November 14, 2017
Dorothy Johnson works as one of the shuttle drivers at UCCS, but in her spare time, she also writes and sings her own music.
Johnson says that she has been singing since she was 3 years old. She remembers one of her early performances was in the first grade, where she sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garlin.
“It’s always been a part of me, even when I’m feeling bad. Music lifts me up,” Johnson said.
Johnson originally got her start in the professional world of music as a young adult by performing in plays and skits.
She then participated in the Gospel Music Workshop of America, which, according to their website is “a Christian organization convening annually, where national performers, recording artists, new and inspiring songwriters, and educators” come together and write and perform gospel songs.
Johnson performs Christian music and has released two albums. Johnson released her first album “I Heard The Angels Sing,” in 1992. The name and many songs on her album came out of her experience while undergoing surgery.
“I was sick and had to go through surgery. It was a lonely procedure,” said Johnson.
“I heard a song in my head while I was under. When I woke up, I heard the nurse say to the doctor, ‘Did you hear her singing?’ I was singing under anesthesia. I gave the CD the name ‘I Heard the Angels Sing,’ and seven songs came from that.”
Johnson does not play any instruments herself as she mostly focuses on the vocal aspect of her music. Her second album, “I’ve Got Something To Say,” was released in 2002. So far, Johnson has sold about 800 copies of her second album.
Johnson feels that music can be meaningful when writing from the heart.
“I feel like when writing, it’s got to be after you’ve gone through something. It could be a joyous moment that changed your life,” she said.
“It can also be come out of heartache. You can write music on something painful, and turn it into something joyous by adding melodies to it, and really expressing yourself.”
Johnson’s music has been played on the radio on the East Coast as well as the Virgin Islands. The UCCS radio station is also interested in playing her music.
“It’s a treat. It’s really a blessing to me for somebody to be so interested in what I’m saying,” she said.
For students who are pursuing a degree in music and are uncertain what to do, Johnson says to never give up. If the desire to sing is there, start training.
“Music calms us when we get anxious or overwhelmed by life situations,” she said. “Not only will you bless other people when they enjoy your music, but it will also motivate them as well as you.”
Johnson is on campus three times a week during the afternoons, driving from Centennial to Alpine and UHall. If students are interested in finding out more about her album and how they can purchase a copy, Johnson welcomes them to ask her about it. Each album is $10 apiece.