Arthur L. Johnson | Father | Singer | Creative
Coming up in Detroit as a creative, how did you hone your talents and skill set as a performer?
When I was growing up in the city, I felt boxed in. I felt obligated to one thing, which was the streets. I grew up with both of my parents and was blessed to have them and different role models, but they always went to work, and when they did, my big brother served as my protector. My big brother started to go deeper into the drug game and gangbanging, so I followed his footsteps. Anything and everything my brother did, I wanted to do. But, I knew I was the creative one in my family. I was the one who could sing, dance, and play any sport. But again, during this time, I felt boxed in because the only thing I knew was the hood. If you wanted to see a dope ride, you would see a dope boy with it. What I saw on T.V. never seemed real to me because all I knew was the streets. I knew deep down I had more to offer in life than the streets. I just didn't know how to express that because I didn't have the outlet until I attended the Detroit School of Arts.
What type of impact did attending a school such as DSA have on you as a teenager?
The first time I ever been in a recording studio was at DSA. DSA allowed me to train as a vocalist, being that I was a vocal major, and I was also able to record my own music. I had the chance to experience watching someone produce a track right before my eyes, write to that same track, and record it as well. This experience changed my life because even to this day, I handle artist management, executive production, and songwriting duties, and I'm a singer as well. Truthfully, DSA molded me and gave me an outlet to express myself completely.
You said on social media that if someone else were to experience some of the things that you've gone through, they wouldn't survive. Being that you were shot eight times and told that you may never be able to walk again, what type of mentality did you adopt through your healing process?
I can't give you a specific mentality, but I will say that I always obtained whatever I set my mind to achieve in life. No matter how long it took, or how hard it was, I always got it. So from the moment they told me I'd never walk again, I literally woke up, looked around the hospital room and went right back to sleep. When I woke up, I overheard them saying it again. I laughed and said to myself, f— that. Who are you to tell me that I'll never walk again? Did God tell you that? Around that time, it was so much being said, and so much going on. The paramedic told me that I might not make it, and I'm still here. I'm here for a reason, and I know that I will be rewarded by God with the things that I pray for if I work hard. One thing I will say is that I had to dig deep because the fight for recovery is no joke. Even to this day, I still have to fight. The easy part was getting shot. The hardest part was getting back on my feet.
Having a child can change a person in many ways. What are some of the things that having a daughter teach you about life and various circumstances?
Having a daughter changed me tremendously because now, I'm literally obligated to live my life in a selfless way. The crazy thing is, I prayed for a daughter because I knew what she would do to me, rather than me having a son. The other crazy part about it is the fact that I lost my father three days after my daughter was born. It's hard to accept sometimes. I literally not only became a father but when I lost him, I had to take on the responsibilities that he had when he was here. So in every moment, I can't think of me. I have to think of her. For example, one day I was out at a bar with my sister, and some words were exchanged between me and this cat that was there. Now, the old me would have instantly reacted, but I ended up saying what I had to say and leaving the situation alone. I can't let anything take me away from her. I don't want my daughter to be fatherless which is why I have to be selfless in every decision I make. Everything has to make sense for my family.