Carolyn Dawn Johnson (born April 30, 1971 in Grande Prairie, Alberta) is a Canadian Juno Award winning country music singer-songwriter. Johnson co-wrote Chely Wright's 1999 single, "Single White Female," which reached number one on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart in September 1999. Johnson was signed, in 2000, to record label Arista Nashville.
In 2001, Johnson released her debut album Room with a View. The album's first single "Georgia" reached No. 4 on the RPM Canadian Country Singles Chart for the week of November 6, 2000. "Complicated" was a Top Ten hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart. Her next single ("I Don't Want You to Go") was also a Top Ten hit in the U.S. After a three year hiatus, Johnson returned with the single "Let Me Introduce Myself". It was the lead single from her fourth album, Love Rules, released in 2010.
Carolyn Dawn Johnson was born in Grande Prairie, Alberta to John Johnson, a farmer and operator of a seed-cleaning business, and Loretta Johnson, a supervisor of a home for senior citizens. Johnson was raised on a farm inDeadwood, Alberta with two brothers, late older brother Derwin, who died due to an undisclosed illness on Christmas Eve in 1998, and brother Greg.
Johnson was passionate about music from a young age and even asked her mother how anyone could live without it. She sang at a church and started playing the piano at the age of five, learning from her pastor's wife, Evangeline Thiessen. Her parents played country music records by Jim Reeves and Don Williams at home and as she got older, her musical interests diversified as she listened to artists like ABBA, Charley Pride, Fleetwood Mac and Marty Stuart among others. The family later moved to Westlock, Alberta and Johnson attended RF Staples High School there. During her high school years, she learned to play the clarinet, flute and saxophone. She kept up her piano lessons largely in part due to Thiessan sending books and encouraging letters to her. Her high school teachers were not as encouraging and caused her to turn away from music for a while and turn to science, a period in her life which she called "a stain in her heart".
After graduating high school, believing that she could not make a living as a musician, Johnson attended Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia studying biology and a year later she was in Edmonton, Alberta studying education. During her college years, she frequently sat-in with local bands at night and encouragement from them caused her to think that maybe she could have a career in the music industry. At the age of 20, she taught herself to play the guitar and realizing that her true calling was in music, she went to Vancouver, British Columbia and there she attended Columbia Academy and learned the technical aspects of the music industry. Johnson focussed on songwriting in her spare time and ordered a video featuring songwriters from Nashville to learn more about songwriting and through this video, she joined the Nashville Songwriters Association International. In 1994, Johnson headed to Nashville after calling her mother and saying, "I'm going big. I'm going for the big picture."
In Nashville, Johnson attended songwriting workshops and writer's night events. In 1997, Johnson moved permanently to Nashville after obtaining a work visa and later that year, she signed with Patrick Joseph Music as a songwriter. Her songwriting demos captured the attention of many record label executives and some of the songs she wrote were recorded by Patty Loveless, Suzy Bogguss, Kathy Mattea, Mindy McCready, Jo Dee Messina, Linda Davis and Chely Wright. Johnson's breakthrough as a songwriter came in 1999 when "Single White Female", a song she co-wrote with Shaye Smith and recorded by Wright, became a number one hit on country radio. This song became Johnson's first number one hit as a songwriter. Another one of her songs, "Downtime", recorded by Messina, also became a top five hit. In 2000, Johnson was named "Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year" by MusicRow Magazine.
In 1999, Johnson started her career as a solo artist. Her success as a songwriter led her to a record deal with the Arista Nashville record label. Paul Worley, a producer with whom Johnson was working, was also working with Martina McBride at that time and asked Johnson to sing background vocals on McBride's songs. McBride subsequently invited Johnson to go on tour with her as a backup singer and guitarist. Johnson toured with McBride for over a year and during this time she was also hard at work writing songs for her debut album.
In 2001, Johnson went on the Girls Night Out Tour opening for high-profile stars Sara Evans, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire and Jamie O'Neal. Later that year, Johnson released her debut album Room with a View in Canada. She co-wrote all 13 songs and co-produced the album. An American release of the album followed a few months later, though only containing the first 11 songs due to differences in the contracts. The album was well-received as it sold a little less than 18,000 copies in its first week and debuted at No. 8 on the US country sales chart. It became Arista Nashville's highest debuting album by a new artist since SoundScan was used to track record sales. The album went on to be certified gold in Canada in a few months.
The first two singles from the album, "Georgia" and "Complicated", were both hits in the United States, with the latter reaching No. 5 on the country charts. The year ended with Johnson receiving a record-breaking 10 nominations from the Canadian Country Music Association, with "Georgia" and "Complicated" competing against each other for "Single of the Year", "Song of the Year" and "Video of the Year". Johnson went on to win five awards, including her first "Female Artist of the Year" award.
