In Memory of Michael Johns: One Year Later

Date July 31, 2015

Michael Johns 01

October 20, 1978 – August 1, 2014

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” – Thomas Campbell, poet

Trying to convey into words what needs to be said can become one of the most challenging things to do. Like a tidal wave, realization pours over with the understanding that words can often be considered inadequate when portraying with justice the gravity of loss and devastation we all truly feel.

When Michael Johns passed away last year, it carved a hole in everyone who knew and loved him. A kind and warm soul, the Australian crooner and former American Idol contestant was an incredibly generous, congenial, and optimistic individual who meant a lot to so many of us.

With the one-year mark now here, there is also a “new normal” that has cascaded into each of our lives. Life goes on, but the pain of a person’s death does not simply exit because of timing. It stills hits hard for many today knowing that Michael is no longer with us in this world. It’s a shock and an unfathomable reality that is still taking its time. A mere photograph, a tweet, or random shuffle of his tune on an iPod says it all: We really miss you.

Michael was so much more than a singer and affable personality to his fans. He was a caring husband, a thoughtful son, an animated brother, and a supportive friend. Moreover, someone who just loved life for what it was. He was also, one of the most out-going and hilarious people we knew, treating everyone he came across as a friend. His passing has shown so much to us in this past year that it is perplexingly astonishing to think one single soul like his could bring people from around the world together through love, acceptance, and connection. It is remarkable to witness, be a part of, and just a true testament to the kind of person he was.

The community of MJO got closer in the past year, forging unbreakable bonds and establishing solid familial relationships that stand the test of time—all thanks to the warmth and heart of Michael. Even though death parts us, it is a moment in time that deeply connects us through all aspects of life. The heart Michael shared with all of us through conversations and his music was a wholesome kind of love. It knows no bounds and reaches far beyond this physical world because that kind of love is universal and transcendent.

There are people who come into our lives and never leave our hearts—the ones who are the hardest to bid farewell to. When grieving the loss of our beloved Michael, we can be thankful in the consciousness of how blessed we must have been to know someone so hard to say goodbye to.

On behalf of all of us at MJO, we truly miss you Michael. You touched all of our hearts in an extraordinary way and we will never forget you.

R.I.P, friend.

Tania Hussain

{Image Credit: American Idol/19 Entertainment]


Up On The Stovetop – Michael’s Beloved Puddy, Brings Christmas Smiles

Date December 24, 2014

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We all knew Puddy was a little Frenchie star, but now he’s in a hilarious little Christmas music video that is bound to bring smiles to everyone who watches it! You will recognize the children’s Christmas song 🙂
Puddy was fabulous on set, nailing perfectly all the scenes in under an hour..he definitely took his acting job seriously!!
Puddy is adorable and shines so brightly, definitely making everyone grin from ear to ear…kinda like his human Papa.
WELL DONE PUDDY!!! Your Papa, Michael Johns would be so proud of you.
Huge thanks to Puddy’s Mama, Stacey for this wonderful gift.

Please share this video everywhere so all the fans and friends can enjoy some holiday fun!
As MJ always said, #PuddybringsSmiles
Very true MJ!!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

A Fan Tribute for Michael Johns

Date October 19, 2014

In honour of Michael, fans from all corners of the world, got together to share light and love for the man who touched all of our lives in such a special way and left us so many beautiful memories, friendships and amazing music.

Many, many thanks to Kristen, a long time fan, who has mad video skills for putting this all together. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

MJ…this is for you, with much love from all your fans. You will stay in the hearts of all who loved you forever, XO.

Inside the Touching Tribute to American Idol’s Michael Johns

Date September 24, 2014

Stacey MJ Tribute

News of Michael Johns’s death came as a shock in August. A month and a half later, his family, friends and fans gathered to celebrate his life in music.

“I wanted it to be like a rock ‘n’ roll celebration,” the American Idol fan favorite’s widow, Stacey, tells PEOPLE of the memorial, held Monday at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles. “I was surprised at all the people who reached out about singing.”

The night was hosted by Johns’s friend David Foster, the legendary producer, and included performances by Idol alums Ruben Studdard and Brooke White, as well as Katie McGhie, Air Supply’s Graham Russell, the E Street Band’s Steven Van Zandt and Chicago’s Peter Cetera.

“It’s been very emotional to put together, but it has been somewhat therapeutic as well,” Stacey says. “It’s been overwhelming to see how much people loved him.”

Read the rest of the story at People Magazine.

I was so honoured to attend Michael’s celebration with a few other fans. We were asked to make some noise for Michael by David Foster. The sound was deafening and I don’t think the El Rey Theatre has ever had so much love or one person inside their walls. It was a night made of precious memories…I just know he was celebrating with us!!! – Jane


Be a Part of a Very Special Michael Johns Video Tribute

Date August 14, 2014


Limitless undying love, which
Shines around me like a million suns,
It calls me on and on across the universe

Please join us in making a very special video honoring Michael…a video made with contributions from worldwide fans. It’s a tribute of love and celebration of his amazing life and we would love you to be part of it.

We want to find and include as many worldwide fans as possible so it’s important that all of us share this information.

