Music was always happening in the Bulford household, so the foundation was already laid for Johnny Bulford to be smitten with the arts; having received an album of Garth Brooks at the age of 11, he found himself mesmerized by the music. At the age of twelve Johnny attended a Brooks concert and at that tender age he realized his calling in life; he looked at his mother and said “That’s what I want to do.” Acquiring a guitar and learning to play shortly thereafter, Johnny started writing songs and by the age of 15 was performing throughout central Florida, even venturing as far north as Alabama. While landing the opportunity to open for touring artists such as Josh Turner and Emerson Drive as they made their way through Florida, Johnny released his first independent album “Southern Thing”.
Battling the love of music and academics, he began attending classes at the University of Central Florida in 2003 as a business marketing major with a minor in English; a self-professed nerd with high SAT scores and a scholar in Florida’s “Bright Futures” program, Bulford handled the demands of academics while performing and promoting his second self-released album “What Happens Here Stays Here”.
In 2004 Johnny entered the Colgate Country Showdown, a nation-wide competition showcasing the best of up and coming talent – making it only to the state level the first time around and to regional the second, the expression “third time’s the charm” proved evident as Johnny won the entire competition of over 50,000 artists from all over the United States and secured himself a prize of $100,000 in 2008 with his original piece “How Could I Not”. During these years he made many trips to Nashville, developing relationships with label executives and left them wanting to hear more. He became actively involved in local charities, such as the Russell Home for Atypical Children, and he was commissioned by the veteran’s group ‘Remembering the Brave’ to write a song for fallen soldiers, which has been played at numerous events for America’s Gold Star families.
With only one more class to finish before graduation, Johnny made the ultimate choice; realizing it was difficult to build a fan base while attending college in Florida, he packed up and made Nashville home. Securing a publishing deal with Warner Chappell Music as a staff writer shortly after his Colgate victory, the ball immediately started rolling for the Florida native.
Still writing and releasing independent music of his own, such as his 2009 independent album “Livin It Up”, Johnny secured his first album cut with “Flashlight”, a song on RCA recording artist Chris Young’s 2011 album “Neon”, co-written by Bulford, Young, and Robert Arthur. Bulford, along with fellow co-writers Jon Stone and Phil Barton, secured his first #1 hit on April 24, 2011 with Lee Brice’s “A Woman Like You”. It was the “game-changer” for Bulford; honored at the 42nd Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Dinner for “A Woman Like You”, Bulford stood on stage not far from his idol Garth Brooks. With his third single “Lonely Eyes” (co-written with Jason Matthews and Laura Veltz) securing itself a position in the Top 5 on the country music charts, Bulford is well-underway to becoming a household name.
Learning new equipment to record music from home, performing at songwriter rounds and churning out hits with Warner, Bulford is building his fan base and working hard to accomplish his dreams – “I’d really love to land a record deal in addition to the publishing one I have. I want to get my own single on the radio. And maybe one day, even as an opener for Chris or someone like Brad Paisley, come home to play the Amway Center. Not in a ‘Hey, how do you like me now’ type of way, but more ‘Hey guys, we did it!’ way. It’s been a long journey so it would be nice to bring it back home.”
When not writing lyrical magic, Bulford can be found on the road performing solo shows. A resident of Nashville, TN, he is captivating audiences far and wide with his showmanship, boy-next-door personality, distinctive voice and beautifully passionate written originals that are reminiscent of greats Vince Gill, James Taylor, and his idol Garth Brooks.