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It marked both a turning point and the start of a new chapter.
After amassing over 150 million total streams within three years, garnering acclaim from the likes of Paper, and taking up residence in the hearts of countless fans worldwide, Toronto-born and Los Angeles-based Juno Award-nominated singer and songwriter Johnny Orlando fully realized the scope of the dynamic signature style he first hinted at in 2015. Emanating confidence and charisma over danceable electronic grooves and a subtle hip-hop bounce, he levels up his take on pop with the 2019 Teenage Fever EP [Universal Music Canada].
Following nearly a year in the studio, he emerges with his first proper statement.
“The songs speak to the same style and characteristics throughout,” he explains. “It’s a collection of my thoughts and experiences as a teenager. I’m really looking back on the big things that shaped me. Musically, I wanted to bring pop lyrics and melodies to R&B and hip-hop beats. This is really what I always aimed to do.”
He quietly made strides towards establishing this identity by way of numerous international hits. 2018’s “What If” [feat. Mackenzie Ziegler] clocked 109 million-plus global streams and over 21 million music video views in under twelve months, captured #1 on the musical.ly Global Song Chart, and landed on the Spotify Viral 50 in 33 countries. He received praise from Billboard, Variety, Teen Vogue, Just Jared Jr., Tiger Beat, and more in addition to performing at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Along the way, he garnered a nomination for “Breakthrough Artist of the Year” at the 2019 JUNO Awards as well as nods at the Kids’ Choice Awards, iHeart Much Music Video Awards, and Teen Choice Awards.
Meanwhile, his nostalgic follow-up single “Last Summer” quickly vaulted past 17 million streams and set the stage for Teenage Fever. Inspired by everything from Travis Scott and J. Cole to Pink Sweat$, he carefully shaped a singular sound highlighted by impressive vocals, unshakable hooks, and lyrical honesty. Once again co-writing with his sister Darian (a tradition dating back to the viral video that launched him to stardom in 2011), he got personal this time around…
“Every song is a reflection of how I’m actually feeling,” he elaborates. “I’m telling people about me.”
The up-tempo first single “Sleep” awakens from finger-snaps and lush piano into a galloping dancefloor-ready chant, “Don’t wanna fall asleep, cuz being with you right now is better than our dreams.”
“It’s really where I want to take my sound,” he goes on. “It doesn’t fit one genre. The concept is you want to stay awake as long as you can with this person, because being awake together is better than whatever could possibly happen in a dream.”
Elsewhere on the EP, “Deep Down” illuminates his expansive range over slick in-the-box orchestration and an unpredictable rhythm.
“‘Deep Down’ is special,” he admits. “It’s about a girl fronting how she’s moved on, but you know she hasn’t. Deep down, she still has feelings for you. She’s scared though.”
In the end, Teenage Fever represents a leap forward for Johnny as he closes in on mainstream pop stardom and makes a major connection in the process.
“Growing up, I felt like nobody experienced the same things as me,” he leaves off. “I wanted to show everyone we all really go through it. If I can make listeners feel a little happier or more comfortable, I’ve accomplished my mission.”
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