If you would like to contribute to this video, please do the following:

1. Take a couple of photos of luminaries or candles at night or evening so there is “glow”…you can make gorgeous luminaries or have a lovely candle display photographed with your note for MJ saying what he meant to you. Please don’t include any people in the photos….just the luminaries/candles and note. You can include your name if you want on the note.
2. Submit no more than 3 photos (camera phone is also fine) to
3. Deadline to participate is AUGUST 29, 2014
4. Lastly, please include your city and country and we may use it in the credits
5. Everyone who submits a photo will be part of the tribute. Everyone included.

All these photos and messages will be put together with music to create what is bound to be a gorgeous video…how could it not be, with all that Michael love?

We will release the video on youtube to be shared with the world.

If you have questions, leave them in the comments below or ask on twitter @mjohnsonline

Healing, comfort and much love to all. xoxo

Heartfelt Tribute from Maureen Van Zandt

Date August 11, 2014

It’s been a few days since Michael’s passing, but fans and friends have been expressing their love and admiration for the beloved crooner in every way they can. Wife of E. Street Band guitarist and actress, Maureen Van Zandt (The Sopranos) had the privilege and honor of befriending Michael through many occasions and events. The two became great friends and shared not just a mutual affection for music and helping others, but life. Maureen shares with MJO a heartfelt piece about her late friend:

Little Kids Rock's 10th Anniversary Celebration

There’s an old Broadway tradition where, when a theatre luminary passes away, all the theatres on the Great White Way dim their lights at the same moment in homage. For those of us who knew and loved Michael, the lights in our world collectively dimmed in a sudden and horrible way that moment we found out he was gone. It was unimaginable. We had basked in the glow of his starlight for so long that we’d begun to take it for granted. And yes, Michael was indeed a star. The world had just not yet caught up with him.

Our first meeting waslike Michaelhilarious, unexpected, and memorable. Stevie and I had just arrived backstage at the 2008 American Idol concert and were headed down a long hallway when a door opened and out popped an impossibly handsome young man wrapped in a not-so-large white towel. When he saw us his jaw dropped open and he just stood there, frozen. It was the only time I’ve ever seen Michael at a loss for words! I of course recognized him but was so afraid it might turn into one of those movie moments when the person drops the towel that I grabbed Stevie’s arm and led him down the hall away from this poor guy we’d so obviously freaked out.

We met a fully-clothed Michael after the show and quickly found out the reason for his earlier state of shock: he was a huge fan of Bruce and the E Street Band, and couldn’t believe he was in such close proximity to one of “the boys”, as he always called them. It immediately endeared him to me. So did his warm, open, funny, chatty personality. That night led to countless other nights where we were to be endlessly charmed and entertained by the amazing Mr. Johns. Sometimes it was dinners, where way too many drinks flowed, along with way too many laughs. Sometimes he was with the lovely Stacey, sometimes with friends, all of whom clearly adored him. Sometimes it was late nights on our terrace, listening to music and gossiping and telling stories. Wherever it was, with Michael it was always about the music. His passion for it was so huge I thought it might consume him. He had the most vast knowledge of musical history of any person his age we knew, and his taste was impeccable. The first night he came to our house, he immediately and excitedly dragged us to a computer to show us videos of obscure songs by the Small Faces that even Stevie had never heard.  And once he discovered our jukebox that was it. He would play songs for hours, great rock and soul classics.  Sam & Dave. Otis Redding. Sam Cooke.

James Brown. Marvin Gaye. Etta James. Ike & Tina. British Invasion songs of the Sixties. And of course, the Small Faces. He was like a kid in a candy store and couldn’t be stopped. When he was around, you knew it would be a nonstop party and he was not only the DJ, he was the master of ceremonies.

Of all the times spent with Michael, my favorites were of course the Bruce shows we saw together. I would glance over at him and it would bring tears to my eyes because the look on his face was transcendent. He made jaded old me see that show and hear those songs in a new and different way.

And then there were the emails, the texts, the late-night phone calls. Again, all about the music. He’d send new songs, ask advice about offers he’d received, have deep conversations about the joys and anxieties and frustrations of being an artist. If it wasn’t about the music, it was to compliment Stevie or myself on work we’d done, or just to tell me he liked the way my hair looked at some awards show. Or just to say he missed us. He cared about his friends. He cared about his family. And Stacey, who was the perfect rock-solid complement to his wild and crazy soul. And adorable Puddy, to whom Edie was so rude when he came to visit.  He had a huge heart, and as he said once in a song, he wore it on his sleeve.

So many memories flood me as I write this, some that will remain unspoken and close to my heart, some I’ll maybe be able to laugh about when time passes. But here’s how I like to remember him.

