Like so many young celebrities today, Jack and Jack were discovered on
the internet. The first gained notice on Vine, to be exact.
Coming from a small town in Nebraska, the hip hop/pop duo consisting of
Jack Gilinsky and Jack Johnson are actually refreshingly different from
some of the other personalities though. Unlike many others whose rise
to fame came via your social media feeds, Gilinsky and Johnson remain
They both have tight-knit families who are involved in their careers and
follow what they are doing. With this support and healthy up bringing,
the young duo continues to bring positive, refreshing messages through
their music, and their tweets, which are seen daily by their ever
growing fan base whose ages ranges from ten and up.
With a combined total of more than 4.6 million followers on Twitter,
Gilinsky and Johnson are capturing the hearts of young teens and tweens
worldwide. Their faces are everywhere from social media to gaming aps
and clothing ads including Mudd Brand, which is sold exclusively at
Kohlís. As a brand ambassador for Mudd, the guys work alongside friends
and other social media stars Ė Sammy Wilkinson and Ally Simpson.
few other projects the young entrepreneurs have taken part in include
partnering with Pizza Hut and Sour Patch Kids Prom. Youíll even find
them doing Dell ads in your local movie theaters.
Gilinsky and Johnson started out making videos and vines for fun. As
they uploaded more videos, they gained more followers and got more and
more likes. Their popularity skyrocketed. With this rapid fame, J&J
soon joined a popular social media tour with other artists doing the
same things they were doing. They travelled across North America
performing with nearly a dozen other artists.
the midst of these tours, J&J found their musical calling and starting
writing and producing music. Both Jacks also play instruments. They
co-wrote with the Eakins brothers and in January 2014 they released
their first original song ďDistance.Ē It reached #7 on the iTunes US
Hip Hop Charts. Once the duo felt they were in a good place creatively,
they left the tour to follow after their own goals.
Life has certainly changed for the guys in the last few years. Now that
theyíve released nearly a dozen other songs and theyíre performing in
front of over 10,000 people, the boys have changed their zip code from
one in rural Omaha, Nebraska to one in sunny California. Relocating to
Los Angeles has offered J&J more opportunities for growth in their music
career, as well as opened many doors in the entertainment industry.
The boys continue to find success with their music releases, selling
well over a million downloads on iTunes including with their new release
ďCalibraskaĒ which soared up the iTunes charts the day it was released.
Now touring on their own, J&J partnered with DigiTour, another popular
social media tour, to help plan their first tour. They scheduled 18
dates. They sold out all but four.
Earlier this year,
J&J hopped across the pond and opened for the Janoskians in their London
performance at the famous Wembley Stadium. Theyíve continued to write
music and are spending the summer of 2015 touring with multiple solo
performances and some additional tour stops for DigiTour. They also hit
the stage for the Show of the Summer (SOTS) alongside Shawn Mendes, R5,
Jacob Whiteside, Sabrina Carpenter and Mahogany Lox, which is where we
caught up with them to chat.
How are you guys today?
Weíve never spoken to you before can you tell us a little about what you
I mean we do a lot, but our main focus right now is music. We are really
focused on making it. We are coming with a four-five song EP for our
fans. We like to make music for people that listen to it!
of that, Iíd say we just love entertaining in general. We started making
sketch videos online. Thatís kind of our come up, you know! Thatís what
we started doing! We never want to isolate that part of us. We always
want to do both. I think entertainment in general is about passion. We
love captivating as many people as possible!
You guys are from the same town. How did you meet?
met on the first day of kindergarten. I was four and he was five. The
reason we came together was that we were wearing the same shirt.
thatís something you become friends over in kindergarten.
we learned that we had the same name as well.
the way itís been since then.
grew up together in Omaha, Nebraska all the way until we graduated high
school. We moved out to LA about six months ago. Thatís where we are
based now. Been with each other from the get-go.
