GHOST IN MY LIFE
Johnny Otto has the soul of a 50's musical icon reborn as a modern singer/songwriter. His art is stripping music to its barest essentials: a few chords, simple but powerful lyrics, and a whimsical, haunting voice. He draws his inspiration from all styles of music including THE VIOLENT FEMMES, JOHNNY CASH, PJ HARVEY, CHRIS ISAAC, ROY ORBISON, LOU REED, THE SHINS, IGGY POP, AND DAVID BOWIE.
He's been compaired to ROY ORBISON, JARVIS COCKER, TOWNES VAN ZANDT, DAVID BOWIE, AND BUDDY HOLLY.
His debut album "GHOST IN MY LIFE" , recorded in his home studio with two mics and an acoustic guitar, is a tribute to long-time friend and fellow singer/songwriter SHIRLEY LEVI, the major force in helping bring music back into his life.
"It took a really strong woman with a really talented gift to come into my life and make me want to make music again", he says of Shirley's inspiration. Their friendship culminates with the release of both of their debut albums in the same year. Her album "BREAK FREE" in the spring and his album in the summer.
"Johnny Otto exposes the purity of expression. Honesty of true love and friendship with the pedals and the thorns. These songs give me chills. Beautiful melodies with honest vulnerability. Dreamy and romantic. Deep and meaningful. You may resemble elements of other artists but you are so very unique and timeless just as you are. This album is just that. Unique and timeless. So is our story. Congradulations for letting your voice free. It has far to travel." - Shirley Levi
"Alright...a brooding strummer with a thoughtful sensitive streak, in live performance shot through with the occasional deadpan come-on ... Seems to me to be sort of like a late night/early morning confession session, twangy and intimate, this reminds me of the great observant bespectacled singers of the pantheon...marshall crenshaw, jarvis cocker...music this warm and romantic in times this cold might be the mark of a true pervert....strum on...." - Michael Morrison
GHOST IN MY LIFE is a collection of nine songs written over the period of approximately four years. Every song was written, performed and recorded by Johnny in his home studio, BIONIC MUSIC LAB, which he built specifically to produce his own material and material of friends who he admires.
Johnny has resided in Hollywood since 1990. He spent his youth in Canada with his family where he attended private Catholic schools and eventually went to film school at the local university. That is when he abruptly gave up music to concentrate on film. "I had nothing to write about at the time. No inspiration. No great passion in my life. So I gave it up". That was 1987.
Twelve years would pass before Johnny picked up a guitar again and a few more before he'd sing his first song ever. "I never thought of myself as a singer/songwriter. I was a bass player". Johnny studied bass guitar when he was a teenager with GORDIE JOHNSON of BIG SUGAR fame then went on to play in several unsuccessful cover bands in Canada. It wasn't until he moved to California and met Shirley Levi that he began writing songs and singing. "She's given me the greatest gift of all...a voice".
Johnny is currently preparing to play around the Los Angeles area in support of GHOST IN MY LIFE and writing songs for his next album.