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For Southern folk-rock duo Johnnyswim, it all starts with chemistry. Even before they settled into playing during a recent swing by our pad, Amanda Sudano and Abner Ramirez seemed like the type of lovebirds who feel no shame in shouting their affection for one another from the rooftops. Between takes the elegant couple's flirtatious way was adorable. With the cameras rolling, their connection became more powerful; the heartbeat pulse that pumps anthemic bouts of folk, r&b, pop, and blues. We think our own Tayi Sanusi said it best when she recently declared, "It's like watching fireworks exploding into a force field of unbridled lust for life."

Such an observation was apparently an astute one. Seems Sudano and Ramirez are very aware of how they want to live their lives. "We're going to chase our dream, we're going to do what we believe in our hearts we were put on this earth to do, grab life with both hands and not let go," Ramirez told us during the session. Playing three songs from their stellar new album Diamonds, Johnnyswim offer up an addictive reminder of what pure, unbridled joy looks and sounds like in this charming new session. Quite simply, they are one of the finest groups to ever waltz through our doors. Have a look at this dandy and be a peach and pick up their new album Diamonds, would you?

Transcript

In the wake of every heartache In the depth of every fear
There were diamonds, diamonds Waitin' to break out of here
Don't you think I hear the whispers
Those subtle lies, those angry pleas
They're just demons, demons
Wishin' they were free like me
We're the fire from the sun
We're the light When the day is done
We are the brave The chosen ones
We're the diamonds, diamonds
Risin' up out the dust O-oh!
Risin' about the dust O-oh!
Risin' about the dust O-oh!
Risin' about the dust O-oh!
All your curses will surrender
Everyday we work, we kneel
They're just mountains, mountains
About to turn into fields Hey!
We're the fire from sun
We're the light when the day is done
We are the brave
We're the chosen ones
We're the diamonds, diamonds
Risin' about the dust O-oh!
Risin' out the dust O-oh!
Risin' about the dust O-oh!
Risin' out the dust O-oh!
Ooh, o-ooh, o-wooh, a-wah-oh
Ooh, o-ooh, o-wooh, a-wah-oh
You've taken down So many others
Oh, but you'll know my name when you see
In these ashes I'm stronger still
You will learn to fear my pain
Yeah, you will Hey!
You've taken down So many others
Oh, but you'll know my name when you see
In this ashes I'm stronger still
You will learn to fear my pain Yeah, you will
You will learn to fear my pain
Yeah, you will Yeah, you will
Yeah, you will
We're the fire
From the sun We're the light
When the day is done
We are the brave
We're the chosen ones
We're the diamonds, diamonds
We're the diamonds, diamonds
We are the diamonds
We're the diamonds, diamonds We're the diamonds, diamonds
Risin' about the dust O-oh!
Risin' out the dust O-oh!
Risin' about the dust O-oh!
Risin' out the dust O-oh!
O-oh! Risin' up out the dust
O-oh! Risin' out the dust
O-oh! Risin', risin', risin'
O-oh!
- "Diamonds" is the title track to the record and it kinda came from getting some less than kind feedback from people that we're close to and so we were kind of annoyed actually with certain people and so, we wrote it as kind of like this therapeutic but also you know, you can go suck it kind of song you know.
And so, that was kind of started as and then we went to St.
Jude Children's Hospital and sang for the kids there.
- And it was the first time we ever performed that song live, was at St.
Jude Children's Hospital for 250 kids there.
- And all of a sudden we're like, Oh, this song can do more than just tell somebody to suck it you know, it can also you know it was making mothers cry as we were singing it and all of a sudden it kind of like totally changed in us you know, even when we think about when we sing it.
- Well, definitely the song was written as a declaration that whatever happens, whatever you, it doesn't matter what you say to me, it doesn't matter what goes on around me, we're gonna chase our dreams, we're gonna do what we believe in our hearts, what we're put us on earth to do, grab life with both hands and not let go and we wrote it out of, you know, frustration a little bit but then seeing this kids as we sang it, we realized there's more useful things in which to put that hope towards.
- Right.
- The album "Diamonds" is a journey with us for about 3 years.
We wrote a couple of EPs.
released a couple of EPs in the last 3 years but "Diamonds" is the journey of lost, of really the beginning of a career of it, not just something we do on the side of serving coffees at Starbucks but our livelihood now.
The highs, the lows and I think that's why, even as Amanda was saying.
We took a lot of time on the sequence of the album, the song of the album.
I wouldn't say it's a diary but it's as honest as we can be, it's, each song is a song we had to write.
There's nothing on it that we wrote as a single or that we wrote because radio would like it or because of somebody else or because our label told us we need a song like this or that.
They're either cathartic or therapeutic for us, as a couple or as individuals Party 'round the corner
Down by the canyon I met a man who lost his way
He said I'm Sopon, the son of a sailor
He never showed me his face My daddy's gone
And my momma met her maker
Oh, to hell with that place
So, I said
Quit your talking, your sideways walking
Time to find another path to take All right, all right
Quit your whining
Blood-shot cryin' Fakin' like you're dyin'
Never pays
Just go home
Boy I need you some home Yeah, you do
I said you need you some home Her name is Peggy Sue
And her daddy hang the moon In her eyes, he could do no wrong
But then he started drinking
Like there's a message in the bottle
And d-d-daddy's painting Peggy black and blue
She closes her eyes through the hero's demise
Holds to her hope beyond the sky
Oh, She takes a breath A weight comes off her chest
She finds a way to weather through the storm
She cried out home
Boy I need me some home Yeah, I do
Said, I need me some home Found myself on a train
To California At 25 years of age
Set beside me was a lovely rose wanderer
Fancy Two's always better, they say
So we made our plans
Gave me a hand We ain't got no time
for looking back Oh, I was bruised and beaten
Lost for many reasons Only love will make you understand
Home. Well, I love me some home
Yeah, I do
Said, I love me some home
We're all bruised and beaten Lost on account of many reasons
Only love will make you understand
Ooooooooooooooooooh Well I love me some home
Said I love me some home
Love me some home, yeah
Ooh-wooh-ooooh, yeah
- "Home", we wrote with a dear friend of ours "Diamonds" and "Home" and "Falling For Me", no.
- Yeah.
- All three? - Yeah, all three.
- All three songs we wrote with a co-writer, a dear friend of ours named Britten Newbill and Home was the first song we ever wrote with Britten.
And it was after a long day of trying to write something really cool and it's interesting, the first time you write with somebody like you're trying to figure out what the angle is where do we, where do our tastes like kind of unite, what can we create?, where do we make each other better? And so, we kinda spend a day kinda limping through song approaches and we kinda just stopped and I'm like "Listen let's just do something for fun just so we say we wrote a song today" and so, we just sat down and almost stream of consciousness wrote this song.
And some of the lyrics make me question "What actually is going on in our heads?" collectively, I guess.
- And I think the one fun thing that happens sometimes when Abner's in the mood to just write a song and he's like, "I just want to get something out" sometimes, he kind of, he will start singing but he won't make words.
and we'll translate because almost 90% of the time like, "Did you just say this" and he'll be like "I don't think I said anything" but you just said this and that was good, we're writing it down, we're gonna keep it.
- I call it syllabic writing, I like the way these sounds and syllables, I need this many syllables.
- Yeah.
- And I need something that ends with an "aw" sound.
- Yeah, and we then just kind of put it together but it was fun.
- A lot of the songs you take the most pride in, for instance "Falling For Me" that we sang today.
Took 4 years to write, maybe more.
I think it might have taken 6 years to write because I wrote the bridge to that one we were broken up, when we were dating and had broken up for a minute.
I went home and wrote that bridge and always wanted to write a song kind of around it and it never worked until we were making this record, making this album; and we wrote the whole song, we've finished the song.
So, sometimes it's a labor love like you believe in line or you believe in a melody, or maybe a chord structure and it takes time.
I'm a diamond
In the rough and wild
You're a heart that's just too wild and free
I am looking for a hand to hold me
You're just looking for a chance to bring me to my knees
Oh some may say you're mad to chase a heart locked away
On its own soul-less enemy
There ain't no thing in this world
You'd like to be
Less than a wounded soul like me
Thats what you'll get Falling for me
Oh I'm a mountain
Only you can move me
All my stones are shapened by your stream
But I'm just a girl Ain't never been a savior
I'm just a man here waiting
For the one I'd hope you'd be Some may say
You're mad to chase a heart locked away
On its own soul-less enemy
There ain't no thing in this world
You'd like to be less than a wounded soul like me
Thats what you'll get Falling for me
Oooh, o-oooh
Get out of my heart
Get out of my mind Get out of my dreams
Get out of my sight You might've known doubt
You might've known fear You might've known love
But you never knew me
Get out of my heart
Get out of my mind Get out of my dreams
Get out of my sight You might've known doubt
You might've known fear You might've known love
But you never knew me
No, you never knew me Oh, you never knew me
You might've known love
But you don't know me
Oh some may say
you're mad to chase a heart locked away On its own soul-less enemy
There ain't nothing in this world
You'd like to be
Less than a wounded soul like me
That's what you'll get falling for me

