New York City is known as a place that produces talented musicians at a high volume, and it is considered the capital for music as a whole on the East Coast. However, the city is not the only place where talent thrives within the state of New York. A movement has begun in the northern portion of the state, also known as Upstate New York. At the forefront of this movement is an artist named Johnny 2 Phones, and he has put himself in a position where bringing increased recognition to upstate New York is not such a far-fetched idea.
Initially Johnny 2 Phones jumpstarted his music career by connecting with his fellow students at Oneonta State, (the University he attended after highschool) through tracks that catered to the collegiate atmosphere he was present in at the time. With the support of his classmates, Johnny 2 Phones was able to open for Bronx rapper A Boogie at Oneonta State’s “OH Fest”, and also performed at neighboring Siena College’s “Siena Fest”. But now, Johnny 2 Phones has taken time to evolve his sound into one that connects him to a substantially larger audience than just Oneonta State’s 8,000 total students. He has established a sizable following for himself with catchy, upbeat music and relatable lyrics, and his music has seen a considerable amount of exposure on Soundcloud and various other streaming platforms. We fully expect this following to increase as Johnny 2 Phones continues to release music.
Divine Minds got the chance to ask Johnny 2 Phones a few questions about his friend and producer HunnaG, the differences between Upstate New York and the city in terms of music, along with much more. Take a look at the conversation below!
Q: Your single “Gelato”, featuring Suave The Don and produced by HunnaG, is almost at 200 thousand plays on Soundcloud. A crazy achievement for the three if you I’m sure. You and HunnaG are really becoming an iconic duo, everything you make together seems to be a hit. How did that connection start?
“So me and Hunna actually went to Oneonta together. He met my roomate at lunch one day and told him to play a beat for me. When my roomate showed me the beat, I immediately went to his dorm.”
Q: What happened after you had the chance to meet one another?
“The next day I sat down with him and told him that if he joins my team, we’ll make like 5 hits, release them when I say so, and immediately after that do Siena Fest and OH Fest with A Boogie and sell out our own show. And then it all happened, word for word haha. Now he kind of just trusts me, and we’re just used to each other. Like that’s really my guy.”
Q: In addition to opening for A Boogie, I know that you have opened for artists like Lil Uzi Vert and JuiceWRLD as well. How did those opportunities manifest?
“I actually printed out papers that said “You will get OH fest and Siena Fest, and sell your own show out”, and I woke up and looked at them everyday. Like, I sat down and made it come to life. I told Hunna everyday, when you wake up just tell yourself that and it will happen, and it did.
Q: Did those shows help you grow your fanbase into what it is currently?
“Overall, yeah, those shows matched with “Gelato” really brought us to a new level. I’m super thankful that we have people who support us, like that sh*t really means the world to me, it’s the only thing that keeps me going.”
Q: I believe that you are from upstate New York, and I imagine that the culture and music industry there must be a lot different than what people in New York City may be accustomed to. Despite the two areas being a part of same state, are there any differences you notice between upstate New York and the city?
“Yeah I’m upstate. Me, SoulyHad, Entre Band, and Suave really changed the whole culture here. We sat down a year ago and agreed to just open our doors to each other, like the Atlanta rappers do. So now we’re all just thriving together and there’s no beef, it’s dope. Down state is definitely different though, it’s really clicky. But I love the challenge. It’s almost like you got to prove yourself, and we did that in upstate where it’s 10x harder, so it’s nothing to do it again.”
Q: What does the future hold for Johnny 2 Phones? Albums, concerts, songs, anything you’d like to share?
“The future is really bright, I’m excited. My fans keep telling me drop an album, I don’t know if I’m ready for that yet though. I have enough music, but I want my first album to really change sh*t and be looked at for years. But concert wise, a few in the 518 in March, possibly Miami and Boston, and a few other cities depending on how things work out. But with all that being said, always expect new music. Me, SoulyHad, and MostlyEverything got this one that’s gonna go absolutely crazy.”
Johnny 2 Phones music can be found on Soundcloud as well as many other streaming platforms, so when you get a chance, check out his work using the link below!