In this episode we had the privilege of speaking with Nicole Kearney, the CEO of Sip & Share Wine. Nicole is a Wine Enthusiast and is bringing her passion for wine into your home. She travels to drink wines made by African Americans, then writes about those experiences for her Sip & Share blog, magazines and journals. When she is not traveling or writing o producing for stage, screen or streaming platforms, she can be found pouring wines produced by African Americans, Women and boutique producers, for Sip & Share Wine. For more information: nicolekearney.com or sipnsharewine.net
In this episode we speak with Marcus Johnson. Marcus is an independent Billboard-ranked musician and NAACP Image Award-nominated jazz keyboardist and pianist. He is also the CEO and Founder of Flo Brands, LLC and more recently Flo Wine, LLC. Marcus has combined an eminently successful musical career with his love of wine by marrying the two in a unique endeavor.
Over the last decade, Marcus Johnson has released 15 successful studio albums. On Pandora, Marcus receives 5.1 million spins per year with 2,000 new stations added each month, and his music receives a 74% “thumbs ups” rating verses an average of 56%. Johnson is the owner of a music label, Three Keys Music, and has emerged as one of the young lions of the “DIY” music world. His unique self-taught style of piano play has earned him distinction among his peers, praise from the media and accolades across the music industry. Marcus is on the cutting edge of ‘Euro Jazz’ having formed JURIS, a musical collaboration with acclaimed Parisian DJ and producer Young Pulse. The duo quickly developed a name within the international music community, enjoying large-scale performances and preparing a Q3 release of their latest project entitled “Eiffel Tower.”
Johnson’s FLO Brands, LLC,tm is aptly titledFor the Love Of ; LLC. ™ FLO began as a musical publishing, production, and lifestyle branding company to house all of Johnson’s musical and entrepreneurial ventures. However the scope and reach of the company has expanded delving into winemaking, sourcing grapes and production in California. FLO Brands launched FLO Wines, LLC in March 2012. FLO Wine is capturing the taste buds of wine-lovers from California to South Carolina. To date retail partners in various states include Costco, Wal-Mart, Target, Whole Foods, Giant, Harris Teeter, Renaissance Hotels, Kroger, Aloft Hotels, Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC, Farm Fresh, and Total Wine.
As the owner and brand ambassador, a marketing initiative is currently underway with Johnson’s “Sips & Sounds” performances marrying music and wineFor the Love Of concept. FLO Wine currently offers a FLO Red Californian Blend and a FLO California Chardonnay. As of July 2013 the company is launching its 2011 FLO California Moscato.
A graduate of Howard University, Johnson went on to simultaneously earn both his MBA and Juris Doctorate degrees at Georgetown University. In 1995 during this demanding period at Georgetown, he also decided to independently produce and distribute his first jazz album, Lessons in Love,which sold more than 40,000 units, a major success for an unknown independent artist’s debut release. One year later, he releasedInter Alia,with great acclaim. These two albums led to Johnson signing with N2K Encoded Music with whom he released several CDs until the label was sold in 1998.
Johnson’s success caught the attention of Black Entertainment Television (BET) founder and businessman Robert L. Johnson who invested in Marcus and his newfound company, Marimelj Entertainment Group (MEG). Under their partnership, MEG’s label, Three Keys Music based in the Washington, DC metro area, established its own full service recording studio, Studio 8121; and two music publishing companies, Marimelj Music Publishing and Three Keys Music Publishing. Marcus was responsible for releasing and producing CDs on the Three Keys label for national jazz artists Michael Lington, Jaared Arosemena, Bobby Lyle, Nick Colionne, R&B singer, Alyson Williams and neo-soul songstress Yahzarah and smooth jazz Saxophonists Phillip Martin and Brian Lenair.
While producing music for the aforementioned artists, Marcus also released several critically acclaimed albums:Inter Alia,Chocolate CityGroovin’;Coming Back Around;Urban Groove,In Person: Live at Blues Alley,Just Doing What I Do,Smooth Jazz Christmas andIn Concert for a Cause,all charting at Top 20 or more on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Charts.
Marcus has released 15 Billboard-charted CDs. He has the distinction of having his groundbreaking 2008 Billboard Top 20 Contemporary Jazz FLO (For the Love Of) CDs which consisted of three distinct albums: FLO Chill,FLO Romance andFLO Standards , all charting Top 10 on Billboard Contemporary Jazz Charts simultaneously. Johnson’s previous solo 2007 release, The Phoenix, was widely lauded by jazz critics and aficionados alike and like Johnson’s previous CDs, it peaked in the Top 20 of Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz charts.