When did you guys meet musically, and decide you wanted to pursue it?
were always messing around. I would always be beat boxing. He would be
coming up with melodies when we were kids. We had this YouTube channel
where we would make song parodies back in sixth grade Ė to like íSexy
Can Ií by Ray J, and íApologizeí by One Republic.
the most random songs!
the top 40 songs! We would be making these song parodies all the time on
YouTube. We didnít really get that many fans from that because we were
sixth graders. Itís hard to accumulate a fan base when you are that
young. Once, we got a little older and vine came around, we started
putting out small six-second musical covers on there, interspersed with
our comedy clips. Those got a really good response from our fans. ďYou
guys should make some actual tracks, go in the studio.Ē We were like
ďweíre in Omaha, Nebraska. We donít know where to find a studio!Ē We had
never thought about that!
some teenagers in our town reached out to us, and were like, ďWe have
seen your covers on vine. Theyíre really good. You should try to make
your own songs, or at least cover a song.Ē
said they had produced. They were like ďYo, if you guys want to come
through and make some tracks, letís do it!Ē So we were like why not just
just try it, and go out on a limb!
we made our first four tracks with these guys. They got a generally nice
response from our fans on iTunes! That just prompted us to go to LA.
Work with some bigger, better producers, and start getting really
involved musically. It has been a really awesome experience. The music
is just getting better. Better quality every day!
How does it feel to have all these people come out and see you perform?
crazy! Not only is it awesome that there are 12,000 people out there,
but just performing alongside of these people Ė like Fifth Harmony,
Shawn Mendes, Jacob Whitesides, Sabrina, R5. They are all really dope
acts. Itís cool to have that association, and itís cool to be performing
on the same stage as them. Itís really awesome, because this is probably
our most important show to date. We have never really performed with
traditional acts. Stuff weíve done has been social media tours and
stuff. This might be a turning point for us where we start performing
alongside these traditional music acts. Itís really exciting and amazing
to be here in Pennsylvania.
is really cool. There are big acts like Shawn Mendes and Fifth Harmony,
who are bigger than us. You know that there are going to be fans out
there who might not know who we are, or maybe know who we are but never
got invested in us. This show could be the reason that they start
following us. We are just really excited to get out there, and prove
ourselves to the people who donít know us.
Did you ever imagine youíd be doing what youíre doing today?
always knew that I wasnít going to work that solid nine-to-five job, do
the same routine everyday. I wanted to switch it up, and have a
different and interesting life! I always wanted to be an actor, to be
honest. Iím happy that I am doing this now. I love performing. Itís the
best thing in the world.
Jack Johnson:Yeah definitely! I couldnít have asked for a better outcome from all
the stuff thatís been going on! Itís been a fun time. We definitely
didnít expect it when we first started doing it, but it did happen. Itís
happening. Itís really cool. We are really blessed!
How was the transition from touring with a bunch of other artists to
touring by yourself for your music career?
really crazy, because at first we were with other acts, other
personalities who were selling tickets alongside of us, so we never
really knew our true power.
didnít know that we could sell out our own venues, just me and Jack,
without the help of the other social media stars that we were associated
when we first put on our 17-city tour for DigiTour, Chicago sold out in
a day or two. We were like this is one of our biggest venues on the
tour, and we just sold it out! That was really crazy for me.
eye-opening! It was the first time we had done something, and promoted
tickets for under our name. It was cool to see that we had our own
devoted fan base, outside of the guys that we were with. That really
prompted us to keep doing things for our fans! Our fans specifically.
Whatís your favorite thing about performing on stage?
of the best things is just the response, the interaction with the crowd.
