Riff Johnson is a Maine native hailing from the City of Bangor. Riff has played hundreds of shows and in front of thousands of people in Maine and all along the East Coast United States. In addition to playing his own original music, Riff is well known for being a musical encyclopedia when it comes to requests. Check out the "Request a Song" feature on this webpage. Riff is also proficient with a looper pedal, keeping a beat box, rhythm guitar and other effects looped together making himself a one man band! Check out the "Events" feature on this webpage and get out to a show in person! Riff is one of the most talented entertainers to emerge out of New England, He will do his best to play your request and make sure you have a great time at his show time and time again!
Long and the short of it - Bio
Even as a kid Riff was always drawn to music. Back then he was known as Jared Sullivan, which he is still referred to as by family and long time friends. He started playing some basic piano at the age of 8. In middle school playing in concert band Riff learned to play Trumpet, also gaining an understanding of reading music. It wasn't until Freshman year in High School Riff was in awe of Aaron Bradbury a fellow student "riffing" to "Brain Stew" by Green Day. He immediately sat down and asked "Hey, can you show me how to do that?" With excitement Riff bought his brother's electric guitar and amp, since it was just gathering dust at home anyway, and started on his journey to mastering his new found love! But it wasn't easy, actually it was a good solid year of being stuck not understanding a world beyond power chords. It wasn't until nearly the end of his Sophomore year that his History teacher Phil Hendricks took some time to sit down and teach "Wish you were here" by Pink Floyd and pretty much blowing little Riffy's mind with actual guitar chords. Guitar became a big part of Riff's life from that moment on. Always learning and expanding his musical universe, he became quite the accomplished musician.
It wasn't until after nearly 5 years of marriage, Riff felt like something was missing in his life. Always wanting to pursue a career of some kind in music, he was met with opposition from family, religion and his wife. Sad to say, the marriage came to an end, but Riff's music career was just beginning. Being 28 years old, it was a bit intimidating trying to get into a music career, while working a full time job. Riff got to playing out in a couple bands and after a while was encouraged by good friend and mentor Rick Mooney to start a solo career on the side.
Finally at Christmas time in 2008 Riff lost his job and besides making a little money with the cover band was unemployed. This was a huge turning point in his life. Faced with the choice of finding new employment or going all in on the music career, he jumped with what he felt in his heart - Pursue the Music!
It's been such a learning experience, Life being the greatest teacher of all. Going from barely getting by and learning how to thrive has been one of the most difficult and satisfying experiences ever. Now with his first solo album coming out October 13th 2017 "Reinvention" will be a new starting point. Actual intellectual property to get into peoples hands and ears will be the new challenge. Selling albums, merchandise at shows, streaming music, looking forward to possible tv and film placement opportunities, shooting music videos and staying current on social media is the new world of music in this day and age. Make sure to follow, interact and encourage your friends and family to be a part of this amazing journey!
"Why would I want to spend countless hours of my life working for someone else, helping someone else build their dreams, when I have dreams of my own that won't allow me sleep until they are pursued?"
- Riff Johnson
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