Johnson’s next Top 20 Contemporary jazz releases, the unique and multi-facetedPoetically Justified (2009) andThis Is How I Rock (2011) solidified Marcus Johnson as heir apparent to the George Duke and Herbie Hancock style of funky urban groove music. Creatively, Johnson continues to evolve as an artist. With the release of his 2012FLO: Holiday CD and the ongoing collaboration with famed Parisian Producer DJ Pulse – as the musical duo “Juris” – he has managed to maintain his traditional jazz roots, while also remaining on the forefront of the expanding “Euro Jazz” movement. His music continues to enforce and define his musical legacy as a “jazz movement for all people”.
Johnson is also evolving as an innovative wine expert. He resides in the Metropolitan Washington area and is a new father. His daughter Chase was born on September 12, 2012. Marcus is currently featured weekly on Fox News and is involved with community and charity events, including service on the Board of the Boys and Girls Club.
Billboard Top 20 CD Releases:
Lessons in Love (1997 and 2005)In Concert For A Cause (2006)
Urban Groove (2000)The Phoenix (2007)
Comin’ Back Around (2001)FLO: For the Love of Chill (2008)
Inter Alia (2002)FLO: For the Love of Romance (2008)
In Person, Live at Blues Alley (2002)FLO: For the Love of Standards (2008)
In Person, Live at Blues Alley DVD (2003)Poetically Justified (2009)
Just Doin’ What I Do (2005)FLO: Holiday feat Juris (2011)
Smooth Jazz Christmas (2005)This Is How I Rock (2011)
B.A. in Music, Howard University
JD/ MBA, Georgetown University
CEO/President, Marimelj Entertainment Group, Three Keys Music, Three Keys Publishing
CEO/Founder, FLO Brands, LLC, FLO Wines, LLC
Affiliations: Professional Awards, Speaking Engagement, Community Support
Protecting Your Rights
Television and Radio
Featured Commentator: Idol Chatter, Fox 5 News Segment on American Idol - Current
Radio Host: Smooth Jazz 105.
Capital Jazz Festival, Capital Jazz Cruise, Ghana Jazz Festival, Bahamas Jazz Festival, St. Lucia Jazz Festival, Bermuda Jazz Festival, Atlantic Artscape, Huntington Beach Jazz Festival, Trenton Jazz Festival, Dell East, Blues Alley, Blue Note, John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, The Hamilton, Congressional Black Caucus, 100 Black Men of Orlando. , Le Boeuf Sur Le Toit (Paris, France), Carter Barron Theater, Spring Breeze Soul Jazz Festival, Southern Tier Jazz Festival, Centennial Olympic Park Wednesday’s Winedown, Lincoln Foundation “Evening of Jazz”, Low County Jazz Festival, Manassas Wine & Jazz Festival, Spaghettini’s, Jazz Fest West, Silver Spring Jazz Festival, Gardena Jazz Fest, Rams Head on Stage, Temecula Jazz Festival, to name a few.
Performances With: Boney James, Kim Waters, Najee, Alex Bugnon, Dave Koz, Diane Krall, Brian Culbertson, Gerald Albright, Will Downing, Fourplay, Pieces of A Dream, Bobby Lyle, Arturo Sandoval, Alyson Williams, Maysa, Erykah Badu, Peter White, Rich Braun, Chuck Mangione, Marion Meadows, Mike Phillips, Jakeim Joyner, Miles Jaye, Jeffrey Osborne, Chaka Kahn, Peabo Bryson, Jeff Bradshaw, Jill Scott, Charlie Wilson, Kenny G, Kem, BeBeWinans, Alyson Williams, Jean Carne, Norman Connors, Kirk Whalum, George Duke, Jean Carne, and many others…
For more information:
Live Performance and Speaking Clips
http://youtu.be/YkLXSoniUZ4 Spaghettini's 2013 http://youtu.be/rEsN4lAVCs0 Marcus Johnson with Bobby Lyle Pavillion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwRbi7NDxWA Road To Los Suenos http://youtu.be/7OQyrANpPsk Maxin http://youtu.be/Z9Wc8gMmA-I This Place Hotel Live from Germany
http://youtu.be/mKTdpXeUVjk AARP Speaking Engagement