TJ Johnson is widely considered to be one of the UK’s most charismatic and highly revered jazz & blues singers.
Always a true ambassador of the soul, TJ sings songs of love lost and gained, of life wholesome and corrupt, songs of hope and despair, songs of the night, all with the true passion and boozy swagger of only a man who has been there and knows.
Backed by his group of top London-based musicians, TJ plays an extraordinary blend of music that transcends the boundaries of jazz, blues, soul, country and gospel and is influenced by some of the greats such as Ray Charles, Dr John, Louis Armstrong, Johnny Cash, BB King, Nina Simone, Alberta Hunter, Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Witherspoon and many more. His distinctive voice and unique personal stage manner always bring both the band and the audience together to create an intimate yet exciting atmosphere that is rarely equalled.
TJ’s love for music began right from the age of 10, playing the guitar and singing folk & country music at his home in Cheshire, UK. He started teaching himself to play on the old family piano, and by the age of 15, was a regular face within local jazz bands in the North West. After not long, TJ was discovered by the legendary Max Collie through local drummer Pete Cotterill, and in 1986, was invited to join the Max Collie Rhythm Aces. This marked the beginning of his professional career, still just 16 years old, touring Europe and UK for three years. As well as jazz clubs and festivals, they performed all major theatres as part of The New Orleans Mardi Gras Show featuring Cy Lauri and Ken Colyer.
At the beginning of the 1990’s, TJ moved back up north to form his own band, embarking on a decade of appearing at festivals and jazz clubs around the globe. Notably, he played several stints, often a month at a time, at the notorious Casa Bar in Zurich.
At the turn of the century, TJ moved back down to London and became extremely prolific, playing clubs such as the 100 Club, Dover St Wine Bar, Ronnie Scott’s, Pizza Express, Concorde Club as well as continuing to appear at many festivals across the UK and abroad. Whilst living in Hackney, TJ was active in curating a new, cool and vibrant jazz scene; his timeless, unique style and varied repertoire continues to appeal towards the young, trendy ‘in-crowd’ and older jazz fans alike.
Always using the UK’s top jazz musicians in the band, TJ has sold out Ronnie Scott’s over ten times, and in 2018, was the proud recipient of the Best Blues Singer award at the Boisdale Music Awards, presented by Jools Holland.
Across his career, TJ has recorded many albums; many of these are available to stream on Spotify. Most recently, TJ released an album entitled ‘Songs from the Jazz Country’, showcasing his deep love for both Jazz and Country music. Featuring great standards such as Love is Here to Stay, Someone to Watch Over Me and country songs like Ramblin’ Fever and Roll Me Up and Smoke Me, the album takes the listener on a dusty trail from the back alley jazz clubs of the city to neon signs in the hills of the country.
Now residing in rural Hampshire, TJ continues to be one of the most in demand vocalists, pianists and bandleaders on the UK jazz scene. He has also recently established his own jazz club in his village, playing monthly sessions to a sold-out hall.
Despite the Covid lockdown, TJ continued to stay well-connected with his many followers, running the extremely successful ‘Monday Club’: a weekly online Facebook live gig which attracts around 100 viewers every session.