Somewhere between the charisma of Frank Sinatra, the empathetic tone of Bob Marley and the smooth and sultry vocal runs of Lauryn Hill, lives the warm and kind voice of Sammy Johnson. The Australian native, New Zealand-bred soulful reggae star has just dropped his new EP Moonlight Lovers, on Friday, December 14th off Mensch House Records! Today the new album debuted at #1 on the iTunes reggae charts in both Australia & New Zealand, and reached #7 on all new album releases in iTunes New Zealand!
A celebration of island reggae music, all of the songs on Moonlight Lovers were played and produced by Polynesian artists and musicians. Sammy says,“This is by far my favourite body of work because from concept to finish I was able to create exactly what I had dreamed of doing. During the process, I reconnected with people and my heritage and created new memories.”
Growing up with an Australian mother and a Polynesian father, Sammy always felt a disconnect with his Polynesian side, he says, “I looked more polynesian but that was the extent of my knowledge, until one day a friend of mine gave me an album that basically opened me up to a whole world of music and culture I never knew. The album was Gratitude by Fiji.” Inspired by his Polynesian heritage, Sammy used old Polynesian folklore from Sina and the Eel (Samoa), Pana of the reef (Maori), Hinemoa & Tutanekai (Maori) and many others to tell the stories through song. Sammy says, “For me the writing process is all about being in the right space and being open to whatever is speaking to my soul at that time.”
Standout tracks on Moonlight Lovers include the lovely first song “Fools,” Sammy’s smooth voice serenades over a calming island strum in the background. The title track of the album, “Moonlight Lovers” is an alluring duet with Etana about falling deeply in love. Sammy croons “You and I, until the sun goes down again.” “Getting Over You” will get listeners hips’ swinging to the dubby and catchy song about a trying to get over a long lost love, featuring Etana and NomaD.
Sammy has remained busy releasing a constant influx of music since his breakthrough self-titled 2014 EP, which peaked at #3 on the Billboard Reggae Charts. He has since seen an organic growth as a result of his hard work and dedication to his craft, working as a music therapist social worker to a touring soul artist thanks in part to his first viral video “Don’t Say Goodbye.” Since his debut, Sammy Johnson has since enjoyed multiple sold-out performances and large festival appearances, and released his critically acclaimed EP ‘Sleepwalker’ earlier this year. With the release of his new soulful EP Moonlight Lovers, Sammy Johnson is finding his way onto the radars of many.