New York, NY -- As the singular most successful songwriter at work today - whose tunes have been brought to the top of the charts by Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, and at least 50 more artists over the last decade, including Whitney Houston, Jennifer Hudson, Jessica Simpson, Usher, Chris Brown, Toni Braxton, Tyrese, Enrique Iglesias, Aaliyah, Faith Evans, B2K, Ciara, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia, and Mario - what do you deliver for an encore, after winning the Best R&B Song Grammy Award for the past two consecutive years?
In the case of 26-year old Atlanta native Johnta (pronounced "John-tay") Austin, the highly anticipated arrival of his debut album OCEAN DRIVE on mega-producer Jermaine Dupri's So So Def/Island Urban Music label is the fulfillment of a dream that's lasted half a lifetime.
Set to arrive in stores September 4th, OCEAN DRIVE gets off to a fast start with the new single, "Video." With a big up to the club scene, the infectious new single features Atlanta-based rapper DJ Unk.
Also guesting on the album is Jadakiss, on the soulful ode "Turn It Up," which earned big adds at radio back in late 2006 (and a popular video on BET, BET-J and VH1-Soul).
Mary J. Blige joins on "Hood Love," described as the story of two people who "fight more than they get along…but at the end of the day, really love each other…" Ms. Blige's "Be Without You" of last year brought Johnta one of his two Best R&B Song Grammy Awards.
Johnta's other Best R&B Song Grammy was courtesy of Mariah Carey's record-setting 2005 single, "We Belong Together." In fact, Johnta and Mariah co-wrote all four U.S. chart hits from her phenomenal 12-million selling album The Emancipation of Mimi, including "Don't Forget About Us," "Shake It Off," and "It's Like That," as well as the Europe-only "Get Your Number" (featuring Dupri), and Ultra Platinum Edition bonus track "Makin' It Last All Night (What It Do)" - all six of which were produced by Dupri.
With a groove that is reminiscent of the finely-crafted work of such soul icons as Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross and in more recent times, Al B. Sure, OCEAN DRIVE also boasts production work by Teddy Bishop ("A Mess") and Jazze Pha (the chill cut "Mutual"). The balance of the tracks are produced by Dupri.
Over the past eight years, as many as 100 combined chart single hits and album tracks, by more than 50 artists, were written by Johnta Austin, one of the most prolific track records in contemporary music publishing. In addition to the aforementioned hits by Mariah, Mary J., and Tyrese, a sampling of Johnta's biggest and best includes: "A Public Affair" (Jessica Simpson); "Get Gone" (Ideal); "Miss You" and "Come Over" (Aaliyah); "Just Be A Man" (Toni Braxton); "Let's Stay Home Tonight" (Anthony Hamilton, Raheem DeVaughn); "My Baby" (Jagged Edge/Bow Wow); "Like You" (Bow Wow/Ciara); "True Love" (Faith Evans); and "Excuse Me Miss" (Chris Brown).
After working together on The Emancipation of Mimi, it was Jermaine Dupri's idea to present Johnta as a solo artist. Taking time to ensure that Johnta's first album would reflect the span of his skills as a soulful vocalist, songwriter and producer, Dupri has supervised the creation of OCEAN DRIVE from inception to release.