Doug Johnson

For the last 23 years Doug Johnson has been a professional in the music business. He has enjoyed success as a recording engineer, mixer, musician, songwriter, producer and record company executive.

Johnson says, “by far my greatest love is the song. Everything else is an attempt to powerfully capture and express the song in its truest sense, and to get it to the listener.”

Johnson graduated from Georgia State University in Atlanta in 1979 with a degree in Music Business. After a three-month internship with the Lowery Music Group he was offered the job of chief engineer for the Lowery Studios. “Bill Lowery is one of the world’s most successful independent publishers and preached song, song, song everyday. I was lucky to work for a man with that philosophy.”

From 1979 to 1986 Johnson was chief engineer for the Lowery Group. During that time he engineered/mixed projects for Bertie Higgins, Alicia Bridges, Starbuck, The Atlanta Rhythm Section, Joe South, Billy Joe Royal, Bill Anderson as well as many in-house projects for the Lowery Group.

In 1987 Johnson became an independent engineer. Johnson says, “I love working for the Lowery Group, but I was starting to get calls to go to Muscle Shoals and Nashville to do projects. I wanted to pursue those opportunities, so I went independent.”

From 1987 to 1991 Johnson worked with such artists as Peabo Bryson, Hank Williams, jr., Dolly Parton, Barbara Mandrell, Ricky Skaggs, Shenandoah, Alabama, New Song and Tim McGraw as well as continuing to do projects for the Lowery Group in Atlanta.

During this time he started producing. In 1989 he cut sides on a group called the Burch Sisters and secured a recording deal for them with Mercury Records, Nashville. In 1990 he cut sides on Doug Stone and secured him a deal with Epic Records, Nashville. Johnson says, “the process of finding an artist I believed in, finding songs we loved, then producing the record and taking it to Nashville and securing the artist a record deal was incredible.”

In 1990 Johnson also produced the first John Michael Montgomery album which sold over five million records.

In 1991 Johnson became Vice President of A&R for Epic Records, Nashville. He signed Grammy winning artist Patty Loveless as well as creatively overseeing the careers of Collin Raye, Joe Diffie, Doug Stone, Ty Herndon, Sons of the Desert, The Kinleys, The Gibson/Miller Band as well as others. “As an A&R executive probably the most important thing I did was find songs for the Epic artists. You can’t have a hit record without a hit song.”

In 1994 Sony Music promoted Johnson to Senior V.P. of Epic Records, Nashville. Along with his A&R responsibilities he oversaw marketing, promotion, artist development, artist relations and budgets for the Epic Artists. Johnson says, “No matter what your title is, no matter how many responsibilities you have, the most important question remains the same. Are the songs great enough?”

In 1997 Johnson became President of Giant Records. The Giant roster included artists Clay Walker, Neal McCoy, The Wilkinsons, Blake Shelton, Joe Nichols, Don Williams and Daryl Singletary.

As a songwriter Doug has had over 40 recorded songs. Artists who have cut his songs include Rascal Flatts, Kenny Rogers, Randy Travis, Collin Raye, Patty Loveless, Ty Herndon, Lee Greenwood, Bertie Higgins, the Forester Sisters, Don Williams, the Oak Ridge Boys, John Michael Montgomery, Blake Shelton and Ricochet as well as others.

He has penned four #1 songs and 12 top tens. Doug also won the2003 NSAI, CMA, and ACM “Song Of The Year” for Three Wooden Crosses. He is currently up for ACM “Song Of The Year” with Rascal Flatts’ Skin (Sarabeth). Doug says, “I’ve been fortunate to be involved in several different aspects of the music business. If I could only do one, it would definitely be songwriting. Every other job I’ve had means absolutely nothing without a great song.”