“A truly enchanting moment of the show was when Melissa Manchester invited Fanchester contest winner Johnny Schaefer on stage for a stunning duet of Whenever I Call You Friend. ” - Ken Morton
JOHNNY SCHAEFER BEATS THE HEAT
By Valerie Milano
Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 8/30/16 – Los Angeles has suffered record heat this summer, but singer-songwriter Johnny Schaefer has been in full holiday mode recording an album of Christmas songs. From Here to Nativity is Schaefer’s sophomore project. In October of 2013 he released Acoustic Remedy, an eclectic mix of songs with a wide range of themes and musical vibes. The new album gives fans more of his creative songwriting and smooth, agile vocals.
Johnny just finished up two nights singing backup for Josh Groban at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles and is working with some terrific musicians on the new project. “I am crowd-funding this album, which gives me an opportunity to work with people like Stephan Oberhoff, who is currently co-producing with Quincy Jones and served as Melissa Manchester’s Music Director for a decade, Christoph Bull, who heads the organ program at UCLA, Grammy-nominated harpist Carol Robbins, Chad Ellis from the band Poe, the Passenger, and drummer Sean Winchester (Everclear), to name a few” Schaefer beamed. “It has been an incredible experience!”
The new album will be a mix of traditional favorites like Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella, the Bach-Gounod Ave Maria and O Holy Night as well as a number of brand new original Christmas tunes. “It’s true to my form of trying new things” Schaefer added. “The Ave Maria will be a very straight-forward rendition because, well, you can’t improve on Bach, but the other covers will be a little different from the usual settings. For example, O Holy Night will be a jazz waltz with harp, bass and drums. It’s often a bit dirgy for my taste. We’re lightening it up.”
The inspiration to do a Christmas album came from the success of Schaefer’s single last year titled All the Babes on Christmas Born. “We released it late, but still got a lot of airplay. Marianne Williamson saw the video on YouTube and immediately called asking me to sing it at her Christmas Eve service in Beverly Hills. She told me that I was ‘A walking Christmas’, which is kind of true. I absolutely love Christmas and Christmas music. So it makes perfect sense for me to make this album.”
“I think the album will surprise a lot of people”, he added. “It’s a journey from Advent to Epiphany. Along the way the individual Christmas stories facilitate a huge range of sounds and moods. The last song is a Latin jam about the Rosca de Reyes (Kings Cake) popular in the Latino community.” Schaefer is married to a Mexican immigrant, Paco Silva, who creates most of his music videos. “LA is the perfect spot to make an album like this. We’re a melting pot of amazing cultures and viewpoints. It’s wonderful. I take a look at that through the lens of the holidays. It’s a really fun ride.
Hear Johnny on the Put it Together Podcast http://putittogetherpodcast.blogspot.com/2016/08/episode-139-christmas-wish-johnny.html
“I am America's NUMBER ONE HUMBUG... BUT, I have Johnny's Christmas Album and I play it daily. Brilliant voice artist, the best in music production and it will melt into you and "humbug" becomes the inoperative term. - the late Gary Austin, founder of The Groundlings Theater in Los Angeles ”
— Facebook post
Posted on December 3, 2015 by Valerie Milano
By Valerie Milano
Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 12/3/15 – Johnny Schaefer is an eclectic Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter. He has an album, Acoustic Remedy featuring mostly original material. Award-winning author Elizabeth Massie wrote the lyric for this hauntingly beautiful song, set to music by singer-songwriter Johnny. It begins quietly with a solo guitar and instruments chime in gradually, then a choir, as it builds and soars to a stunning crescendo at the glorious end. For those longing to return to the true meaning of the holiday, this is a perfect anthem. Luscious arrangements and Schaefer’s rich baritone vocals communicate Massie’s universal message with clarity and warmth. All the Babes on Christmas Born offers the sweet reverence, majesty, and hope of the Christmas season. Massie and Schaefer became friends through a Facebook community Schaefer formed called the Gratitude Club. They learned a lot about one another seeing five things each other was grateful for every day. They gained a mutual respect for one another’s talent and Massie presented Schaefer with the exquisite poem the song is crafted from. With Massie living in Virginia and Schaefer residing in Los Angeles, the two have never met, but you would not know it from the perfect synthesis of their work on All the Babes on Christmas Born. Be sure to catch the uplifting video on YouTube and elsewhere. Be sure to check out the popular video!
