♥ Thank you for speaking with Penny’s Wedding, please tell us more about Johnny Zero.
Johnny Zero was born out of a love of singing, performance and swing. I have always performed, but a few years ago I started doing engagements for care homes and events and that’s when the swing bug really bit me. I live on the South Coast in Sussex with my two boys. I fit in singing engagements whenever I can and use long car journeys to expand my repertoire – currently at over 300 songs.
It’s also great to have Johnny as a kind of alter-ego. The name ‘Johnny Zero’ came from the fact that my name, Jonathan Nulty, in Austrian literally translates as ‘Jonathan Nothing’. There’s a 1940s American song called ‘Johnny Zero’ too, so people do tend to remember it.
I also have the odd distinction as being the first person in the world to put on live-orchestra karaoke! KaraOrche was held in Worthing in 2010 with the National Symphony Orchestra for an audience of nearly 2,000 people – all singing along (following words on large screens) to things like Gloria Gaynor and Robbie Williams, backed by a 28-piece orchestra. That’s probably at the top end of the services we can offer!
♥ What can we expect from your act? What is your musical style?
Flexibility and surprise are the two key factors. I can hog the limelight or be quietly providing background music – from swing to soul to opera. I’m game for anything, except perhaps gangsta-rapping! I try to give as much variety and choice to my clients as possible; after all, it’s their big day. I’m always happy to source and learn new songs if that’s what people want.
It’s swing jazz that I suppose is my forte, though – I love Tony Bennett, Sinatra and Bublé. My voice is tenor, but with age, I find myself managing baritone as well. I’m also blessed with a reasonable falsetto, when required!
♥ How long have you been performing?
I’ve been singing and dancing since the age of 6 – moving from church choir to pop, through heavy metal to opera and now jazz and soul – so that’s 35 years in the business! Johnny Zero has been around for the last 4½ years.
♥ Where does your inspiration come from?
I love to find interesting cover versions of songs whenever I can. I do a big-band version of Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, a rock ‘n’ roll version of ‘Angels’ and a jazz version of The Eurythmics’ ‘Sweet Dreams’. I love it when people find themselves mouthing the lyrics and suddenly realising that it’s a song they know, but in a really different style! I used to write songs too, although none of them have made it through to my current repertoire!
I also like the love songs and ballads – soaring melodies and lyrics that really move you, though I have to say that in my opinion, most of those songs come from the 1940s and ‘50s !
♥ Can you cater for other events?
Through 4Below Productions, the not-for-profit arts organisation I run, we can also offer female vocalists, soul singers, salsa tuition and demonstrations (‘Salsarella’ – which is great for receptions or hen nights) and a special ‘Interactive Human Jukebox’ – where guests select the songs and a vocalist (in a box) performs it live!
We can also provide live musicians and a full disco for any occasion as well.
♥ Have you noticed any popular music trends at the moment?
Vintage is still big, so suits most of my repertoire – stylish and understated with a retro-twist. Also, the popularity of Mr Bublé really helps!
♥ How can we hear your work?
I have a charity CD out in the Autumn, but in the meantime you can hear sample tracks on my website.
I’m also often found out on the streets of Worthing and Brighton, singing for charity!
♥ Explain the booking process.
For all our services, we have a menu-style booking process where you can choose what elements you want for your event and see exactly what each component costs. There’s no VAT and as 4Below Productions is not-for-profit, we like to think our prices are very competitive.
We also have packages available to make things a bit simpler, but client choice is very important to us. I normally meet the couples in advance too, to discuss their ideas and how I can fit in with their plans.
Booking forms can all be found on the website. A small deposit will secure your booking and leave the rest to us!
♥ How can we contact you?
Full contact details are on the website, but I’m always happy to chat through ideas! (on 01903 202767)
Thanks very much Johnny!
Penelope x x