard or soft, left or right, determines my mood. You can tell how people feel when they dance to the song, but mostly the music.
Are you familiar with any of the independent artists that have made names for themselves in this industry?
Fel Davis and T. L. Williams – two talented artists. I hope to join the list of good entertainers. I only know a couple artists that made a name in the Steppin lane.
Are you familiar with any of the Steppers? Who do you like to watch dance?
I love Steppin! My favorite couple to watch is Ty Skippy and Celeste. Their chemistry is out of this world. Pete and Linda Frazier, George “Macaroni” Garnes and Sylvia Williams.
Tell me one thing you want Steppers to know after reading this interview?
I want steppers to know that they have someone that grew up in a Steppin family and atmosphere. I want to add to our culture musically, teach our history of the dance and who came before me, and be one of the greats in our lane. A pioneer of change. ‘Step Into It.’
If Steppers or promoters want to reach out to you, how should they contact you?
For contact and to stay in tune with performances, events and music, you can reach me at …
Facebook: John Day
Thanks John. Best of luck on your Steppin journey!