Johnson went on tour with Alan Jackson and Kenny Chesney in 2002. Her next single, "I Don't Want You to Go", was a top 10 hit in both Canada and the US. Subsequent singles did well on the Canadian charts but not on the American charts. Johnson was nominated for five CCMA awards that year and won three, including her second consecutive "Female Artist of the Year". She also won a Juno award for "Best Country Artist" and an Academy of Country Music award for "Top New Female Artist" that year.
In 2003, Johnson went on her first co-headlining tour with Keith Urban. While on tour, she was once again writing songs, this time for her second album. Urban provided his voice for a song on that album.
In 2004, Johnson released her second album, Dress Rehearsal, in which she co-produced and wrote 11 of the 12 songs. The album debuted at number nine on Billboard's top country albums charts. The first single from the album, "Simple Life", did well on both the Canadian and the American country charts. This was the only song on the album that she did not write. The second single, "Die of a Broken Heart", also did well on the Canadian country charts but not on the American charts. Later that year, she received seven CCMA award nominations and won five awards.
Johnson left Arista Nashville in 2005 because "what they wanted her to do wasn't her."
Love & Negotiation, Johnson's 3rd album, was released in Canada under the Angeline Entertainment label in 2006. As with her first album, she wrote all 12 songs, but this time she produced the entire album by herself. The album was originally scheduled to be released in the United States in mid-2007 by Equity Music Group but was delayed and Johnson exited Equity in 2008. In September 2007, Johnson was named Female Vocalist of the Year at the 2007 CCMA Awards. Love & Negotiation was eventually released in the United States digitally through Dancing Lily Music on October 13, 2009 with different artwork.
In 2010, Johnson released the first single from her upcoming studio album. The single, "Let Me Introduce Myself", is included on her fourth studio album, Love Rules, which was released digitally in the United States on July 21, 2010 and in Canada on August 10, 2010 via Dancing Lily Music. The album is produced by Johnson and Frank Rogers and features 12 new songs. 'Love Rules' was nominated for Country Album of the Year at the 2011 Juno Awards
Johnson has been married to Matt Fisher since 2003. The couple welcomed a daughter, Abigail Grace Fisher, on September 16, 2008. The couple's second child, son Bennett Derwin Fisher, was born February 3, 2010.
|Room with a View||8||87||
|Love & Negotiation||—||—|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|US Country||US||US AC||US Adult|
|2000||"Georgia"[n 1]||25||98||—||—||Room with a View|
|"I Don't Want You to Go"||7||54||—||—|
|"One Day Closer to You"||24||—||—||—|
|2003||"Just Another Girl"||—||—||—||—|
|"Simple Life"||13||73||—||—||Dress Rehearsal|
|2004||"Die of a Broken Heart"||52||—||—||—|
|"Head Over High Heels"||—||—||—||—|
|2006||"Crybaby"||—||—||—||—||Love & Negotiation|
|"Love & Negotiation"||—||—||—||—|
|"Taking Back My Brave"||—||—||—||—|
|2007||"Got a Good Day"||—||—||—||—|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
|2010||"Let Me Introduce Myself"||98||Love Rules|
|"The Whole Thing"||—|
|2011||"Stop for Me"||—|
|"I'd Still Have You"||—|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
|2001||"America the Beautiful"||Various||58||Non-album song|
|2001||"America the Beautiful" (Various)||Marc Ball|
|2002||"I Don't Want You to Go"|
|2004||"Simple Life"||Steven Goldmann|
|2005||"Dress Rehearsal"||Margaret Malandruccolo|
|"I Wouldn't Want Christmas (Any Other Way)"|
|2010||"The Whole Thing"|
|2011||"Stop for Me" (from XM Sessions)||Steve J Murphy|
|2012||"Baby I Know It" (with Johnny Reid)|
|1999||"I'm Yours"||Linda Davis|
|"Single White Female"||Chely Wright|
|"After a Kiss"||Pam Tillis|
|"Squeezin' the Love Outta You"||Redmon and Vale|
|2001||"Downtime"||Jo Dee Messina|
|2001||Canadian Country Music Association||Female Artist of the Year|
|SOCAN Song of the Year ("Complicated")|
|Single of the Year ("Complicated")|
|Album of the Year (Room with a View)|
|Chevy Trucks Rising Star Award|
|2002||Academy of Country Music||Top New Female Vocalist|
|Juno Award||Best Country Artist/Group|
|Canadian Country Music Association||Female Artist of the Year|
|Single of the Year ("I Don't Want You to Go")|
|CMT Video of the Year ("I Don't Want You to Go")|
|2004||SOCAN Song of the Year ("Die of a Broken Heart")|
|Single of the Year ("Simple Life")|
|Album of the Year (Dress Rehearsal)|
|CMT Video of the Year ("Simple Life")|
|2006||Female Artist of the Year|
|2007||Female Artist of the Year|
|2012||Female Artist of the Year|