Johnny Bulford has always known the music was his calling. At the age of 11 his grandmother put in a tape of Garth Brooks and Johnny’s imagination was triggered. Not long after that he had an opportunity to see Garth live. After the show he looked at his mom and said “That’s what I want to do”. Now, a decade later, he is well on his way.
He soon began learning guitar and writing songs. Even in this very early stage of his career, his songs showed a maturity that most writers twice his age had yet to develop. At barely 15 years old he was able to enchant seasoned musicians with songs of love and loss, of faith and desperation. He was clearly a diamond in the rough.
By the age of 19, Johnny’s earnest and likable personality, natural talent, and passion for music enabled him to open for headliners such as Collin Raye, Josh Turner, Trick Pony, and Emerson Drive. It was during this time that he released his first indie album “Southern Thing”. The title track is a fun tune about spring break and the frivolity of youth.
In 2003 he was faced with a decision, college or music? The problem was that his passion for music could only be rivaled by his love of academics so he chose to do both. Meanwhile he was actively touring and promoting his second album “What Happens Here Stays Here”
2004 had him competing in the prestigious Colgate Country Showdown. This competition starts at the local level, moves to the state level, then on to regional’s and finally, ends at the nationals . Johnny won the state level but didn’t take the regional’s. But that would all change in 2008.
During the next few years he made many trips to Nashville developing relationships with label executives and consistently left them wanting to hear more. He became actively involved in local charities such as the Russell Home for Atypical Children and he was commissioned by the veteran’s group ‘Remembering the Brave’ to write a song for fallen soldiers. That song has been played at numerous events for America’s Gold Star families.
The 2008 Colgate Country Showdown pitted Johnny against some of the toughest talent to date. In all, more than 50,000 artists competed in all states and regions to make it to the finals in Nashville. This was his chance to shine and shine he did. Only 5 artists were chosen for the final competition, and when the smoke cleared, Johnny was the winner of $100,000.
Winning that ‘Happy Gilmore check’ as he likes to all it, did more than just give him some extra spending cash. It kicked open doors to Nashville’s inner circle of writers. Recognizing pure talent when they see it, Warner Chappell Music signed Johnny as a staff writer and immediately put him to work writing and co-writing with some of Nashville’s hottest and most successfulwriters including Michael Dulaney and Lisa Carver.
Johnny resides in Nashville and has formed music city’s newest duo LOCKHART with fellow singer/songwriter Janell Wheeler. The two are gearing up to release their debut EP Reckless. Make sure to follow LOCKHART to hear more of Johnny.