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Boyfriend (Greg Johnson song)

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Single by Greg Johnson
WrittenJuly 2017
RecordedFebruary 2019
Duration3 minutes 51 seconds
VocalGreg Johnson
InstrumentalGreg Johnson
DateNovember 8, 2018
LocationMoles, Bath
PerformersJack Connor (drums), Petros Christoforu (bass), Jackson Clark (keys), Adam Daly (lead guitar), Greg Johnson (rhythm guitar & vocals)

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"Boyfriend" is a song by British singer-songwriter Greg Johnson, released as his debut single on February 22nd 2019.

Background and information[edit]

'Boyfriend' has its origins in July 2017 and was written on keys, at Johnson's home in Bournemouth, Dorset. The original voice note that Johnson made was on 17th July and is 05:17 minutes. It starts with Johnson saying 'Quite Mike Posner, really. The chords are Am and then F and then Eminor', before he goes on to sing the chorus. The original chorus lyrics and melody were slightly different, however, involved the 'woah, yeah, yeah's', that have become synonymous with crowds at Johnson's gigs. Shortly after writing, Johnson produced a demo, some of which, such as the keys and backing vocals, were used on the studio recording.

Lyrics and music[edit]

The lyrics were inspired by the downfall of a friendship and romantic relationship, between Johnson, his friend and her boyfriend. In a recent TEDx Talk he hosted in 2019, he described his writing process as a songwriter, focusing Boyfriend:

"Around the time, a lot of my own personal inspiration shifted very much from what I'd gone through directly, to very much what others had gone through and kind of with my own spin on it. I was close friends with someone back home and she was going out with this guy, and [he's] not a great guy, bit of a hard piece of work, was unfaithful and all these things, and we'd chat about it and one of the things she said which struck me, she said 'I just wish I could find a guy like you' and I said 'well, I am a guy like me'. Did she understand that? Probably not, but through talking about stuff like that, later on, we both fell out [about her relationship]...most friends would go 'oh, I tried my best' but for me, it was very much 'I tried my best, but let's pick up the guitar and see where this goes'. It's kind of from her perspective, but at the same time through my own eyes."

The song is written in the key of G# minor with a tempo of 93 beats per minute. Although not a rapper, Johnson added a rap, to give the song something different.

Recording and production[edit]

'Boyfriend' was recorded over two days in Blue Dot Studios, Brighton, produced by Olli Daffarn.

In a video on his Facebook page titled 'The Making of Boyfriend', Johnson uses footage from the recording studio, narrating over it to explain the recording process:

"I recorded my song in Brighton in a studio called “Blue Dot Studios”, which is a fantastic place to work, right by the seafront, so it’s really inspiring, and really nice, homely and kind of the environment I needed to record the song. In terms of recording, we used the original demo I had and took certain elements, such as the backing vocals and other main kind of bits, such as the piano and stuff like that, to really build from that and to create something new."

Music video[edit]

There isn't currently a music video for 'Boyfriend', however, Johnson uploaded a live version with his band to his official YouTube, filmed at Komedia, Bath, in December 2019.

Live version[edit]

Johnson usually closes his sets with 'Boyfriend', with notable performances being at Moles and Komedia in Bath.

The live version is slightly different to the studio recording. At 98BPM, it's faster than the studio recordings speed of 93BPM. Both versions are in the key G#m, however, Johnson sometimes plays it acoustically in different keys, including F#m and Am. Since Jackson Clark left Johnson's live band, the instrumentation currently has no keys, instead having Johnson on electric guitar, alongside drummer Jack Connor, bassist Petros Christoforou and lead guitarist Adam Daly.

The song starts with a count-in by Connor, usually with Johnson singing something, such as 'yeah' or 'here we go', before the song begins. The song opens with Daly playing a lead guitar line of the vocal melody from the chorus.

Lyrically, Johnson sometimes drops the lines 'that's a lie' and 'here's goodbye', instead singing the lines before and getting the crowd to sing the dropped lines back, in a form of call and response.

At the end of the live version, there is a guitar solo, written by Johnson's live band lead guitarist, Adam Daly.


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