Johnny Balik

Soulful singer/songwriter Johnny Balik connects the dots from Ed Sheeran to Justin Timberlake. The Chattanooga-based multi-instrumentalist from Toronto built a following on social media, uploading both cover songs and his own compositions. After the release of his 2015 single "The Meaning," Balik issued a trio of songs -- "My Perfect," "You Make Me Feel," and "You" -- in 2016. That summer, after a fateful meeting with Chance the Rapper's manager, Pat, Balik entered the studio in Chicago with Peter Cottontale of Chance's collective the Social Experiment. The pair recorded "I Need It," a Charlie Puth-echoing, piano-based jam that injected his usual acoustic sentimentality with smoky soul. The song became a hit online, nearing a million streams in the weeks after its release in early 2017. He followed with "Made 2 Love U" and "OMW" later that year. In 2018, he issued "Take My Hand" and "Honey." ~ Neil Z. Yeung

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