Interview with Arnetta Johnson

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Hey there, my weekly Phillies – allow me to introduce you to Arnetta Johnson aka ‘That Trumpet Chic’. Miss Johnson and the trumpet began their relationship at age 13* and her prowess has taken her to the world’s largest stages, including headlining Beyoncé at Super Bowl LVIIII. Now Arnetta has come to Philly, tonight only at the Kimmel Center.

* I played the trumpet for 3 days in elementary school. On the fourth day, the trumpet ran away.

PW: What was the moment when you knew that you were going to be a musician?
Johnson: My sophomore year of high school. My music teacher Jamal Dickerson had all the students look up musicians that were a reflection of themselves. So for me, I looked Black women instrumentalist. This was my introduction to seeing the possibilities of being a musician. Representation is so important!

PW: ‘That trumpet chic’ — love it or hate it when you first heard it?
Johnson Loved it…because I made it up (lol). This nickname stemmed from people struggling to pronounce and memorize my name. I grew tired of correcting people and figured since most people’s go-to when they forget my name is “The Trumpet girl” I may as well swag it out and call myself “That Trumpet Chic”.

PW: When you’re playing for yourself, rehearsing or just messing around, do you hear a specific voice accompanying you or is it just the melody?
Johnson When I play my horn there is always a story, a statement, lyrics, emotions, and melody in my head. Maybe not all at once but just know that the horn is amplifying what’s in my heart.

PW: What’s next? Do you want to try creating a movie score? What’s the next challenge for you?
Johnson: What’s next for me is continuing to push the boundaries placed on me through the roof. As indie artists we’re met with so much pushback. Whether it’s being overlooked, praying to be booked, getting booked with a substantial budget to put on a fantastic show etc…the most challenging yet rewarding thing we can do is, keep going.

Arnetta Johnson, ‘That Trumpet Chic’; Sat March 19, 8:00 PM; Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts – Perelman Theater, 300 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102

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