Songwriting has a cinematic quality. For me songs are like short films, and each song I write tells a story. I have always been drawn to songwriters and by the power a song has to move us. What drives me to write songs is the magic that happens when I feel I have been able to express ideas and feelings honestly through a lyric or a melody, and to have those feelings connect with others. Songwriting is a way of speaking one's truth and communicating with other people in a unique language.
People, music, a poem, a painting, an experience, something someone said -- these are my sources of inspiration for songwriting. I usually begin by picking up my guitar or sitting at the piano and trying out different musical ideas. Usually a lyric idea will follow, that’s when I start to fill out the story line of the lyric. My goal is to try and write a lyric that expresses an idea and inspires a feeling in the listener. I also tend to leave a little window open in my lyrics for the listener to draw their own meaning, to make it their own.
Libby Johnson grew up with a love for music, playing piano, singing and making up songs as a child. Born in Germany while her parents were stationed there, Libby was raised in the U.S. until the age of 13, at which time her family moved to Nairobi, Kenya. A self-taught piano player, she learned to play guitar from her mother, who sang and played the folk music of the day as well as the old ballads and bluegrass. Her father played bagpipes. Johnson's first performance in public was at a Nairobi pub.
"Living in Nairobi was powerful,” she said. “That move was probably the single most influential thing to happen to me growing up, it gave me a sense of compassion and insight to live those years outside of the U.S." "I was unencumbered and open to having many experiences in Africa, a guest among an international community during the time when I first began experimenting with songwriting and performing."
As an adult, she had returned to the United States, settling in New York City after studying at Berklee College of Music. Along with her sister Carrie, also a musician and songwriter, she formed the band 22 Brides, and earned a slot on the 1998 Lilith Fair tour. The duo’s music was a blend of folk/rock featuring the two voices harmonizing. The Brides released three albums on the Zero Hour label, and one for Universal. They signed with Chrysalis publishing in 1994 and spent the next four years touring until both sisters paused to start families.
Libby released her solo debut album ‘Annabella’ in 2006 on the Wrong Records label. The songs followed the thread of her writing with the Brides, with “haunting vocals over sly bluesy guitar tracks.” Four of the tracks on “Annabella” were featured in the film “Trust The Man,” written and directed by Bart Freundlich, as well as an additional track co-written for the film. Her follow-up album, “Perfect View,” was released in 2009, with several of the tracks picked up for international licensing.
In recent years Libby has developed an active voice and guitar studio. She continues to write, record and perform live.