New York is a Mecca for actors, songwriters and musicians trying to become the stars of tomorrow. With so much talent arriving each week, we mustn’t forget that there are lots of very talented performers born and raised there. Jalib Johnson certainly qualifies for a spot on that list.
He was born in upstate New York but moved to Harlem when he was nine. The vibe was quite different, and so Jalib searched for a way to blend in. A friend had started rapping so Jalib decided to join in, even though he wanted to be a comedian at the time. He continued to practice rap until he started high school.
He went to a performing arts school and began learning to sing and play the guitar. He found he had a lot of talent, as well as that natural charisma that is vital for any kind of performer. As he progressed through school he began working for an acting company. He found a lot of opportunities to book jobs by being media savvy and an expert networker. One of these connections got him an audition for Shakespeare In The Park, and he got the starring role.
A big part of Jalib’s self-promotion occurs online. He’s worked hard to carve out a presence on Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr and even if he’s only posted a few videos to YouTube personally, there are loads posted by others. A great example is the video above, where Jalib plays the guitar and sings This Is A Man’s World on a subway platform. It’s not produced or edited, it’s just Jalib and his guitar, entertaining passengers as they wait for the train.
They appear to be pretty grateful and in awe of his talent if his guitar case is anything to go by. This video was uploaded in 2019 and has been viewed 35.7 million times since. It has been liked 1.5 million times and YouTube viewers are losing their minds over his talent and the fact that he doesn’t have a record deal yet. This comment sums it up perfectly, “Wow!! I’m blown away someone please sign him those riffs are phenomenal I felt it in my soul and his voice is mesmerizing I got to go listen to him one more time.”
Jalib demonstrates extraordinary talent in this video, and many viewers compare him favourable to James Brown and Jimi Hendrix, high praise indeed! Particularly as he is still so young. Jalib attends university at Hunter College. He took a semester off to get his head straight before going back with plans to major in physics. It may seem a strange choice, but science is what got him into college. Chris Emdin, a professor at Columbia University, started a program targeted at the inner city. The aim is to get them interested in science using hip-hop. They run a competition to create songs or raps about science and Jalib’s composition about kinetic energy won.
At this point, Jalib has so many strings to his bow it’s impossible to predict his future. However, he’s so talented that he’ll make a success of whatever he does. If you would like to see more from Jalib Johnson, you can follow him on Facebook or Instagram.