Cynthia Johnson is an American singer, songwriter, saxophonist, producer and actress, whose international career took off with the smash-hit Funkytown. Her unmistakable vocal talent has brought her widespread recognition across the globe and has been featured in many successfull movies and advertising campaigns of large multinational companies.
Johnson was born into a musical family in Saint Paul, Minnesota, her father being a saxophone player and her mother a choir director. No wonder Johnson began singing as a child at her family church and started playing the saxophone in fourth grade.
While attending Jr. High School, Johnson formed a band with her sisters and sang at a variety of clubs and events. While singing at a funeral one afternoon, Johnson was approached to join the popular Minneapolis band “Flyte Tyme" as the lead singer. Flyte Tyme´s musicians were Terry Lewis on bass, Jellybean Johnson on drums, Tony Johnson on guitar, Monte Moir on keyboards, and David Eiland on Saxophone. Cynthia was the lead vocalist and saxophone player with the group for 7 years.
Cynthia later graduated from High School and eventually used both her vocal and saxophone skills to win the 1976 Miss Black Minnesota USA pageant title. Johnson attended the University of Minnesota in Morris, where she sang in the choir and performed with numerous bands.
After college Cynthia continued to perform with Flyte Tyme for a brief time; shortly after she had left Prince eventually changed Flyte Tyme to "The Time" with Morris Day on vocals. It didn´t take long and Cynthia became well-known as the lead singer of Lipps Inc. and the 1980’s smash-hit “Funkytown”. Her unmistakable lead vocals sent Funkytown straight to #1 in 28 countries around the world.
The song sold over 30 million copies worldwide and continues to be a worldwide favorite. It is re-released on a regular basis as part of retrospective albums and hit collections and was featured in several movies such as "Shrek 2", "Disaster Movie", "History of the world, Part 1", "Alvin and the Chipmunks", "Bain Candy", amongst others, as well as in many TV shows, such as "Sabrina the teenage Witch", "South Park..", "Friends..", "Futurama..", VH-1, etc. The song was also used for advertising campaigns by Volkswagen, Martha Speaks, FedEx Kinko's, Nissan Altima, Areva Energy, Cocoa Pops, among many others. After the success of Funkytown, Cynthia went on to record three albums with Lipps Inc. during the 80’s.
Johnson continued working with many artists throughout her career from Maceo Parker to Aretha Franklin. She has performed for Presidents, is the voice behind many brand products, and worked in several theatre productions. As a regular member of Hey City Theater’s “Beehive” Cast, Cynthia portrayed the Tina Turner character and received rave reviews. And when Tina Turner herself was unable to make a scheduled engagement for Target Corporation, Johnson was invited to perform in her place.
Cynthia Johnson became a member of the Grammy Award winning choir Sounds of Blackness and produced her solo album "All that I Am" featuring the best studio musicians from Minneapolis and published on the label Megabien Music.
Johnson is currently contracted by the Minneapolis based production company Megabien Entertainment to host the international television series "Funkytown" that shows the music and cultural scene of several US-cities (see www.funkytown.us). The first episode of TV show aired all over Europe in May 2013. Surprisingly enough, the first music video of the song "Funkytown" ever produced with Cynthia Johnson was produced as part of this TV show in Minneapolis in 2012 by Megabien Entertainment and its German co-producer Radio Bremen. All of the earlier Funkytown music videos show other women dancing to the song; Cynthia Johnson, the main vocalist, does not appear in any of such earlier videos.
Since 2012 Cynthia Johnson is under exclusive management with Megabien Entertainment. On December 15th, 2013, her new solo album "All That I Am" was released on the Megabien Music label. This very unique album sums up a lifetime of vocal artistry, showing her talents as singer and songwriter, but also as a producer. Enjoying the work of "All That I Am", Johnson has already started to work on a new album that will be produced by Mark Howard and executive producer Hans W. Stachowiak; release is expected in 2014.
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