North Texas Daily

Long-jumper Norman Johnson fulfilling music passion off the track

Long-jumper Norman Johnson fulfilling music passion off the track

October 06
10:34 2016

Sophomore long-jumper Norman Johnson closed his eyes as he geared up for his second jump at the Texas A&M Invite. He was convinced he would jump better if he took a moment to visualize and process everything he learned from his coaches.

Seconds later, Johnson was sprinting towards the line to complete his jump, but crashed into a board. The injury resulted in a fractured foot, and shattered hopes.

“That was a scary day for me,” Johnson said. “There was no one I could talk to and I felt alone for a while.”

For three months, Johnson was forced to find a new passion after the medical staff said his recovery time would be delayed.

While in rehab, Johnson indulged himself in music and began to teach himself how to play piano. He eventually learned how to play songs by famous artists such as Alicia Keys, Drake and Rihanna.

“At first it was a bit difficult,” Johnson said. “But once I [caught] the pattern in which the keys were played, it got a bit easier.”

Within a few months, Johnson’s music has branched into many avenues. He is currently producing music throughout the Denton area and is working with Dallas-area artists Yung Nation and singer/songwriter Darius Blackmon.

Also a UNT student, Blackmon and Johnson have developed a good relationship and have even collaborated on a few unreleased soundtracks that will soon be available to the public.

“He practiced almost every day and then it became easy to him,” Blackmon said. “If he stays persistent in his craft he has a bright future ahead of him.”

25/09/2016 Denton, Texas Norman Johnson plays the piano at the Union. Johnson is a sophomore kinesiology major and part of the track team at UNT. He started playing the piano 5 months ago after a foot injury limited his movement. For the past 2 months he has been producing music for a great number of artists. Jennyfer Rodriguez

Norman Johnson plays the piano at the Union. Johnson is a kinesiology sophomore and part of the track team at UNT.  Jennyfer Rodriguez

Johnson has grown to love music so much that it’s become a part of his every day life.

“I use music and producing as an alternative for when the track season is over,” Johnson said, “I want to be to put smiles on people faces, and create a good atmosphere for parties across the UNT campus.”

When Johnson finally got back on the track in April at the Wichita State K.T. Woodman Classic, he felt it was a culmination of all his efforts. After months of therapy and not giving up hope, Johnson was finally able to compete.

Even though he did not place in that meet, Johnson used the experience as a building block.

“Norman is like a little brother to me,” senior sprinter Collin Heard said. “[He] has grown a lot since his freshman year. He is always asking about what he can do to be better as an athlete and has shown major improvement in class and on the field.”

Johnson continues to produce music while carrying a full class load and participating on the track team.

And while he loves jumping, Johnson dreams of one day being able to produce music with his idol, Zaytoven, a famous producer who has worked with the likes of Drake and Future.

For now, though, he has to continue hitting the books.

“I just try to find a balance between it all,” Johnson said. “[Music] motivates me to be happy and make other people happy … I want to able to make an impact at UNT before I graduate in some way. I believe music, education, and God can [steer] me in the right direction.”

Featured Image: Norman Johnson leans over after playing the piano at the Union. He started playing the piano 5 months ago after a foot injury limited his movement. For the past 2 months he has been producing music for a number of artists. Jennyfer Rodriguez

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Trevon McWilliams

Trevon McWilliams

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