Johnny Rawls is a soul blues legend. In fact, the term “soul blues” was invented to describe his music. With a career spanning more than 50 years, he’s done it all. He’s an internationally recognized recording artist, music producer, and songwriter who tours extensively throughout North America and overseas.
The Blues Music Awards, Blues Blast Awards, Living Blues Awards, and the W. C. Handy Awards have all acknowledged Johnny with multiple awards and nominations, including Soul Blues Male Artist of the Year and Soul Blues Album of the Year. To date, ten of Johnny’s albums have been nominated for Soul Blues Album, with “I’m Still Around” winning in 2019 and “Ace of Spades” winning in 2010. Johnny has been nominated for Soul Blues Male Artist eleven times, and received one nomination for Song of the Year. He also has several awards/nominations from Blues Blast Magazine and Living Blues Magazine. Johnny is honored to be mentioned on two markers along the Mississippi Blues Trail.
Born in Mississippi in 1951, Johnny’s interest in music began in early childhood. By high school, Johnny was playing professionally, backing artists including ZZ Hill, Little Johnny Taylor, Joe Tex, and The Sweet Inspirations. In the mid-1970s, Johnny became the band director for soul singer O.V. Wright, and toured with O.V. until his death in 1980. Wright’s band, under Johnny’s direction, toured for several years as the Ace of Spades Band. Then, Johnny led Little Johnny Taylor’s band. In 1985, Johnny began touring as a solo artist. He has released more than 15 albums since his debut solo album, Here We Go, in 1996.
His 2018 release, “I’m Still Around,” won Soul Blues Album at the 2019 Blues Music Awards. On this album, Johnny returned to his roots in Mississippi Soul Blues. All the songs on this album were written and arranged by Johnny, and reflect his favorite subjects – falling in and out of love, making love, and enjoying and being thankful for life – and prove that he is, indeed, still around and going strong.