DJ Johnnie Ernest on How Streaming Services Help Independent Artists Stay Afloat


Delhi-based DJ and Music Producer Johnnie Ernest is quite popular in the independent music scene for his genre defying sound. With popular tracks like Vans on My Feet, Summer 45 and Plokta under his belt, the artist is gearing up for his next ‘life-changing’ project.

For his first track of 2021, Johnnie has collaborated with Zee Music Company. Even though the name of his highly-anticipated track hasn’t been announced yet, the DJ has been sharing glimpses and hints on his social media.

In a free-wheeling chat with News18, Johnnie said, “I did not expect what I would produce when I first sat in the studio, so it was basically an unexpected project. When I produced the melodies in the studio it was beyond my expectations. We shot the music video accordingly in Manali in the super-cold temperature in December. We worked on this project for a year so that it becomes my best project till now. I’m fortunate enough that the label signed this project and they really liked it and have great plans to promote it.

“To my fans, I would like to say that the track is going to be totally different, which is always my agenda when I set out to produce something. I hope that they will like this song. I acted a little bit in the video as well. The lead actor is Kunal Thakur from the movie Kabir Singh. My co-producers and I have a lot of hope that people are going to love this one. It is a very emotional song, with the video as well as my beats.”

Johnnie’s recent achievement is his remix of Krewella and Nucleya’s hit song Good On You. When asked how this collaboration came to be, he said, “I met Krewella in Hyderabad last year and recently they released a track with Nucleya called Good On You. I made a remix for this. Nucleya really liked the production quality of my remix, but his taste is different from mine. But one of the members from Krewella, Jasmine (Yousaf) really took to the remix quality and style and their manager asked me to send them the remix. Since the slot was already filled to release this as an official remix, they told me that they will play my remix in all of the sets of their songs. It is a very big thing if they play my song in the big stages.”

The DJ opened up about his musical journey that started when he was a teenager as he played the drums in his church. However, his fascination with Electronic Dance Music started when he was in standard 12, when he first visited a club. He went back again and again and started learning the art online and through softwares like Virtual DJ. “That was the reason, that I got detained in my twelfth standard. It is a proud moment for me to share this because I never regretted that I got detained. I redid my 12th and then did Mechanical Engineering because it was my father’s dream and I did it for him. After my engineering, I pursued my passion one hundred percent into my profession,” he revealed.

Taking us through his professional career, he said, “The first track I released, Vans on My Feet, was a very big thing for me. And my first music video Summer 45 are my favourites. My first track was very special for me and it was released on the international label EDM House Network where a lot of top DJs around the world, who played in Tomorrowland Festival and others, released their music. In fact, Afrojack also released his music on the same label a long time back. It was a very emotional moment for me.

“The music video, which I released for my second track Summer 45, was the first for me and I shot it on an international level again in Bali and Singapore. The first music video that I made of my career was on an international level and hence that was emotional for me. I’m still so happy that my first track happened, because it was a dream that I had seen many years ago and they finally manifested. My music video premiered worldwide on television and my parents were so happy. They still don’t understand what I do, but they are proud somewhere,” he said.

Recently, a lot of artists have talked about a couple of big labels dominating the music industry and independent artists not getting due. During the Covid-19 crisis, a lot of artists have struggled to stay afloat. However, Johnnie despite facing a personal tragedy, chose to be optimistic about the music scene. “I personally believe, if something doesn’t happen at the first or second go, it doesn’t mean that it will never happen. It will definitely happen one day. EDM House Network was the first label to launch my song, but it was not like I only made one song before it. I tried to send a lot of songs to a lot of places but I never got a reply. It also happens, today, when I send my songs to big labels. I sent my songs to Martin Garrix, who was the number one DJ in the world. If I send my songs to David Guetta, I never get a reply. But sometimes, I get replies on Instagram, which is another big thing for me. But I want to convey this to everyone, that it will happen.

“For the monetary thing, there are platforms like Spotify, they give producers a beautiful chance to earn money by streams. Twitch, is another platform where you can stream your DJ sets and your music and you can make money by it. Globally, things are happening, but we should keep consistently making the efforts to grow as we want to. There are platforms for independent artists, thanks to the people who are thinking about it, and organisations. But still, the dream which is there, we should keep working for it,” he said.

“Things are growing faster than before. Clubs are booming after the lockdown. They are packed six days a week in Delhi, where I work. When people have to stay at home due to the Coronavirus, musicians and producers are promoting their music online and earning money through these great platforms,” he further added.

Finally, what does the future look like for the artist? “I am already working on a couple of tracks. I love music which is more energetic but I never decide the genre of music. It can be Electronic, Trap or Mainstream Bollywood. I have realised this over a couple of years, in India if I have to grow, it has to be with music in my mother tongue, that is Hindi music. So yes, in my future projects, there is one song which will be in Hindi and I will release the songs by the end of this year. It is a surprise for everybody, and I am sure that it will be my life-changing song. I expect this from all of my projects. I have a couple of songs, which is my agenda which is in 12 months, I will deliver some beautiful songs to my audience. Consistency in releasing music is one of my goals for this year,” he signed off.


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