ST. PETER, Minn. (WCCO) – The neighbors on his quiet block may be unaware of his online fame, but Zachary Scot Johnson has developed a national following.
Every day for the past two-and-a-half years, Johnson has recorded and posted a different song to YouTube as part of The Song A Day Project, which has racked up nearly 32 million views in the process.
“Music is everything I have at this point,” Johnson said. “It’s not only what I do, it’s really who I am.”
Johnson, 32, is a singer/songwriter who performs at festivals, wineries and coffee houses. Occasionally he’s the warm-up act for national recording artists.
Since he posted his first video on Sept. 6, 2012, several celebrities have helped his cause.
Actor/singer Jeff Daniels allowed Johnson to join him for one of his sound checks, which became video No. 731.
He’s also shot videos with Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary, actor/singer Creed Bratton of the 1970s group The Grass Roots and the TV show “The Office,” American Idol winner Kris Allen, and singer Lisa Loeb.
He uses his iPhone to record all of his videos, usually in his home. His wife, Megan Flod Johnson, has joined him for a few duets.
Sometimes, he has to record on the road — in a hotel room or backstage — and he doesn’t always feel well when he’s doing it.
“The hardest thing about it, I think, is you have to make peace with the idea that not every day is going to be amazing,” he said. “In a thousand days, they can’t all be winners. There are a couple of duds in there.”
Johnson will post his 1,000th consecutive video on June 2, and said he’s not close to quitting.
“To tell you the truth, it’s been shockingly easy to get to a thousand,” he said. “It really hasn’t ever been hard. I think 10,000 might even be doable.”
Johnson said he gets very little money from the ads that pop up before his videos, but it’s been good exposure for his singing career.
He’ll have an early celebration for his 1,000th video, with a concert May 31st at Como Park.