We Speak To Scott Albert Johnson And Find Out He Is Anything But ‘Invisible’

To Scott Albert Johnson, music is life, and we spoke with him about this, his new single, ‘Invisible‘, and what’s coming up for him in the future.

What inspired you to write a song based on the message in ‘Invisible’?

I started writing “Invisible” in 2021, in the middle of the pandemic and also in the aftermath of the January 6th events at the U.S. Capitol. The world was and remains in a state of great upheaval and (I believe) transition.  I also had been dealing with some chronic health issues that, while ultimately not life-threatening, were definitely life-changing. All of this contributed to a deep sense of unease about the future, which I think most people right now are feeling to some extent. I wanted to write a song that captured the feeling of facing fear and uncertainty with resolve, because that’s really the only option we have. I wanted it to convey a sense of hope despite the very real threats that seem to lie ahead. You’ve got to try to find the light in the darkness.

Are your own life events reflective in Invisible’?

Yes, in the sense that I was facing some physical challenges while also dealing with the same events in the world that we all are facing. I wanted the story to be told through one person’s attempt to grapple with the “emptiness that’s right in front of me.” 

What do you think your audience will learn from ‘Invisible?

I’m not really trying to “teach” anyone anything because I don’t think of my songwriting in exactly that way. To paraphrase one of my musical and songwriting heroes, Neil Peart… I feel like everyone else is as smart as I am, and just want to tell a story that’s relatable to those who take the time to listen and to think about the lyrics. But I do hope that “Invisible” captures the sort of foreboding that seems to be the background noise of our lives right now, and that it also conveys a path forward.

What was your favorite and least favorite part of production for ‘Invisible’?

My favorite and least favorite parts are probably the same: I really did more of the work on this production than anything I’ve ever done before. I played or programmed all of the instruments except the drums (which are played by one of my oldest friends and collaborators, Kenny Graeber), and I did all the singing except for one backing vocal track by my son, Charlie Johnson. I also engineered, mixed, and mastered the track, and I directed and edited the video (aided again by my son Charlie, who shot all the footage of me). 

It was very empowering to really take command of the song in a “frictionless” creative environment, where I didn’t have to translate my intentions to other performers or engineers (as much as I do enjoy that kind of collaboration). But it was also very challenging, because it ended up being a very dense production that took a LONG time to get the way I wanted. I worked on the track for nearly three years, and there were definitely more than a few moments of frustration.  I’m ultimately very proud of it, but I also expect that my next single will be less complicated!

Who influenced you to become a musical artist?

I am probably most influenced by artists who are what I sometimes call “triple threats,” in that they (a) sing, (b) play at least one instrument well, and (c) write interesting and thought-provoking lyrics. People like Peter Gabriel, Stevie Wonder, Mark Knopfler, Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone, Bruce Hornsby, and Daniel Lanois, as well as bands like the Police, Rush, Radiohead, old-school Living Colour, and Tears for Fears have had a big impact on how I came to see my role as an artist. But really, I like a very diverse range of music, and sometimes what inspires me just depends on the day and my mood. I love the New Mastersounds, and I’ve also been getting into The National and The War On Drugs. And yes, I dig Taylor Swift, and not just because my 15-year-old daughter is a Swifty (although that certainly helped!).

Who helped you make the ‘Invisible’ music video possible?

I was assisted especially by my son Charlie, who has a great visual sensibility and is also a really talented young filmmaker and actor. My wife, Susan Margaret Barrett, also helped with some of the shooting (the beach footage) and has always served as a great sounding board for my music and my rock of support in general.

What do you hope comes next for you and your artistry?

I just want to keep making my own music and having as many people hear it as possible. Anything beyond that is, as they say, gravy. I am very fortunate to be able to play music and sing, and to have the type of mind that wants/needs/is able to put stories into words. They say you shouldn’t be an artist of any kind unless you really can’t live without it, and I definitely fall into that category. It’s a blessing and a curse, but mostly a blessing.

What has been the biggest surprise during your time as an artist?

I would say that it would have to be the general transformation of the music business that has been brought about by digital technology.  There have been parts of this that are negative, especially in the sense that it is very, very difficult to sell recordings anymore.  But there are other new opportunities, including the ability to make really, really good productions for a fraction of the costs that were once involved. There are fewer gatekeepers, and I’m the kind of person who likes that kind of freedom. The challenge in this new era is to find an artistic path that’s sustainable over the long term. 

But I really can’t complain, because I would have to say that I’m happier with the role that music and creativity play in my life than I’ve ever been, with the possible exception of those early days in high school when I was first playing bass guitar and singing in a band. It’s hard to duplicate that kind of naive, thrilling excitement… but in a way, that feeling has never really left me, either. Music is life.

You can watch the music video for ‘Invisible’ below, and find out more about Scott Albert Johnson and his music online on his official websiteYouTubeFacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Scott Albert Johnson - "Invisible" (Official Music Video)

About the author

Lisa has been writing for over 20 years, starting as the entertainment editor on her university newspaper. Since then she's written for Popwrapped, Maximum Pop, Celebmix, and ListenOnRepeat.

Lisa loves all good music, with particular fondness for Jedward and David Bowie. She's interviewed Edward Grimes (Jedward), Kevin Godley, Trevor Horn, Paul Young, Peter Cox (Go West), Brendan B Brown (Wheatus), Bruce Foxton (The Jam), among many many more. Lisa is also available for freelance writing - please email lisa@essentiallypop.com