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Johnny Counterfit Interview by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

Johnny Counterfit Interview by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

Lamitschka:  Music has many new fans throughout Europe who may be hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you play to someone who has never seen or heard you?

Answer:  No doubt, my listeners in Europe are hearing the side of me as songwriter and recording artist, utilizing my own natural singing voice, which is one of several dimensions in my career. With the release of my album, Songs I’ve Written-vol.1, and by virtue of the many streaming platforms carrying my songs from the album, this has become my introduction to the European market, as a singer-songwriter. My main career as a comedian and voice impressionist (impersonator) of singers spans many years on American television and radio, with content of interest to mainly American audiences, but I have performed quite a few comedy-concert shows in England. My new album is changing that by virtue of content that includes Traditional Country, Folk, Comedy, Bluegrass and Inspirational music I’ve written and recorded using my own natural singing voice.
 
Lamitschka:  How was the last year for you? What were your highlights?
Answer:  As I continue touring the United States, in concert, I accepted two separate acting roles in the Sony Pictures/Lifetime Movie Network film, Patsy & Loretta; a film about the friendship between country legends Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn (release: October 2019). I’ve also accepted an offer from the American PBS television network to perform a nationally broadcast one hour concert show for a special, to be aired in February 2020.

Lamitschka:  What is your latest CD and how's it doing?

Answer:  Songs I’ve Written, volume 1.. 15 songs, streaming on my Spotify channel, as well as many other (streaming) platforms. The actual CD sells on my website, www.JohnnyCounterfit.com, as well as during and after my live concert performances. Sales are good.

Lamitschka:  How did you choose the title for the CD?  Is there a story behind the name?

Answer:  I decided to call it, Songs I’ve Written in order to differentiate this body of work from my comedy and voice impressions of other famous singers.

Lamitschka:  Do you write the songs yourself? If not, how do you go about finding the songs for your CD?

Answer:  Yes, I wrote every song.

Lamitschka:  Please tell us about the songs on your album (influences, etc).

Answer:  Content includes Traditional Country, Folk, Comedy, Bluegrass and Inspirational music; some gleaned from my true life experiences, while others are imagined songs about deep feelings and comedic observations.

 Lamitschka:  What is the difference between your last CD and your current one?

Answer:  My current CD contains songs I’ve written, and the previous albums feature my live concert shows of comedy and voice impressions of famous American singers.

Lamitschka:  Your current single is being played by radio. What do you feel is special about this song that makes people want to hear it?

Answer:  My songwriting in this album hearkens back to the days when country music told stories about real human life experiences, utilizing heartfelt ballads, and uptempo arrangements not mistaken for American Rock or Rap music.

Lamitschka:  What will your next single be?

Answer:  The song, My Next Ex-Wife, subtitled, Modern Marriage. The hook of the song is, I just met my next ex-wife, and she has three last names.

Lamitschka:  What kind of songs do you like to record the most?

Answer:  Solid Traditional Country Music
  
Lamitschka:  What is your favorite song among all the songs you have recorded and what's the story behind it?

Answer:  (I got over you) A Couple of Girls Ago. It’s a sad country song that could have been written and recorded in the 1960’s and 1970’s before American record label executives began diluting the genre‘ with non-traditional-country lyrics, music, and arrangements.

Lamitschka:  How much creative control do you have over your music?

Answer:  Complete and total control. I write, produce, perform, and market my own music, and have for my entire career.

Lamitschka:  There's a lot of work that goes into a number one hit. What did it take to make it in your case?

Answer:  I’m still working on abtaining a number one hit.

Lamitschka:  Do you have any interesting stories about how fans have been affected by your music?

Answer:  Yes, over many years, I’ve had requests to sing particular songs that have moved people, either by laughter or by virtue of a theme that touched their lives. For example, In August of 2019, a man came to my show despite his wife dying a mere two weeks prior; he came because both he and his wife had attended a previous show of mine, and enjoyed it very much. I’m thinking he imagined his late wife attending my show, in spirit, with him.

Lamitschka:  Who inspires you musically and how deep do your musical roots run?

Answer:  I enjoy being inspired by songwriters of intelligent lyrics, no matter the genre‘ and by performers with the ability to sing a song from within, emotionally. I’m the only member of my family with a professional career in music; I’ve loved music and comedy from the early days of my childhood.

Lamitschka:  What do you think about today's music scene versus its post and where do you see it going in the future?

Answer:  I believe there is a market for every form of music; I wouldn’t propose to put forth my assessment on other artists work. It only matters what the audience likes, and both artist and audience have longevity!

Lamitschka:  What do you think about today's music industry?

Answer:  Thanks to the Internet, there has never been a better opportunity for independent artists to grow their fan base; forget the Good Old Days, and embrace the Great New Days! There are no longer a handful of music executives deciding who will be heard and seen.

Lamitschka:  If you had the chance to change something about the music industry, what would it be?
 Answer:  Deflate the egos of music industry decision makers who’s talent does not approach the creative, then fire every one of them; how can they preside over creativity with only ego?

