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Johnny Gates Finds Introspective Healing In Heartache In Latest Single "Bad Guy"

The emerging artist does some soul-searching amidst a breakup in this painfully relatable new single.

Seamlessly blending a vivid storyline with a more indie feel, Gates, who grew up in punk bands, sets his goals high. Aiming to bring together the indie scene of Nashville's historic East Nashville neighborhood, Johnny is leading the charge to showcase that no matter where in Music City you are, the creativity flows.

"I came up playing in punk rock bands as a teenager, and then all of a sudden, one day, I fell in love with country music. I can’t even really describe it, but after shifting to start making country music, I heard Taylor Swift’s first single, Tim McGraw, come on the radio one night, and a lightbulb went off," Johnny shared of his journey.

Pulling a story straight from the headlines of life, Johnny Gates manages to capture the emotion that follows a breakup in "Bad Guy." The mid-tempo earworm dives fans straight into the plethora of thoughts that emerge when your old flame finds a new one. Wishing that they could start anew, Johnny relishing in the fact that his old tricks to win her back are in the rearview, he comes to peace that maybe calling those blues isn't the best idea. 

"Bad Guy is the first time I’ve ever really had to address the emotions of an ex ending up with someone else," Gates shares with All Country News. "In my younger years, there would have been some valiant effort to win her back, or try to salvage what we had, but now instead, I’m trying to find happiness in their happiness. I wrote it by myself, and sonically, I think it really embodies my love of Americana music / and my version of country."

Perhaps the magic in this song, Johnny is unafraid of sharing what the genre is to him. Allowing fans to get lost in your artistry is something this genre so desperately needs, and damn does Johnny Gates deliver.

A songwriter and lover of lyrics at heart, Johnny is charging ahead with a project that he says showcases both of his musical tastes. Honoring both country and more indie punk, 2024 will bring a project like no other for Gates. 

Though the experience was valuable, Gates ultimately grew tired of trying to fit into the major label system. East Music Row serves as a haven for talented artists, a place where they can be unafraid to experiment. Gates' resume makes him the perfect man for the job. He's been on the country scene, released indie rock records, and even had a successful stint on The Voice (team Gwen). He's acquiesced to the demands of the major label system, but since signing with Deluge, has found the beauty in chasing his own voice—no matter how strange the idea. He's shaped East Music Row in this image, to allow creatives the opportunities he's worked so hard to earn himself.

"Recently, I’ve become more of a songwriter for other artists, landing my first major label cut with Josh Ross (Truck Girl) and Sam Grow (Loretta / You) while also being a songwriter in the punk scene," Johnny shares. "After bouncing around genres for a bit as an artist, I have committed to just being myself and doing both, which has led me to making “bipolar”. It’s a double record, with side A being my new solo country album and side B being the new “johnny was here” record. Bad Guy is the first single off the country side, and after too much time away from making country music for myself, I’m truly excited to be back, and looking forward to seeing where this record takes me."


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