Johnson was a Malayalam score composer, singer and music director, who is popularly known as Johnson Master. He is best known for some famous movies like ‘Koodevide’, ‘Oru Minnaminunginte’, ‘Njan Gandharvan’, ‘Ponthan Mada’, and many more. He was regarded as one of the finest composers of the industry.
He is two-time National award and five times Kerala State Film Award receiver. He was born to a bank employee in Thrissur, Kerala. He did his schooling from Trichur and was a singer in the choir of St. Sebastian Church. He started learning Harmonium and Guitar from his friends while growing up. He used to perform in many concerts with local groups.
He used to sing in a female voice in the local stage shows. Johnson, along with his friends, formed a club. It was named ‘The voice of Thrissur’, and Johnson was the lead instrumentalist. With the increasing popularity in Kerala, this group has 50 members.
They used to play for many famous singers including Jayachandran, who later introduced Johnson to G. Devarajan. G. Devarajan was one of the very famous music-composer of the South Indian film industry then. He liked Johnson so much that he took him to Chennai. Johnson started assisting him in composing and film scoring.
In 1978, he started his career independently by composing the film score for the movie ‘Aaravam’. His first soundtrack composition was for the movie ‘Inaye Thedi’. He became famous from the songs in the movie ‘Premageethangal’. He did a song ‘Aadivaa Kaatte’ for ‘Koodevide’ movie with director Padmarajan.
This song became historic for the Malayalam film industry. He then worked with Padmarajan for another 17 films. He did 25 films with director Sathyan Anthikkad.
After a long career, he didn’t work from 2000 to 2002. Then in 2003, he did background score for the movie ‘Parinamam’. In 2004, he sang a song composed by AR Rehman. He then worked for the film ‘
Photographer’ in 2006 and won many awards. He has released 4 non-film albums too. In 1989, he released his first album ‘Sneha Deepika’. In 2011, Johnson died due to a heart attack.
At the time of his death, he was composing for 4 movies which were later completed by his daughter
Shan Johnson. Shan was a trained singer. Johnson has worked for 300 Malayalam movies during his life span, and he was the first music director of Malayalam film industry to be honored by National Award.