Like if I am like ďYeahhhh!Ē I give that energy to that crowd, then when
they are like ďYeah!Ē they give it back to me! Itís just a back and
forth thing. Itís so great! At least with our demographic of fans. They
are very responsive.
awesome, because they are so interactive. If we start telling them to
waves their hands, they will do it. It looks visually cool from the
stage, just seeing that many people waving their hands. Itís back and
forth. Itís just awesome to know that these fans are so dedicated to us
that they will actually interact with us while we are on stage, and get
really invested in our show.
craziest part for me actually is when Iím singing a part, and I see
these girls singing with me. I remember writing these songs in my room
alone with Jack J, and [totally] alone. Now, we are out here where like
12,000 people know the lyrics. Sometimes weíll put the mic down and let
them sing. That gives me goose-bumps every time. We wrote those lyrics,
just me and you in a room, and now thereís thousands of people singing
Jack Johnson:Itís really an awesome thing.
Since you are around each other so much, do you guys have any pet peeves
about each other?
that would really make me give up being with Jack J. But he can be
messy. It gets on my nerves sometimes, but I donít really mind.
letís see! He takes a while getting ready. Just being timely, I guess.
Making sure his outfit is perfectly on point before he leaves the house,
which isnít a bad thing! Got to keep up with appearances, and stuff!
take my time, and over-analyze things.
itís all good. We learned that thatís how the other people are.
Any upcoming surprises?
donít know how much of a surprise it isÖ
have an EP coming out for pre-order sometime this month. Weíre really
excited. We have the artwork for it, and the title for it. We canít
really give that info out yet because we want it to be a surprise. Itís
all one. Itís just about us getting it out there, and packaging it and
what not. Weíre still independent, so there are still some loopholes and
barriers that happen. But itís definitely happening soon. We have the
whole project together. The music is better then ever. Iím excited for
the fans to see it. This is our first project.
Where do you see yourself in the next ten years?
canít answer that question. In fact I canít answer that question because
I donít know where I can see myself in two months, to be honest. Our
schedules are so sporadic, and we have so many different passions, itís
really hard to say what our passions are going to be in ten years. I
know weíll still be doing music, and weíll still be a duo, but I donít
know exactly what the circumstances around that are going to be. We love
what we do, and even if we are doing the same thing we are doing now in
ten years I would be happy, because we have the best fans in the world.
Screaming at our shows, thatís the best feeling in the world.
hope itís something along the lines of what we are doing now.
fame everything you thought it would be?
I donít really consider myself ďfamous.Ē But, there are certainly pros
and cons to being so well-known. I love interacting with our fans. But,
at times, I just want to chill with family or friends and really like to
unplug from being recognized and connecting with fans.
could be one celebrity for a day, who would it be?
I would love to be Drake for a day, to play my own music and bump with
my friends at a party.
song youíve made so far?
ďLike That.Ē I feel like this song is moving us closer to the Jack &
do you miss about being in high school?
Being with all our ďDay One HomiesĒ back home.
you could personally witness any historical event, what would it be?
I would love to have witnessed Martin Luther Kingís ďI Have a DreamĒ
comment about your group and who was it by?
I canít connect these comments to any one fan, but we read things like
this a lot. Itís awesome when fans say something like ďI expected you
to be so different in person, but you guys are exactly the same as you
seem on the screen.Ē Or ďI met you guys two years ago and you are the
same today as you were thenĒ. We feel like we are the same people we
were two years ago. But, it really reinforces those feelings when fans
see that we are still real and grounded.
Last question, do you have a message for your fans?
we have many messages for our supporters! One I definitely try to get
across is keep a positive mindset! We always see stuff on Twitter about
how they turn to us for happiness. That we are their outlet, I suppose,
when they hit rock bottom, and feel like they have no one to turn to.
Just knowing that we can make their day, and make their mindset positive
as supposed to negative with maybe a simple favorite or a tweet or just
DMíing them after we read their letter! Thatís the best feeling, because
we know that we can actually physically change somebodyís life every
single day. Not many people have that power! Our message is just to
anybody out there that just feels like they are at a tough spot in life
to keep a positive mindset! Remember that there are people out there
that love you!
your head up. There is always someone that loves you! People that hate
you are just jealous, or they have their own bad life to worry about.
Worry about yourself, and keep a positive mindset! Youíll be good I
for your own personal happiness!