Johnny Lima Biography
Singer, Songwriter, Producer, Mixing Engineer, and now Johnny Lima can add Award Winning Artist to his resume. Recently winning an International Portuguese Music Award for Best Rock Performance for his song “Blame It On Love” featured on his album MY REVOLUTION, which was released in January of 2014. Currently in the studio recording an acoustic album, Johnny will be heading to Europe in July for a string of acoustic shows in Sweden, Norway, and Greece. Johnny will also be making an appearance at this year’s Vasby Rock Festival in Sweden with the Vasby Rock Allstars.
Born to Portuguese immigrants in a small town in central California, Lima got his first taste of Rock ‘N Roll at the tender age of four, when his parents let him stay up late one night to catch KISS on TV. Little did they know that it was that one band, on that one TV show, that would convince their child that all he was meant to do in his life was to Rock ‘N Roll All Night. After many years of “playing” to his favorite KISS records with a tennis racket, his parents finally gave in and bought him his first guitar, eight years later at age 12. “I was too impatient to ‘learn’ the guitar the proper way. I wanted to get down to writing songs the minute I picked up the guitar for the first time” said Lima. “And I’m glad that was the approach I took.”
A few years later, Lima took his acquired songwriting and vocal talents north to the San Francisco Bay Area in search of the ultimate rock band. After fronting a couple of popular local Bay Area bands, that didn’t amount to much outside of the Bay, Johnny decided it was time to take it to the next level. By doing so, he’d have to do it alone. After spending a few years on his own honing his songwriting skills, Johnny entered the studio to record his debut solo album with money his parents gave him. In 1996 his debut album was independently released worldwide. A brave move, considering the musical climate had changed drastically and any rock music with hooks and melody was now out of fashion with the mainstream. However, it was an album that over 10 years later would command upwards of $80 on eBay since it was out of print only two years after its release. Although the music business wasn’t too kind to him in his own backyard, across the Atlantic, Lima's style of music was still respected and garnered the attention of many independent labels in Europe, those hell bent on keeping melodic rock alive. Lima's music caught the attention of Now and Then Productions in England, who signed him to a production deal in 1998.
A year later, the follow-up to his debut album, Shine On, was released by Italy’s Frontiers Records. The album earned rave reviews all over the world, including a perfect score in Scream Magazine (Norway) and Majestic Magazine (Holland). Lima was also invited to perform at the annual Gods of AOR show in England in 1999 and 2000. On his return from England in 2000, Johnny wasted no time and began writing music for his third album, Made In Califonria, which was scheduled to be released in 2001. Little did he know that 2001 was going to be a very important year in his personal life, and that music would take a backseat for the first time.
Made in California wouldn’t see the light of day until 2003. Released by Frontiers Records, Made in California was an album that showcased Lima’s knack for big hooks, big vocals, and was the perfect soundtrack to any rock fan’s summer. It was also the last album Lima would record for Now and Then Productions and Frontiers Records. During this time, Lima’s debut album from 1996 was becoming a much sought after album amongst rock fans and therefore harder than ever to find. He decided to re-record the songs from the debut album, and release them so his fans wouldn’t have to pay outrageous prices for the ’96 debut album on the used market.
Version 1.2 was released by Escape Music in 2005 and would include brand new versions of most of the songs on the debut album, with a new song added in for good measure. After the release of Version 1.2, Lima decided it was time for a break. His planned "break" from music was going to be short lived, because four guys with big hair from Santa Cruz, Calif. called on him to produce their debut album. Between 2006-2007, Lima kept himself busy in the studio producing and co-writing Dirty Penny's debut album Take It Sleezy, which reached 39 in Classic Rock Magazine’s top 50 albums of 2008. He also produced an E.P. for Southern California’s Diamond Lane. Finally, Lima was also called on to record and mix albums by Miss Crazy, and the highly anticipated debut album from the new supergroup Freakshow, which included Frankie Banali from Quiet Riot on drums, and Jeff Lebar from Cinderella on lead guitar. Dirty Penny would also call on Johnny in 2009 to produce their sophomore album, Young & Reckless.
“It was a lot of fun and a great learning experience working with other artists in the studio. I had a blast, but it was time for me to get back in front of the microphone where I belong,” Lima said. So in the summer of 2008, armed with more than an album’s worth of material, Lima went back into the same studio (Suspect Studios) that he’s called his “home away from home” to record his follow up to 2005’s Version 1.2. The new album titled Livin' Out Loud was released worldwide on May 4, 2009 independently. Everyone who has heard the album has said that it’s his best work to date.
With a renewed passion for performing music, Lima decided it was time to get out of the studio and take his music to the stage, but he would need a band in order to do that. So in 2012, 3 years after the release of his “comeback” album, he put together a group of some of the Bay Area’s best, and took the stage for the first time in 12 years. 2012 was also the year he finally returned to Europe. With performances in Germany, as well as Europe’s most beloved rock festival, Firefest, in Nottingham, England.
Johnny spent most of 2013 in the studio working on his follow up to 2009’s Livin’ Out Loud, but before he could complete his new album, Johnny embarked on a small acoustic tour in Europe, with shows in Stockholm, London, and a sold out show in Nottingham. On his return, he realized that in order to finish the new album, he was going to have to find a way to finance the completion of the album as it went extremely over budget, and there was no way he could afford to finish it on his own. Recently hearing success stories in regards to “crowd-funding”, Johnny decided to give it a try. Thanks to the generosity of his fan base, he was able to raise enough money by starting a crowd-funding campaign on IndieGoGo to complete the album, and in March of 2014, Johnny Lima’s latest rock masterpiece, My Revolution was officially released.
Later that same year, Johnny was invited to perform at the Vasby Rock Fesitval in Sweden, where he shared the stage with legends like Europe, TNT, Gotthard, House Of Lords, and many more. Also, in October of 2014, the Mid-West finally got to see him in action when he performed at Melodic Rock Fest 4.
2015 started out on a high note for Johnny Lima, with a nomination from the International Portuguese Music Awards for his song “Blame It On Love” from the My Revolution album, which he also won. Taking a break from performing (with the exception of a couple shows in California), Johnny has spent most of this year working on his upcoming album. Which will be a bit of a departure from what we’re all used to hearing from Johnny. This time around, he has decided to record an acoustic based album. “I think it’s time for me to step out of my comfort zone and try something a little bit different this time.” Lima explained. “I write a lot on the acoustic guitar, and since it’s easier for me to tour as an acoustic solo artist, and much less expensive, it just made sense to make an acoustic album instead of another big bombastic production.” Tentatively titled UNPLUG ‘N PLAY, Johnny’s working on a summer release.
For nearly 20 years, rock fans could always rely on Johnny Lima to deliver kick ass, melodic, hard rockin’ music, no matter what the flavor of the month was. Rock ‘n Roll is not dead and Johnny Lima is going to continue doing what he does best...proving it!