Lamitschka:  As an artist, you so many tasks such as recording, touring, interviews. What do you like best, what's your favorite activity?

Answer:  Performing, then writing and recording, in that order.

Lamitschka:  Are you doing anything to take music beyond its current borders or are you happy where it is?

Answer:  Thanks to the Internet, there are no borders; artists should find and grow their fan base.

Lamitschka:  What was your big break that got you into the music business?

Answer:  Appearing on national television, throughout the U.S.A.

Lamitschka:  Before you became a star, were your friends and family supportive or was it a struggle?

Answer:  Family members have always supported my quest as an artist, and I allow my friends to decide their degree of support, as I remain focused on my career, i.e., I give what I get.

Lamitschka:  What inspired you to become an artist?

Answer:  As a young child, watching performers on television, I discovered I had a natural talent for comedy, music, acting, creativity and singing.

Lamitschka:  What inspired you to become a songwriter?

Answer:  I wanted to convey my feelings and observations.

Lamitschka:  What drives you?

Answer:  I love performing in front of an audience, so I work every angle to perpetuate my career.
  
Lamitschka:  What's unique about you that will differentiate you from other artists?

Answer:  The variety and scope of my music, writing, acting, and comedic abilities.

Lamitschka:  What has been your greatest challenge in music business?

Answer: Those standing between me and the audience.

Lamitschka:  What moments in your career stand out in your memory as highlights and achievements which you are proud of?

Answer:  My appearances on (U.S.A.) national television and radio, and my concert performance for the President and First Lady of the United States, and their guests at The White House, in Washington D.C.
  
Lamitschka:  Who is your biggest critic, yourself or others?

Answer:  Myself

Lamitschka:  When you get time off, how do you like to relax?

Answer: Spend time with my two children, no matter the activity. I also enjoy watching television, and reading books on history.

Lamitschka:  What hopes and desires do you have?

Answer:  To be able to create, and perform until I reach the age of 103.

Lamitschka:  What has been the biggest disappointment in your life?

Answer:  Divorce

Lamitschka:  Many European fans travel to the United States to attend several of the music festivals for the opportunity to see so many of their favorite artists, bands and celebrities. Will you be participating and how will the fans be able to find you?

Answer:  I perform in a great many live music events; fans can access my touring schedule via my website: www.JohnnyCounterfit.com

Lamitschka:  Is there any place you haven't played that you would like to?

Answer:  Buckingham Palace. The Vatican.

Lamitschka:  What can your fans expect to see when they see you in concert?

Answer:  My delight in performing for them.

Lamitschka:  When you're on tour, do you have time to play tourist?

Answer:  Yes, occasionally, the tour schedule will allow a day or two between shows; I love visiting historic sights.

Lamitschka:  Do fans mob you everywhere you go or do they respect your privacy?

Answer:  People are generally very polite, and courteous; I try to set that tone.

Lamitschka:  Many music fans today get their information about artists online. Do you have your own website and what will fans find there?

Answer:  Yes, my website contains career highlights, photos, video, and touring schedule. www.JohnnyCounterfit.com
  
Lamitschka:  What's the best compliment a fan has ever given you?

Answer:  My show made them laugh and enjoy themselves after a tragic life experience.

Lamitschka:  What's your favorite song that you wish you could have recorded?

Answer:  The 1967 release of Lady, by artist Jack Jones. By this answer I mean, I wish I could have recorded the oldie this past year.

Lamitschka:  What message would you like to send your European fans?

Answer:  I look forward to performing live for you!

Lamitschka:  How do you feel about winning the EMMY?  What has it done for your career?

Answer:  Actually, a CBS television special in which I starred won the EMMY; I utilized the publicity from this destinction to progress into additional television and radio shows.
  
Lamitschka:  Fans are always hungry for good road stories. Do you have one you can share with us (come on don’t be shy)?

Answer:  In 1998, I performed my voice impression (impersonation) of Johnny Cash...for Johnny Cash, and his wife, June Carter. I sang I Walk the Line, after which Johnny Cash broadly smiled, shook my hand, and said, man, you’ve got me down...thank you!!! A few months later, I learned Johnny Cash told his brother Tommy Cash, and nephew Mark Alan Cash that I was the best he’d ever seen, and that he wanted me to do the singing in the movie, Walk the Line, if producers did not use his recordings.

Lamitschka:  Describe what a perfect day is like for you.

Answer:  If I’m not on a concert tour, I rise just before the sun comes up, enjoy several cups of coffee while I read the morning newspaper, and then do the crossword. I eat breakfast, and watch the television morning news. Shower, shave, check Emails, contact clients and prospective clients of my concert shows. Schedule a business lunch with a client. Add to a second book I’m writing. Have supper with my children, a few hours after they have come home from High School. Read a new book, watch some television evening news, then go to bed.

Lamitschka:  Most careers don't last as long as yours.  What's given your career the staying power?

Answer:  After nearly 39 years, I still love what I do.

 Photo (c) JC PIC High Rez
 





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