Artist Bio

Los Angeles-based duo Johnnyswim has been selected as VH1s first-ever "You Oughta Know +" artist. The husband and wife team will receive long-term video support for their single "Heart Beats" and participate in VH1s Creative Music Integration initiative, where their music will be placed into a selection of VH1 programs. The duo will also be highlighted in custom on-air promotional spots, included in the "Top 20 Video Countdown" and numerous other VH1 outlets. Visit http://www.vh1.com/music/you_oughta_know/johnnyswim/main.jhtml for more information.

Heart Beats, the highly anticipated new music from Johnnyswim, is available now on the independent label Big Picnic Records. The 6-song EP, which is currently #8 on iTunes New Artist Chart, follows the couples first release Home, Vol. 1 (2008) that garnered critical praise from The Tennessean explaining they "complement each other in both tone and aesthetic." Furthermore, the twosome was invited to perform on the "Today Show" stage in Charleston to promote the citys Spoleto Festival. See the performance here: http://on.today.com/13TnNSZ. To support the release, the pair performed at Bonnaroo and will continue to tour throughout the summer. See below for details.

Johnnyswim is Amanda Sudano and Abner Ramirez. Sudano was exposed to music at a young age with musicians as parents, while Ramirez studied music at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in his native Jacksonville, Florida. Now based in Los Angeles, by way of Nashville, the two began writing and singing together in 2006 with similar influences of folk, soul, and rock. Of the new music Ramirez notes, "We wanted to honor some of the voices that have helped us find our own. Not just musically. A lot of the lyrical content was inspired by words and stories of ones we love. From 'Adelina, a song about the life of my mother, to 'Heart Beats, written during the time when Amanda lost her ownwe hope that every moment on this EP is colored with honesty and authenticity."

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