" Lil' Johanna"
by: Jorge A. Ojeda

hotelmarriot1.jpg (6841 bytes)      One of the youngest Freestyle artist to make her name known in the business has been Lil' Johanna. Her melodic style of fresh beats and sweet vocal performance has captured the hearts of so many Freestyle fans today. Backed up by producer Tony Garcia from High Power Records (Lil' Suzy, Reinaldo fame) this Freestyle Empress continues to captivate the hearts of many.

FMC = (Freestyle Music.Com) Interview by Jorge A. Ojeda.
LJ  = (Lil Johanna)

FMC -Who is Lil' Johanna ?
LJ - Lil Johanna is a 17 year old teenager who is currently a student with honors and scholarships. She lives with her mother and two sisters. She is of Puerto Rican and Spanish descent. She loves to sing, dance and currently has her own television show in New York City called the "Lil Johanna Show". In short a normal and happy girl.

FMC - How did you get started in the music business?

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LJ - I never knew it until my mother noticed it. When I was 11 years old I was singing the song "The Little Mermaid", my mother decided to have a demo recorded and she sent it to a local radio station, and that's how it all started.

FMC - Who is your favorite artist, or which one has inspired you to sing?
LJ- For me Selena has been my favorite singer. Her simplexes gave me great inspiration. She was someone very special, and I think she touched everyone with her personality. She was also a great singer, and one day I would love to achieve her level as a performing artist. She was very noble, sweet and full of charisma.

FMC - What is your favorite song?
LJ - If I had to pick, I would say all of Selena's because they filled me with lots of nostalgia and have inspired me as an artist.

FMC - What was your first release and tell us how you felt when it was released ?
LJ - My first release was "Take Me In Your Arms Again", it was a great hit for me. I was very excited and happy when it was released. It was a dream come true. I couldn't believe it when I went to the record stores and there I was, and on one noticed that I was the artist on the record shelf.

lijohannalp.jpg (11660 bytes)      FMC - Tell us about the album, what it was all about and who produced it?
LJ - My album is made up of 14 tracks, all of them very well produced and selected for the album. In addition, the tracks are both in English and Spanish, a tribute for Selena. The production was done by the one and only Mr. Tony Garcia of High Power records, and distributed through Warlock Records.

FMC - How was it working with producer Tony Garcia?
LJ - For me it was a great experience to work with him. I learned many things from him. He is a very patient person, and he gives you the confidence by making you feel relaxed and at eased.

FMC - How old were you when your album was released ?
LJ - I was 12 years old when I did my first album.

FMC - Did you feel a sort of connection with Lil Suzy, since your name is Lil Johanna & you were both first produced by Tony Garcia, and even one of your songs was titled "Take Me In Your Arms Again" ?

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LJ - Well, when it comes to the name of the artist containing the word Lil', I think it was just a way for Tony to differ from what's small and big. I think the song "Take Me In Your Arms Again" was not intended to make anyone feel bad, but just a sequel or second part.

FMC - What made you want to pick the Freestyle genre as your style of music?
LJ - The truth of the matter was that I was to young to know about the music. When I did my demo, it was done in this style. Later, I met Tony and liked his music and his interest in helping me out as an artist, and that's how it all got started.

FMC - How old are you now?
LJ - I am 17 years old.

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FMC - So, what's next for you? What does the future have in store for Lil' Johanna ?
LJ-  Well currently I have my own television program called the "Lil' Johanna Show". Here I interview artists, well known from all styles of music. I present music videos, record release parties, and the club scene. Everything related to the music business.

FMC- Are you working on something new, and is it going to be Freestyle oriented?
LJ - Probably for the year 2000, if God permits. I have big plans, but they will be revealed as things start to happen. But, I will let everyone know.

FMC - Are you working with any new producers and labels?
LJ - Right now there are many producers, we are currently in negotiations.

FMC - What producers would you love to work with?
LJ - There are so many great producers, I don't think it's right for me to specify a few because one does not know with who they will be working with. But, I guarantee it will be with a great one.

FMC - Are there any future shows planned for you?
LJ - Well, there are always many shows here in New York and I take part in them. But, I would love to do some shows out of New York.

FMC - What advice or message would you give to future artists?
LJ - My advice will be to pursue your goals and fight in what you believe in and love. We should all understand that this is not easy, but anyone can obtain their goals with lots of talent and perseverance.

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FMC - Are there any other goals you would like to achieve that do not involve music?
LJ - Something I would love to be is a doctor. I think it's an interesting thing to be a doctor and a singer at the same time. Can you imagine? I haven't seen a doctor sing to their patients.

FMC - How do you compare yourself to other artist, past generations and present?
LJ - I think there have always been great artists and I only compare myself with how different we all are as an artist. Every artist has there own personality and style. In the past there have been many great stars and in the present there are many great stars too. There is no comparisons. There has always been great talents.

FMC - If you had a chance to make changes in the industry today, what would you change?
LJ - I would love it if they give more opportunities for Freestyle music. If only the industry would open the doors wide for the genre. Freestyle music is a happy and healthy format of music that comes from the heart, which in the other hand there are other forms of music that do nothing for the minds of young people, in creating positive things in life. Some forms of music help in destroying their minds. There has to be something to help make this music be heard and present. This will help in giving attention to young Latinos who are in search of opportunities to express their talents.

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FMC - In conclusion, what would you like to say to the Freestyle/ Dance Community?
LJ - I would like to say that keeping the community united, helps to build a strong force that's hard to mess with. Let there be a strong support for the Freestyle Music Community, so that we can continue in working together to give people the music they deserve love and hear. And that, "Esta Chiquita....Lil' Johanna, Los Quiere Mucho....

I would like to thank everyone for their support, am I'm very happy they have enjoyed my songs which I made with great pleasure for you. You all have a friend in me. Remember, all of us together can find a way in making the Freestyle genre last for generations to come. We are the key power.

Thank you everyone again, and may God bless you all, from your friend today and always ....Lil' Johanna.