An Exclusive Interview With John Michael Ferrari

Could you share the story behind your latest song and what inspired its creation?

Drawing inspiration from a poignant real-life encounter at a bustling square dance, John Michael Ferrari’s latest single, “Who’s That Girl?” delves into the realms of youthful infatuation and the magic of unexpected connections. The song encapsulates the moment when a wide-eyed 9-year-old boy’s world was forever changed as he stood transfixed by the entrance of a radiant 15-year-old girl, adorned in her finest square dance attire. The boy’s innocent curiosity led him to ask the timeless question, “Who’s that girl?” Little did he know that this fleeting moment would leave an indelible mark on his heart.

How do you approach the process of songwriting, and are there any specific themes or emotions you tend to explore in your music?

When I’m in the songwriting mode, I plan ahead that today I’m going to songwriter and put all other distractions aside. I put all my attention into songwriting. I sit in silence for a while so I can hear my inner creative voice. Then, I start to play my guitar and write down ideas. But, it’s not a one day process. It’s usually a several day or a week process. And, sometimes, by the second or third day, I really get into my magical creative mood and my creativity is more alert.

Love is often the theme of most of my songs. Looking for love, falling in love, being in love, losing love. Also, exploring the appreciation of love and friendship.

As an indie musician, how do you navigate the balance between creative freedom and commercial appeal?

Commercial appeal is different depending upon the writer’s goal. If the goal is to have the song on the radio, then radio structure is most important and the timing of the song comes into play. On the other hand, when one of my songs do not follow a structure, it know it might not have as much commercial appeal. With the guidance of my long time music producer, Pepper Jay, we allow the song to lead us as to structure, tempo, arrangement, lyrics, and length.

What do you find most challenging about being an independent artist in today’s music industry?

The opportunities to the indie artist outright any challenges the indie artist might have. Artist can feel free to write the kind of music he or she wants, especially if it’s experimental. The more esoteric your music is the smaller your audience will probably be. Labels go for “commercial music” like but not identical to what’s currently on the radio. Of course, the lack of funds if usually a factor for the indie artist. A label can and will spend over $100k on an album and its promotion.

Can you talk about your experiences collaborating with other artists or musicians? How does it influence your creative process?

I don’t have a lot of co-writing experience. I co-wrote with John Vestman in the 1980’s and it was a wonderful experience. I also co-write at times with my music producer, Pepper Jay, and it’s always easy. In the past few years, I have experimented with other co-writes and, so far, I haven’t run into the problems that I hear other co-writers have. My most recent co-write is “Workin’ My Way to Nashville” recently released by my indie label, Cappy Records, with the artist Ray Ligon, I originally wrote this country tune about 6 years ago but didn’t finish it. Then, Pepper Jay finished the song about 2 years ago but didn’t think it had the “it factor yet”. Her idea to bring in Ray Ligon to fiddle with the lyrics and music and to be the artist was perfect for that song.

What role does technology and social media play in promoting your music and connecting with your audience?

Social media is now the town square, your gateway to connecting with other people, other than live performances. If down right, you can connect with millions of people. Usually, a strong social media presence requires a financial investment and time. That’s part of being an independent artist.

Are there any particular artists or genres that have had a significant impact on your musical style?

I’m a big fan of the The Wreaking Crew, and also producers David Foster and Quincy Jones.

I grew up listening to 50s, 60s, 70s music and incorporate some of that into my current songs.

Indie musicians often have a close relationship with their fanbase. How do you engage with your fans and build a dedicated community around your music?

There is a large indie artist online international community and Indies connect with each other a support each other and include each other’s songs on their playlists. For example, I discovered today that four of my songs are included in four new playlists, one out of Germany, Australia, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

I find the challenge is to not be so influenced by well known artists and try, instead, to follow our own creativity and instincts. There’s an audience for everyone out there and they will find you.

Also, I use Bands in Town, ReverbNation, and Songkick and other sites to keep my fans aware of my new and performance schedule. All info may be located at

Could you describe a memorable live performance experience or tour that has had a lasting impact on you and your music?

I was asked to perform my let’s all come together song, “Like a Rock n Roll Band” at an Oscar Party on stage in the grand ballroom at the Beverly Hills Hotel. At the end of the song, I saw a lady walking onto the stage carrying a large trophy. Unbeknownst to me, I was being honored for that song as “Peace Song of the Year” to a standing ovation. Was surprising and amazing all at the same time and the appreciation that people feel for my music is humbling.

In an era of streaming platforms, how do you feel about the changing landscape of music consumption and its impact on independent musicians?

Streaming services can play your music thousands of times and make lots of money and the artist can get paid only a part of a penny for each stream.

On the other hand, the music audience has millions of choices at all times for their listening pleasure.