Fever Taking the Wheel
I had the opportunity to speak to Johnny Orlando last year. At the time, he was collaborating with a bunch of writers and producers. He now says there is no way to describe the feeling of seeing the music he has poured his heart into on Spotify and other streaming platforms. “There's just so much stuff that has happened that I’m so grateful for,” he reflects.
At 8 years old, Orlando got his start covering pop songs on YouTube. 8 years later, he has a devoted fan base across the world. Earlier this year, he released Teenage Fever. The EP showcases a mature pop sound mixed with R&B and hip-hop elements. (His older sister Darian Orlando co-writes most of his songs.) His single “Last Summer” had been released and was then re-released on Teenage Fever. “It's so weird because I remember creating each song and making little tweaks that would make the song’s sound so different,” he says.
“Waste My Time” tells how people don’t want their time wasted unless it’s being wasted by someone special. Orlando describes in the song that he enjoys this person wasting his time. “Everybody has that one guilty pleasure. It's like, you know you shouldn't, but you do it anyway because it's fun. That's just kind of what the song is about and embracing that,” he says of the message of the song that has resonated with his fans and has become their favorite.
With the EP’s release, Orlando embarked on the Teenage Fever Tour this past spring. “Being on tour has allowed me to see so many things, meet people, perform, but also experience different places around the world. It's a whole experience and all the things touring comes with. That is really what makes it awesome. Social media is a really good tool to have because I can see all of the things I have experienced so far in my career,” he explains of the opportunity to be immersed in different cultures on the road. Although social media has ultimately become a way for him to interact with his fans and share his life with them, he thinks that “it's really easy to get sucked up into the whole social-media way of life. Eventually, those problems become bigger than any other problems in your life. My dad and my sister make sure I don't really get to that point. They always give me some perspective once in a while.” In fact, together with his younger sister Lauren Orlando, he has teamed up with The Cybersmile Foundation, affirming that we should be able to enjoy the digitally-connected world without the fear of being bullied, abused, or threatened.
As Orlando tells me that he wants to keep making art and music, he is excited to learn, grow, and look toward his future, spreading joy, love and kindness online and through his work.
Writer: Dylan Worcel
Photographer: Jeff Hui
Stylist: Aliecia Brissett
Stylist Assistant: Tomomi Nakano
Men’s Grooming: Jenna Burrell
Editor: Eiko Watanabe
Special thanks to Koryo Samgyetang (@koryo_samgyetang - koryorestaurant.ca) & EPK Media (@myepk & @epkmedia - epkmedia.com)