Over the past few months, Johnnyswim has become one of the buzziest bands of the year. The duo, comprised of Amanda Sudano and Abner Ramirez, formed in Nashville in 2005 but their new EP, Heart Beats, is finally getting them the recognition they deserve. Fans of Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers are picking up on this duo’s sound that combines folk, soul and blues. The You Oughta Know artist recently sat down with VH1 for our ongoing Track-By-Track series to give us insight into the creation of and inspiration behind their new EP.
Part one of the two part series will dive into the EP’s first three tracks: “Heart Beats,” “Don’t Let It Get You Down,” and “Adelina.”
1. “Heart Beats”
The duo explains that this song of hope came out of death. Prior to writing the song, Sudano’s mother and grandmother passed and Ramirez lost his father.
“It was kind of this moment of going through a really rough time and the process of feeling like you can’t deal with it to begging God for mercy to realizing that strength is available to you,” says Sudano. “And there are people that are there to support you and realizing you can get through it and it’s going to be okay.”
2. “Don’t Let It Get You Down”
Ramirez says that “Don’t Let It Get You Down” is the group’s most defining track. The cathartic nature of the song can be heard in the song’s booming energy.
“It was when the fog had lifted that we wrote and recorded ’Don’t Let It Get You Down,'” explains Ramirez. “So it almost like a celebration. It was a nice bookend, exclamation point or period. Some kind of a great ending to what really had been quite the ride for us.”
’Adelina’ tells the story of Ramirez’s parents and the time they struggled with being kept apart.
“I told them I was writing a song for them… but I didn’t sing it for them at all,” says Ramirez. “They never heard it until it was completely done being recorded.”
The pair judged the reaction on his parents’ reaction. If they cried, the couple knew they succeeded.
Tomorrow we’ll have part two of our conversation with Johnnyswim and round out the rest of their EP.