Awards & Recognitions
* Miss Black Minnesota USA Pageant Award winner (1976)
* Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Cleveland (OH), as lead singer of Lipps Inc.
* MN Music Hall of Fame inductee, as lead singer of Lipps Inc.
* Received Platinum in US, Double Platinum in Canada, Gold in France & Germany, Silver in UK, among others, as lead singer of Funkytown
* Three Billboard Music Awards, as lead singer of Lipps Inc. (1980)
* Grammy Award winner, as member of Sounds of Blackness (1991, 1993, 1998)
Cynthia Johnson is an African American singer, songwriter, saxophonist, producer and actress, whose international career took off with the worldwide smash-hit Funkytown. Her unmistakable vocal talent has brought her widespread recognition across the globe and has been featured in many successfull movies, TV shows 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. In 1972, while singing at a funeral one afternoon, Johnson was approached to join the popular Minneapolis band “FlyteTyme" as their lead singer. Johnson remained the lead vocalist and saxophone player of the group for seven years and also wrote several of the group´s songs. Flyte Tyme´s talented cast of musicians included Terry Lewis on bass (multi Grammy winner), Jellybean Johnson on drums (winner of over 20 music awards), Tony Johnson on guitar, Monte Moir on keyboards and David Eiland on saxophone.
Johnson 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 other bands.
After college Johnson 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 Johnson became well-known as the lead singer of the band Lipps, Inc. with the 1980’s smash-hit “Funkytown”. Her unmistakable lead vocals sent Funkytown straight to #1 in 28 countries around the world winning Double-Platinum within less than a year after its release.
The song sold over 35 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, featured in over 20 movies such as "Shrek 2", "Disaster Movie", "History of the world, Part 1", "Contact", or "Bain Candy", and used in over 100 TV programs, such as "Sabrina the Teenage Witch", "South Park..", "Friends..", "Futurama..", etc. as well as in numerous video games. The song could also be heard at various major sporting events such as the Opening Ceremonies of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. Her voice has also been selected for advertising campaigns of large corporations like Volkswagen, FedEx Kinko's, Nissan, Areva Energy, or McDonalds.
Other hits of Lipps, Inc. included "Rock It", "How Long" or "Designer Music". In total Johnson recorded three albums under the Lipps, Inc. name during the 80’s.
Johnson went on working with many artists from Maceo Parker to Aretha Franklin, with Grammy winning producers such as Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, or with record labels such as Motown. She has performed for Presidents, is the voice behind many brand products (e.g. Martha Speaks or Cocoa Pops), and worked in several theatre productions. As a regular member of the Hey City Theater’s “Beehive” Cast, Johnson portrayed the Tina Turner character for which she received many 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 is also a member of the three time Grammy Award winning choir Sounds of Blackness.
Johnson has been 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 the 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 2012 by Megabien Entertainment. All of the earlier Funkytown music videos show other women using her original recording without her authorization; Cynthia Johnson, the true Miss Funkytown, does not appear in any of such earlier videos.
On December 15th, 2013, her debut solo album "All That I Am" was released on the label Megabien Music. This very unique album sums up a lifetime of vocal artistry on a very personal level, showing her talents as singer and songwriter, but also as a producer. The album features the best studio and session musicians from her home Minnesota. Enjoying the work of "All That I Am", Johnson has already started to work on a new album that will be produced by executive producer Hans W. Stachowiak; release is expected in 2015.
Since 2012, Cynthia Johnson is under exclusive management with Megabien Entertainment.
To contact Cynthia Johnson, for booking or other inquiries, please use the contact form.