Writing L.A. pop in the classic ’70s style, but adding an extra level of jaded irony to the example of such clear role models as Steely Dan and Fleetwood Mac, Johnnie Newman was actually born in New York City, where his parents met while both were in the cast of the long-running soap opera The Guiding Light. Newman began studying guitar at the age of five and by the age of ten he was playing piano in school recitals; he claims the first two albums he bought were the Beastie Boys‘ Licensed to Ill and the soundtrack to Stand by Me, both on cassette. After graduating from high school in Westport, CT, Newman moved on to college, but devoted more time to smoking pot and writing songs than studying, and after recording a handful of electronic compositions in his home studio, he quit school and ended up following in the example of his parents, working on the daytime serial Days of Our Lives. Newman‘s new career allowed him to upgrade his recording setup, and some of his songs found their way to Oliver Goldstein, aka Oligee of the group Ima Robot. Newman and Goldstein began collaborating, and formed the band Tarzana with DJ Lethal (ex-House of Pain and Limp Bizkit). The group didn’t last long, and after Newman parted company with Tarzana, he began embracing his pop influences while writing new tunes on an electric piano. In 2007, Newman released an EP called They Set You Up, followed by his first full-length album, The Golden Coast, in early 2008.