Copyright 2015 Elizabeth Massie, ASCAP, and Johnny Schaefer , ASCAP / Auditory Verve Music, ASCAP
Credit Union Employee Records Christmas Album
LOS ANGELES–An employee of Pasadena FCU here has released a Christmas album. Johnny Schaefer, the credit union’s marketing and business development director, has combined his love for all things Christmas with his musical skills to create From Here to Nativity, a collection of seven original and seven classic Christmas songs. Schaefer crowd-funded the project raised nearly $5,000, 10% of which he donated to the Blessed Sacrament Church Choir in Hollywood, where he has been a cantor and soloist since 1981. Schaefer has a degree in Music Composition and Voice from California State University, Fullerton and has sung backup for Josh Groban, Melissa Manchester, Diahann Carroll and Sarah Vaughan. “The album takes the listener from the season of Advent through Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and finally to Epiphany,” according to a release about the new album. Schaefer recorded part of the album on the John Williams soundstage at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, while other tracks were recorded in a basement. He worked with a Grammy-nominated harpist on a Jazz waltz version of O Holy Night and the Bach-Gounod Ave Maria (also with cello). He also recorded a fifties rock and roll-style song he wrote about a boy who thinks he got stiffed by Santa called Oh Golly, Lookie, featuring former Everclear drummer Sean Winchester and a trio of doo-wop girls a la Little Shop of Horrors, according to the release. "The project was probably the most joy-filled endeavor of my life,” he said. "I recorded an original composition of mine called Joseph's Prayer with Producer Stephan Oberhoff, who is currently co-producing with Quincy Jones. It is the most complex song I have written and he ‘got it’ right away. It was magical." To accompany the album, a video was shot in the iconic Stats Home Decoration Center, which is dubbed "The Disneyland of Christmas stores," and Schaefer will present a mini-concert and CD signing at the store, which is just a few blocks from the PFCU branch. “I try to keep the two worlds separate, but many of the people in the community responding to the music project also know me as a face of the credit union, so I try to represent both well,” he said. From Here to Nativity is Johnny's second album. Both are available through his website, www.hearjohnny.com, and by Googling "Johnny Schaefer, From Here to Nativity" and then either iTunes, Amazon, Google Play Music, Spotify or just about any other online music retailer or streaming service.
Genre Hopping With Style
“Schaefer’s wild eclecticism easily makes it among the year’s most refreshingly original efforts”
"Don’t let the fading childhood photograph of singer/songwriter Johnny Schaefer’s Acoustic Remedy album trick you into thinking this is some kind of safe unplugged outing. No, there’s nothing on the record that even hints of sonic dissonance; however, Schaefer’s wild eclecticism easily makes it among the year’s most refreshingly original efforts, a fiercely independent vision that refuses to compromise for the purpose of easy commercial accessibility.
Given the emotional depth of his singing and the strength of his lyrical content, it becomes quickly obvious that Schaefer’s genre hopping isn’t a case of executing it for its own sake. He is simply an artist with a passion for various styles of music, and he will not allow any boundaries to limit his creative scope. The moving “April Fool” is a tale of how cultural clashes can tear into romantic relationships. The song’s hybrid of folk, Latin, and jazz echoes its theme of acceptance of ethnic differences.
Elsewhere, Schaefer explores his artistry with no regard to categorization. “Closer Than You Think” is throbbing synthesized pop while “Time to Cry” is soulfully performed Easy Listening. Just when the R&B pulse of “So Cold” seemed to stabilize Schaefer as a purveyor of adult pop, albeit on the adventurous side, arrives “Invocation,” a stunning combination of New Age atmospherics, chanting, and a spoken-word prayer from Marianne Williamson. Inventive and absolutely unique, Acoustic Remedy epitomizes how daring and fascinating music can be when the rule book is tossed out."
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