Tiffany Johnson

This 2019 Amazing Kid has won accolades for her music, now available for streaming

When we first profiled Tiffany Johnson in our Spring 2019 issue, the Stevens High School freshman was preparing for a trip to Nashville to attend Tin Pan South, the world’s largest songwriting festival. A lot of exciting things have happened to the budding singer in the nearly two years since. When asked to fill us in, she chuckles and says, “Where do I start?”

That trip to Tin Pan South proved to be a game changer for Tiffany. She was one of a dozen finalists chosen to perform in a writer’s round on the strength of her song “Paralyzed”—just the type of prestigious recognition needed to boost her confidence and inspire her to release the song as a single after the event. Tiffany experienced mixed emotions when embarking upon this next big step. 

“It’s awesome because you get recognized for your songwriting,” she says. “And it’s kind of scary releasing a first single…so that really helped me and motivated me.” 

Tiffany has obviously gained control of her nerves; since returning from the festival, she has released six singles and a six-song EP, all of which are available on various streaming services, including Spotify and Apple Music. That experience still amazes the teenager. 

“It’s really cool, but kind of weird because I work on these songs for so long and finally get to release them,” she explains. “It’s almost like my little child that the world gets to see now. I spend such a long time crafting them; it’s cool to have people see what I’ve been doing. I hope people can relate to what I’m writing and we can all kind of share that experience.”

Finding her Niche

Tiffany describes her music as “bedroom pop”—a loosely-defined genre characterized by DIY artists recording in home studios. Soundwise, she calls her tunes “country pop with a little bit of alternative” and likens them to a lot of music that is popular on the airwaves nowadays. Tiffany’s current influences include Maggie Rogers, Harry Styles, Kacey Musgraves, Hippo Campus, and her longtime idol, Taylor Swift. Her lyrics delve into familiar topics such as love and loss, and are based on the young singer’s own experiences.

I feel like I have to tell stories as honest as I can,” the musician explains, elaborating on her songwriting process.

“The main story I draw from something I feel or experience. I may exaggerate on details or sing some things to fit rhyme scheme, but I do try to be honest to what I’m feeling because I know that other people go through the same things that I go through.”

In addition to recording, Tiffany has attended several camps and seminars in Nashville in order to network with like-minded singers and songwriters, and performed at numerous shows and events locally with her new band—at least before COVID-19 largely put a stop to live concerts. The pandemic has temporarily halted her frequent travel to Nashville, but her long-term plans still include a move to the Tennessee city known as the “Songwriting Capital of the World” once she graduates from high school. In the meantime, she is doing as much as she can to stay connected with musicians in Rapid City. Tiffany says the local music scene is bigger than many people think, and everybody supports one another. 

“It’s cool to meet other people who are influenced by the same scene and playing the same places,” she says. “You really get to know people in the community. It’s really supportive even though it’s not giant.” 

Support Means Everything

That support isn’t limited to musicians; her close friends and family are proud of Tiffany’s hard work and talent—and perhaps a little surprised by the amount of time she continues to devote to recording and performing. “Even when there are down times in my life I keep going for it,” she says, “And my parents are constantly like, wow—you’re so good at this!”

Tiffany is currently halfway through recording her next EP. She plans to release that eventually and hopes to be able to return to Nashville in the foreseeable future. She’d also like to keep performing and is encouraged that places are starting to open up again and hire singers. Her long-term goal remains unchanged.

“I want to move to Nashville and get as big into the music scene as I can there,” she says. “Being able to tour again and reach as many people as possible with my music is my dream!”

If you would like to nominate an Amazing Kid for an upcoming feature, please fill out our submission form on the Black Hills Parent at https://blackhillsparent.com/amazing-kid/

WORDS: MARK PETRUSKA
PHOTOS: JESSE BROWN NELSON