Capping a prolific run of more than 10 popular streaming singles since 2017, Johnnie Mikel released his highly anticipated full length debut Purgatory February 3, with his latest track “Fallen Angel,” an infectious, fiery and funked out power ballad co-written with Lauren Christy, best known for her trailblazing work with the seven-time Grammy winning songwriting and production team The Matrix. Fallen Angel has already rocketed to number 40 on the US National Mediabase Top 40 chart. The video was directed by Andy Tedder.
“I came to Lauren with the title and concept, and we wrote the song fairly quickly,” says Mikel, “It’s kind of a ‘good girl gone bad’ story about someone that’s not the best for you. We wanted to make the song very funky and sexy, so the production matches that. I love the swampy, bluesy feel of the guitars and vocals. The execution of the song was all about having a cool vibe!”
Coming on the heels of his 2020 streaming successes with “Revolution” and “Nothing to Lose” Mikel broke through beyond the viral world in 2022 with his hit single “I Hope It Hurts,” which enjoyed an impressive run at Top 40 radio and broke the Top 50 of Billboard and garnered Mikel the Mediabase #1 Pop Independent artist ranking and landed him in the top 5 for 15 weeks.
“Fallen Angel,” “I Hope It Hurts” and “Obsessed with U” are three of the featured tracks on Purgatory, which is driven by Mikel’s desire to add his creative fuel to the collective of progressive, socially active voices organizing for change. A narrative of intersections in art and culture, produced by James Michael (Mötley Crüe, Alanis Morissette, Kelly Clarkson) addresses topics like mental health in the music industry, the effects of social media on youth, human rights, and disillusionment in love and politics.
The deeply confessional lyrics of the sonically adventurous, impossible to pigeonhole 11-track collection emphatically reverberate the times. With alternative pop leanings, the album captivates the listener with influences ranging from Bowie to Gaga to The 1975 and Walk the Moon. “My favorite artists and biggest influences are the groundbreaking ones with a message. I love artists that feel like an enigma, because they are multi-faceted and always evolving,” says Mikel, a Bowling Green, KY native who moved with his family to NYC at age 11.
Mikel has developed his multitude of talents as a singer, songwriter and performer working alongside industry heavyweights like Tommy Lee, Lindy Robbins and Nash Overstreet and traveling between New York, L.A. and Nashville, where he has opened for Charlie Daniels, Little River Band, and Josh Turner.
One of the most heartfelt songs on Purgatory is “One,” which inspired Mikel to create the One Word Foundation (after he wrote it in 2016) on the notion that one word, choice or chance can change the course of a life. Through the foundation, the singer has teamed up with various charities and Boys and Girls Clubs across the country in order to benefit those in need. Mikel is currently studying Political Science and Economics at Western Kentucky University to further merge his artistic message with his activism.
“I’ve been given a gift, and I need to use it to give back.”