In 2012, I asked Michael to sing at the Little Kids Rock Gala honoring Stevie. He was excited to do it, carefully chose his song, and was the usual confident, cheery Michael who couldn’t wait to get onstage and have a blast. Until I told him Bruce was the surprise guest, that is. Then he became a Michael I had never seen. He showed up in NY for rehearsal, luggage lost and a bundle of nerves. He then proceeded to lose his phone, forgot his lyrics at sound-check and hid in his dressing room saying he could not perform in front of Bruce until my sister and my friend practically pushed him onstage. Needless to say, his vulnerability made him all the more lovable. And of course, once he hit that stage he was brilliant. He couldn’t not be. I recall so vividly watching him at the all-star encore, onstage with his hero Bruce, singing his heart out, that beautiful smile lighting up the room. It was where he was supposed to be.

Now I imagine he is up there (or down there) in Rock & Roll Heaven, singing a duet with Steve Marriott and dancing with James Brown while Clarence plays the sax. I have to imagine that or the sadness would be too much to bear.

Yesterday I realized he was the last person to have played a song on our jukebox and I gingerly approached it to see what it was, hoping it would not break my heart all over again. The song: Do You Love Me? by the Contours. It was awhile ago but I  remember now when he played it. He danced like a lunatic and we all laughed.

Do You Love Me?

Yes I do, Mikey. Always.

Follow Maureen Van Zandt on Twitter.

Hold Back My Heart: Eulogy for A Friend

Date August 5, 2014

One of the beautiful things about Michael was his enormously kind heart. It was evident through all the people that knew him, he was an incredibly thoughtful and warm individual who genuinely cared for those around him. Michael’s amiable nature made him extremely congenial and open to meeting and getting to know people. As the tributes pour in, we wanted to share another one by our very own Tania Hussain. Though she only met him once, Tania was fortunate enough to have Michael be a part of her life and growth as a writer as the two kept in touch throughout the years.

An excerpt from her poignant eulogy can be found below:

As I sit here, I don’t even know how to start this. Today has been an odd day and one that I haven’t really actually digested. I woke up feeling energized and happy because I was starting a new chapter in my life, going on to great things and feeling really optimistic. It was the first time in months that I felt this happy and content with myself. It was the first time in months that I felt my heart was finally on the mend and able to move on. Shortly after running some errands this morning, I received news that a friend of mine had died. And he’s not just any friend: Michael was a great catalyst to my life—a muse, you might say. He was someone who constantly encouraged me with feedback, complimented me when he didn’t really need to, and tease me like a big brother if I was being silly. In many ways, he was like a big brother to me and I really loved and appreciated him.

You might have heard about his passing today. A lot of people did. Reason being, Michael was a contestant on the FOX reality show, American Idol during the reality show’s seventh season (2008). Michael was, as society would put it, a celebrity. But he never acted like one. He always made everyone around him feel like they were just as important as all the attention that was put on him. He was humble, grounded, and an extremely down-to-earth person. Michael was charming, funny, sweet, and über talented. He might not have won the show, but he certainly won a great place in the hearts of many who adored and admired him.

Continue reading the rest of this heartfelt eulogy over at Tania’s website.

{Image Credit: Twitter}

Remembering Michael Johns

Date August 5, 2014

Since the news broke this past weekend, there has been an outpouring of love for Michael from his fans all across the world. Many are expressing their fondest moments and memories through the various forms of social media with photographs, blog posts, videos, and more. A particularly touching tribute comes from a girl whose hopes and dreams could adorn the sky, Elizabeth Rosalyn. Elizabeth recalls the first time she ever heard Michael’s voice and the moments she was fortunate enough to share with him.

An excerpt from her touching tribute can be found below:

It is with sadness and anguish that I am writing a tribute in the wake of the sudden and tragic death of a man who meant so much to me, Michael Johns. I can’t even begin to think about what his wife, family, and friends are feeling right now. They have my deepest condolences, love, and prayers.

Michael was a gorgeous person. It went beyond his handsome looks – it was also in his killer smile, his charming personality, his zesty spirit, his kind heart, and his warm soul. For me, it was his sensational singing voice that won me over, first and foremost.

He sang his way into my life with a song. I had just started watching Season 7 of American Idol and was captivated by his beautiful rendition of my favourite Beatles tune, “Across the Universe”. During that moment, I knew I was experiencing the start of something really good. And boy, was I right in that assertion or what?

Continue reading the rest of this beautiful and heartwarming piece from Elizabeth over at her website.

{Image Credit: Elizabeth Rosalyn}


An Outpouring of Love for Michael Johns

Date August 5, 2014


We at MJO, are stunned and devastated at MJ’s passing on August 1, 2014.

Our thoughts of peace and comfort go out to Stacey and family, his many friends, fans and all the people who loved and cherished him.

It’s so hard to convey a thousand emotions in a few simple words.

We will miss you dear Michael. It has been a privilege and an honor to help promote you and life isn’t going to be the same without you. You filled the room with your presence and your spectacular voice and your amazing generosity towards everyone. You touched all of our hearts in a very special way.
You are, and will always be our favourite.
We love you. xoxo


Date February 17, 2014

This new track has a gorgeous spiritual feel.

Michael’s quote describes the beautiful song’s inception.

I woke up in the middle of the night, feeling really inspired. This spiritual song just came straight out. It’s a bit I a departure for me, but when a beautiful song comes along, you have to go with it. I liken it to a George Harrison influence.

For your listening enjoyment…


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