Johnson, Carolyn Dawn
Carolyn Dawn Johnson. Singer-songwriter, b Grande Prairie, Alta, 30 Apr 1971. Johnson spent her early childhood on a farm in Deadwood, Alta. When she was five years old, her mother enrolled her in piano lessons. As a child she was inspired by a wide range of country and popular musicians, including Trisha Yearwood and Fleetwood Mac. In her teens Johnson moved to Westlock, Alta, and learned to play the saxophone, flute and clarinet. She relocated to White Rock, BC, in 1992 and studied recording engineering at Vancouver's Columbia Academy of Broadcasting. In 1994, after purchasing videos on country songwriting, she joined the Nashville Songwriters Association International; she moved to Nashville in 1977.
Recordings, Tours, Awards
Johnson's songwriting impressed the Nashville music establishment. Scott Siman (Dixie Chicks) became her manager and songwriter, and Matraca Berg recognized her talent. In 1997 Johnson signed a publishing contract with Berg's publisher, Patrick Joseph Music. Her songs were quickly picked up and recorded by artists including Jo Dee Messina, among others. In 1999, "Single White Female," which she co-wrote with Shaye Smith, placed American singer Chely Wright at no. 1 on the US country charts.
In 1999 Johnson received a recording deal with Arista Nashville and its Canadian affiliate, BMG Music. During 1999-2001 she sang backing vocals on Martina McBride's tour. In 2001 she toured with country stars Reba McEntire and Merle Haggard and released a debut album, Room with a View, which showcased songs written or co-written by Johnson. A commercial success, Soundscan described it as the highest-selling debut album in Arista Nashville history. During 2002, Johnson performed on tour with US country singers Alan Jackson and Kenny Chesney. In 2003 she co-headlined Keith Urban's Canadian tour. Her album Dress Rehearsal, which she co-produced, was released in 2004. It consisted mostly of songs written or co-written by Johnson and included "Die of a Broken Heart," a hit.
In 2000 Johnson received the Music Row Magazine Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year award. During 2002 she won the Academy of Country Music's award for top new female vocalist, and a Juno. The following year she received the American Music Award for favourite new country artist. Johnson has obtained numerous Canadian Country Music Association awards; in 2004 alone her second album won six awards. Johnson performed at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry's 80th birthday celebration in 2005.