Ivan Johnson, showing musical interest at an early age started playing drums at his grandfather’s church.
At the age of 5, Ivan was featured in a talent show with Calvin Lockett aka Biggie Smalls in Uptown Saturday Night. As time went on he kept busy playing for many gospel groups and choirs in the California Bay Area and surrounding areas. He played drums while touring with the Hawkins Family, Yolanda Adams, John P. Kee, the Gospel Elites, and the Caravans. At the age of 15, while learning to play the piano, he was the summer on the sitcom “Just Kidding” on NBC, and debuted playing his first song on piano. A short time after, Ivan played the organ while touring with Hezekiah Walker.
Music is his passion. At age 17, he decided to follow his true inner passion to write and produce music. In 1997, Ivan worked on the production of the movie soundtrack “Phat Beaches.” He had the opportunity to work with artists E-40, Suga T, and Spice 1. It was at the movie premiere that Ivan became with representatives from Quincy Jones Music Publishing. In 1998, Ivan received a publishing deal with Quincy Jones Music Publishing and opened his own recording studio (B-Phatt Studio) in Sacramento, California. He also started touring again, this time with TonyToniTone.
While signed with Quincy Jones Music Publishing, he worked with a variety of artists contributing to their projects including Aaron Sky, Az Yet, and Virtue; and songwriters Juanita Wynn, Eric Dawkins, and Terrell Carter (and many more). Several songs he’s written are held by artists such as Anita Baker, Immature, Mary J. Blige, and Eddie Murphy’s television show “The P.J.’s.” Also in 1998 he organized a band that accompanied world-renowned gospel recording artist Karen Clark-Sheard at the Henry J. Kaiser Center, Oakland California. During the same year, Ivan also toured the country with Kenny Lattimore, in addition to touring Amsterdam and Europe with artist Rasaahn Patterson.
In 2000, Ivan started his own publishing company, Sugalicious. He began working with local choirs and artists in the Sacramento California and San Francisco Bay areas such as Peace Gospel Choir, Arthur Johnson, Huie Lovelady & Unity, James Jackson & VOS and Atlanta Praise, Juanita Wynn, The Wynn Sisters, Robin Hodge-Williams, Virtue, Sharon Wynn-Davison, Melvin E Carter, Sharon Jones, and Harold Pauley & Unlimited Praise; and in the R&B arena, Tony Terry, Jasper, BJ (Regatta Records, Atlanta Georgia), and Leonard Bailey. In 2004, Ivan Johnson signed with Dogg Pound Gangsta (DPG) Recordz and produced Daz Dillinger, Kurupt-Young Gotti, and Tha Dogg Pound (and many more). He still works in this capacity.
More recently, Ivan Johnson founded Yibro Music Group, Inc; and independent gospel record label producing artists with sounds including but not limited to jazz, neo-soul, Hip-hop and R&B, pop ,and progressive and alternative rock.
Currently Ivan is serving as the Music Director of Club Nouveau, Karyn White, Tony Terry, Glenn Jones, Howard Hewitt and Jay King. Ivan is the keyboardist for Smooth Jazz artist Jeff Ryan, Mark Allen Felton, Julian Vaughn, Dee Locus, Jeanette Harris, Tony Exum, Jasmine Ghent and is now the keyboardist for R&B artist KEM.
Recently Ivan have been producing for many artists, including: The Daughters of Christ, Tony Terry, Micheal Jeffries, Robin Hodge Williams, The Deele, Joe Leavy, Jay Logan, The Moore Twins, Kimberly KJ Jackson, EQ, 2 songs on the Robert Brookins Tribute Record, Juanita Wynn, Glenn Jones, Maxine Jones (formerly from En Vogue), Robin J Williams & Peace Gospel Choir, Daz Dillinger, That Dogg Pound and many more.