Sounds x Premiere: Johnny Darlin // Way with Words
The world has a habit of being a cruel and unforgiving place. Humans are shitty to each other. Individual differences make people uncomfortable, and being uncomfortable makes ignorant people angry and afraid. God knows we’ve seen plenty of that over the past couple years. It’s probably why our latest president got elected. But despite all of this shittiness, there’s a lot of positive self-expression pushing its way through the cement and into the sunlight. Johnny Darlin is self-expression in its purest form.
Johnny’s music reckons with reconciling spirituality and sexuality, the difficulty of cementing a sense of self-acceptance, and finding love and beauty in the world along the way.
At the age of 18, Michael Doshier left behind the conservative suburbs of Arkansas for greener pastures. Now, Michael and his trusty keytar make up the Brooklyn-based Johnny Darlin. His latest track, “Way with Words,” is a glamorous and heartfelt tribute to 80s glitter and self-love. The scene set here is a twist of a church service and a classic prom. Couples look, smile, and laugh as Johnny sings in a soothing baritone. People of different races and orientations and identities dance, learn, and just look free. And Johnny himself leads the experience clad in a sequin jumpsuit. The whole video is a big hug to a kid who also escaped a small conservative community to come up to the city and be himself.
Of course, Johnny isn’t alone in his experiences. Some of us need to flee the less friendly places we used to call home for somewhere a little more accepting. Johnny Darlin and I found it here in New York. I’m sure many others are finding places of their own. Hopefully, they’re finally expressing themselves too.