The Nash New Artist Interview – Rayne Johnson

Hailing from the state of Ohio, where he currently continues to reside, country singer Rayne Johnson lives a double life. He still maintains his job as a railroad mechanic while taking trips to Nashville to pursue his music career. He worked on the railroad since he was young, so to him, the job is just second nature. “Basically my life is railroad, music, and family,” he tells us. “I love it. It’s always been good to me.”

Johnson grew up with two parents who exposed him to very different sides of the music spectrum. His mom spun classics like Elvis and Frank Sinatra and his dad introduced him to the classic country greats. “My dad drove a water truck, he hauled water for people who didn’t have city water, and usually, driving around with him we’d have the classic country station on,” he explains. 

When he got old enough to discover his own music taste, he discovered a passion for R&B music and goes on to acknowledge a love for the music group Boyz II Men. When describing his signature sound he says, “Now, I have the soulfulness of all the R&B people, but then the storytelling of country music.” The country genre spans a wide umbrella with little sub-genres underneath it and Johnson looks to continue pushing boundaries.

Before pursuing a solo career, Johnson was in a Christian-rock group and a country cover band called Pistol Holler where he first experienced and became accustomed to the demanding tour life. Those two groups were his stepping stones and made him into the charismatic performer he is today.

Going on a whim, Johnson speaks of the very first gig he played with his Pistol Holler. The drummer in the group’s snare head broke and he had to entertain the crowd while the mess was transpiring. “It was a trainwreck. I was bringing people up and having them tell jokes. It was the craziest thing,” he exclaims while laughing. “Whether it’s a good experience or a bad experience, it’s been preparation for the situations I get put in now, ya know?”

Rayne Johnson

Photo by Wales Toney

Johnson is currently gearing up for his new EP, Love Drunk or Lonely that is set to come out on October 6th. It is available for pre-order now. After the success of his 2019 single, “Front Seat” which has amassed millions of streams, Johnson looks to give more variety with the new selection of songs speaking to the more personal process of making the new project compared to his debut, self-titled EP that came out in 2020. “I got to fish through a lot of good songs and pick some cool stuff that I thought fit me well and told stories that were similar to stories that I had in my life,” he tells us.

One of his pre-release singles, “Country Up” is a pure party anthem with high-energy and bro-country influences. Johson describes the single as the “runt of the group” and was struck by the energy it radiated and pictured it as the perfect pump-up-the-crowd jam. 

The title track for the EP was released last Friday and it’s a complete 360 from “Country Up.” It combines the classic country narrative with the soulfulness that Johnson prides himself on. When Johnson first heard the song written by Justin Weaver, Marti Lynn Dodson, and Robert Patrick Hamrick, he knew it was destined to be on his project. “It’s not a crazy, fun song that gets the crowd pumped up, but it’s a song, that for me, you can identify with. Almost everyone can,” he says enthusiastically. “Love Drunk or Lonely” describes the feeling of not knowing where you stand in a relationship. In the chorus, he sings, “Three a.m. you call / Don’t know what you want / But I can be what you need / Whether you’re in love, drunk, or lonely.”

“I’m excited about this EP because it’s a continuation,” he explains. He goes on by speaking passionately about his growing fanbase that he’s been able to organically grow over the past few years and is most excited to hear their responses to the new music.“I want people to learn more about me. That’s really what I want the EP to be. Just, ‘Hey, I want you guys to get to see the journey and get to grow with me as I grow as an artist.”

To keep up with Johnson, follow him on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and Twitter.

To hear more of country music’s best new releases, head to our Playlists Page and follow The Nash New Releases playlist on Spotify. For the latest in country music news follow The Nash News on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok, and don’t miss our brand new newsletter!

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