Award-winning poet singer songwriter John Michael Ferrari writes emotional story-telling songs with touches of sophistication and child-like wonder crossing several genres. His songs are derived from his life experiences and those of others. John Michael’s songs are produced by Pepper Jay. Pahrump, Nevada. Sampling of 2 reviews of John Michael’s recent album release: Be the Smile on
Your Face, by Indie Music Plus
“Fun-loving, storytelling Nam Veg from Hollywood, CA, John Michael Ferrari pours out a shiskey-hued glass of Pop, Country, Gospel, Blues, and Jazz in his music. … Ferrari’s songs are produced by his longtime collaborator Pepper Jay. … Ferrari delivers love croon vibes on his newest album, “Be the Smile on Your Face.” John Michael was recently named Outstanding Male Singer Songwriter of the Year by the Producer’s Choice Honors 2019. John Michael was recently awarded Best Peace Song of the Year 2020 at the Hollywood Tribute to the Oscars by Art 4 Peace. John Michael performs his original songs with the John Michael Ferrari Band (Las Vegas), or the Gary Sadker Band (Nashville). John Michael also performs solo/duo, ranging from “living room concerts” to concert halls and ballrooms.
Lisa: What first got you into music?
John: Music was my escape from an abusive and abandoned childhood. As a child, I’d stand in front of the mirror and pretend I was Elvis Presley. In school, the girls liked it when I played the guitar and sang. Music has been my life.
Lisa: How would you describe the music that you typically create?
John: I create stories in several genres. Mostly, cross-genre with country. Country-pop, Country-adult contemporary, Country-gospel.
Lisa: What is your creative process like?
John: I experience or observe someone else experience something and then I write about it. I guess I’m more of a story teller than songwriter because the story comes first and I express it with music.
One of many examples: Be the Smile on Your Face. I’m in Trader Joe’s squeezing cantaloupes (still don’t know what a ripe cantaloupe feels like) and this young man next to me is squeezing avocados. Across from us a beautiful young woman was squeezing tomatoes and she looked up at us and gave us the most beautiful smile, grabbed her tomatoes and pushed her cart away. The young man next to me said, “I sure would like to be the smile on her face.” And, I replied, “Yep, she’s one heck of a girl.” I created 2 songs from that encounter.
Lisa: Can you tell us a bit more about your favorite song and what inspired you to make it?
John: My favorite song is usually the last song I wrote. However, So Beautiful stands out to me. While working on a commercial in Florida, I met an 8-year old and her Mother because the director asked me to read with her. The girl was sassy and we immediately got along. Pepper Jay, my music producer, and I loved that little girl like she was a daughter. Then, the girl grew up and got married and now has her own life. I wrote “So Beautiful” about her when she was about 10 or 11 years old.
Lisa: Which famous musicians do you admire?
John: The Wrecking Crew always comes to mind first. What talent! And, I admire any musician or artist that gives back. In my song, “What Are You Doing,” a line is “Whatever you want to take, put back something to show that you care.” That’s what I feel about life.
Lisa: What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?
John: I was a troubled child and teen. My step-father was not nice. I took to the streets. I thought I was cool. Finally, at 15, a Judge sent me to the Nevada State Children’s Home in Carson City, Nevada. First time I felt safe.
Lisa: What is the best advice you’ve been given?
John: Be true to myself. I know and understand song format and the current rules of the music business but my music producer encourages me to be true to the song and to communicate the song where it leads me. The better advice is to find out what are the contemporary music rules and follow them. Although we do re-arrange our songs to fit current format, I’m not very good at following the rules. That’s just not what I usually do.
Lisa: What’s next for you?
John: We are just amazed as we watch our song, “So Beautiful” climb up the radio charts. Just to see my name, John Michael Ferrari, on a chart with famous talented people gives us a thrill. As soon as possible, I hope to tour again. Almost all of my gigs were cancelled due to the ChronaVirus. I do have a Saturday, August 22nd gig at the E-String in Henderson. It has large booths that I hope will serve as social distancing. Looking forward to getting back on the state.