BYU football player doubles as music performer
Read in Spanish: Jugador de fútbol americano by BYU también music performer hace
Many children grow up with lofty dreams – traveling to the moon, being a world-famous singer, or becoming a successful athlete. For transfer graduates and wide receiver Batchlor Wise Johnson IV, having just one of those dreams wasn’t enough.
Johnson comes from a rich musical heritage. His grandmother Barbara Lynn, an R&B singer in the 1960s, produced hits like “You’ll Lose a Good Thing”. As she gained notoriety, Mick Jagger asked her if he could produce and record her song: “Oh! Baby (We’ve got a good thing going). Lynn’s son, Batchlor Wise Johnson III, finally entered the music scene as a rapper
“My dad did all rap in the ’90s and wanted a group of kids to create their own Jackson Five,” Johnson said. “My dad made us play everything, whether it was talent shows, religious events, special musical numbers, stuff like that.”
Johnson has been exposed to big names in the industry due to his family’s musical background. Growing up, they would record music in the studio of Mathew Knowles, Beyoncé’s father. These experiences allowed Johnson to see the amount of work it takes to be successful in music.
While music was a big part of his childhood, Johnson said he was also very interested in sports from a young age. His dad never pushed him to play sports, but when he introduced him to soccer, Johnson decided he wanted to be awesome. At the age of 9, he was hiking routes and training with a weighted vest in their backyard.
Very quickly, he developed a passion for both music and football. Entertaining and making people smile is something he has always loved, and he wanted to find a way to combine his two interests.
“My goal since I was a kid has been to play in the Super Bowl and play at halftime,” Johnson said.
Johnson worked on his athletic art and came to BYU for two years before transferring to the University of Utah to complete his undergraduate education. After his fair share of struggles in Utah, the opportunity presented itself for him to accept a graduate scholarship at BYU. While in Provo he was able to focus on studying, football and music while trying to make the most of all three. Continuing to develop her brand has also been one of her priorities.
Johnson writes all of his own lyrics; it is his way of expressing his individuality. He likes to be a little flashy, dressing like the paparazzi are still around. Creating his own brand is important, but there have been musicians who have inspired him along the way, including Michael Jackson, Chris Brown and Usher, all in the R&B vein of music. His music is created to be “country lyrics with a hip-hop feel,” Johnson said. “Country songs because they focus on the symbols and the things that matter, and hip-hop because it’s culture. You can’t rock without the beat.
Part of Johnson’s personality is promoting good things to inspire those new to his music. He keeps his words blasphemy free and uplifting while striving to be someone people can admire.
“If I could do a world tour and the night before have a musical fireplace for every city, that’s where I feel like I would be on the top of my life,” Johnson said. “Usually a guy who looks like me isn’t LDS, but the way he lives his life and the way he writes his music you can tell. “
While at Provo, Johnson said two people helped him achieve those goals. Jourden Skillman and Mitchell Bashford, two “music geniuses” who use music to express their identities and brands. With just this small team, they create, write, mix and perfect every song, from start to finish, in a townhouse. The mic is placed in front of the open closet so sound doesn’t bounce off the walls, Johnson said. In a way, this not only adds to his brand, but Skillman and Bashford’s as well.
Skillman helps create unique ideas and beats for Johnson to then add lyrics.
“A lot of times I hear a song or a melody in my head and it’s just a matter of translating it into something real,” Skillman said. “When I make music with Batchlor, I usually do the rhythm and everything except the vocals.”
Bashford is a junior audio engineering student with a minor in commerce and another key player in music development. He’ll create his own beat or melody and then send it to Johnson. If he likes it, they will continue to develop the idea.
“I play instruments and I get the structure of the song,” Bashford said. “I’m also going to mix the song, make it consistent with the whole thing.”
Johnson and his team continue to consistently produce music and present it in various performances. He hopes his relentless demeanor shines through in his schoolwork, music and athletic endeavors. His goals remain ambitious to motivate him. “My eyes are on the 2021 Grammys,” Johnson said. “It’s been my goal for a minute now.”