Every child dreams of becoming big one day. Every child in the world has at one time or another had visions of greatness and becoming the next big star. For a Willacoochee native, that dream comes true.
Willacoochee and Atkinson County were well represented last week as Clint Johnson, former Willacoochee resident and Atkinson County Class of 2016 honor graduate, performed live at the annual CMA Fest which is held annually in Nashville, TN. CMA Fest is the longest running country music festival in the world with over 80,000 attendees each year.
Johnson, who performs under the stage name Rvshvd (pronounced Rashad) moved with his girlfriend, Angel Rewis, to Tennessee last year to try to achieve his dream. Growing up in rural Atkinson County, Johnson was like any other kid; he wanted to be a star.
“When I was in 4th grade, we got to watch the Like Mike VHS,” Johnson said. “At first they played the Lil’ Bow Wow music video and I knew then that was what I wanted to do when I grew up.”
From then on, Johnson would pursue music for the rest of his younger years.
“For Christmas when I was 12, my mum gave me an mp3 player,” Johnson said. “I played with it and found it had a recording function. I would go to the library and take a blank CD, download a bunch of instrumental rap songs, put them on the CD, I’d take it home and play them on the CD or DVD Player I’d put one headphone in front of the speaker and rap into the other I did this for a little while until I saved enough money for a microphone.
After working with his dad and saving his money for a little while, Johnson bought his first microphone, and things just kept growing from there. At first, Johnson focused on a fledgling rap career and never really considered a future in country music because, as he put it, “I never really liked it.”
“My dad always played country music, and I didn’t like it. One day a Keith Urban song, ‘Sweet Thing’, came up and made me realize that country music wasn’t so bad. That’s where I got into country. . Not that much, but a little bit. I just liked that song I guess. One day when I was working with my mom, we could watch TV in waiting for the bus. I was walking back between VH1 and MTV. One day I stopped on CMT and something hit. That’s when I really decided to like it. In 2017, I decided to m “write a country song like I’ve never had before. A friend told me I had to do an EP. I made one and released it and had a great reaction. Writing Country Music was easier because that’s who I am. I didn’t have to pretend.
Johnson then graduated from Atkinson County High School with honors in 2016 and then attended ABAC in Tifton from 2016 to 2020. Johnson was studying to be a music journalist but the demand for that field was so low that he decided to build on his regional success and move to Tennessee to try to further his career.
Once the move is complete. Rvshvd (Johnson) would get opportunity after opportunity. He took advantage of this in May 2020 when he signed his name to a recording contract with EMPIRE Records.
Johnson was asked why he performs as Rvshvd and why he spells it so differently.
“Rashad is my middle name,” Johnson said. “I’ve always liked my middle name more than my first name. In 2018, I was sitting with my girlfriend, Angel Rewis, in her dorm, and she suggested I change the name for my performance. I had need to change it because it was something stupid before. We decided to go with Rashad, but it was too crowded. I played with turning the “S” into a dollar sign, but that was stupid. Angel suggested turning the ‘A’ upside down and making it a ‘v’, and we did. You don’t see a lot of country artists with a different name like that I almost went under ‘Clint Johnson’, but you don’t see a lot of country artists with a different name, so I stuck with Rvshvd.”
Johnson was also asked how it feels to be able to perform at CMA Fest and what motivates him. Johnson replied, “It was good. It’s something I’ve been working on for a long time. To be recognized by the Country Music Association is great. Like, at this point, it’s not just about making TikToks and doing YouTube covers or whatever, that’s my job and I can finally do what I love. One thing that keeps me going is that this area is not promised. No matter the amount of work you put into it, one day something can go wrong and you can lose it all. My girlfriend keeps me motivated to plan a future with her. I work hard for my parents to give them the best. I am very introverted. I stay myself and don’t talk a lot. Music allows me to say what I want to say.”
When asked what advice he had for anyone else dreaming of becoming a musician, Johnson said: “Nothing is impossible. You have to do what you want to do. Don’t try to please other people. Don’t do not what everyone wants you to do. In the end, everyone will have an opinion, but the only one that matters is yours.
Rvshvd currently has several singles available online and has been featured in songs with other artists such as Colt Ford, Dan Tyminski, Trey Lewis, Cooper Allen and the legendary Vince Gill. He is working on releasing an official EP and is currently featured on every platform you can stream music to. You can also find him on his TikTok account @itsrashad, on YouTube @itsRVSHVD and Instagram @itsrvshvd.
Rvshvd is the son of Michael and Patricia Johnson of Willacoochee.