As One Of the Stars of the Emmy-Winning A&E Series, ‘Born This Way,’ JOHN TUCKER Discusses His Music Career!
Posted On 15 Sep 2017
John Tucker currently stars as one of the leads on the EMMY winning A&E television series “Born This Way.” The series follows the lives of a group of young adults living in Southern California with Down syndrome. John is known on the series for his outgoing personality and can be a bit of a fun-loving trouble maker.
John was born and raised in Los Angeles and considers himself a true Angeleno. A proud African American, John was raised by his parents Joyce (a former airline industry employee) and John (who worked at Boeing Aircraft until retiring in 2002) and three sisters. John lost one of his sister, who he was very close with, to kidney failure in 2005. This devastated John as they were extremely close, often getting into trouble together. John’s parents are also featured prominently on the series “Born This Way.” John did not attend a special needs school but rather went through traditional schooling where he blended in well with the other students and made friends easily. He was very popular due to his outgoing personality and was a runner-up for Homecoming King his senior year.
John always enjoyed performing and participated in dance and began acting during high school with the Born To Act Players. With Born To Act (which John is still a member of today), he would perform in at least two plays a year while simultaneously performing all over Los Angeles with his dance troupe called Straight Up Abilities. John always had a love for music, especially hip hop, which developed into his writing his own lyrics. Once it became apparent John had real musical talent, he was partnered with people who helped him add music to his lyrics to develop a catalog of original songs. John likes to write about what he knows so his songs are stories of his life, his neighborhood, and family.
Keeping up with acting and performing is important to John and he is a member of the Performing Arts Studio West in Inglewood, CA. When John’s parents heard about a new series focusing on the lives of adults with Down syndrome having auditions his parents knew John would be a perfect fit for the show. However, not everyone was convinced so John’s mom personally called up the producers of the show to tell them they had to meet with John. This tactic worked and John had an audition. John, and his family continued to audition for about six weeks before everyone received the news that John had been cast in the series which would become “Born This Way” on the A&E network.
“Born This Way,” has completed its third season, has been a critical and cultural phenomenon, winning the EMMY Award for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program in 2016 and is nominated for 6 EMMYS in 2017, including the coveted Outstanding Unstructured Reality Programming category for the second year in a row. Since the series premiered, John has used his exposure of being on the series to help launch his music career. John has performed his rap/hip hop at The Down syndrome Convention in Los Angeles, Orlando, and Louisiana. John has also spoken at meetings for the Los Angeles Unified School District and at a panel in Washington, DC. Due to his contributions in the arts and representing adults with intellectual disabilities, John received a key to the city of Thibodaux, Louisiana in 2016. John was featured, along with his “Born This Way” cast-mates, on the cover of Vintage Magazine in 2016.
John is looking forward to continuing to work on “Born This Way” as well as continuing his acting and music career. John currently has a single and music video for his song.
Learn more about John Tucker in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! How has 2017 been treating you? Musically, did you approach this year any differently then you did last year?
In 2017 I got new beats to go with my lyrics from a cousin who is my mentor. He understands the flow of rap.
What music gets you instantly out of a bad mood?
R & B, hip hop and rap are my favorite all of the time
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
Growing up, I always wanted to be a dancer or a rapper.
If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing?
If I wasn’t a rapper I would be a dog groomer and trainer
I always like to ask artists about where they came from and how that city or town has influenced them as an artist now. So how do you think your hometown has affected who you are as a musician and the art that you create?
My friends in my neighborhood would always welcome me to rap or dance. They were so supportive and treated me like family.
Congrats on all the success your show “Born This Way” is having right now with all the Emmy nominations! What has it been like for you being on this show? What have you learned about yourself from being on it?
Since being on BTW I have learned to develop my own style. I want to become well known in the special community as well as the typical.
What has it been like launching your music career with the help of your exposure from the show?
It’s been fun launching my career with the show because they were able to expose me to avenues I would never have been fortunate to know about.
What was the inspiration for your single “Shake Your Booty” and what was it like working with DSON on it? What was it like writing it? How did it get to be featured on “Born This Way”?
Making the song Shake Your Booty was done with me and a friend Jay who wrote the beats. I like to dance and so the beat was easy to follow.
When do you hope to release more new music and an EP even with a bunch of new songs? How do you think they will be different or similar to “Shake Your Booty’?
Hopefully soon I will be able to release new music that’s easy to dance to.
What was it like performing at The Down Syndrome Convention in Los Angeles? Were you nervous?
The chance to perform at the Downs Syndrome Conference was great to be able to perform in that grand ballroom. It was so thrilling to see all those people stand up and applaud. I couldn’t believe it.
What are your plans for the rest of this summer? Do you have any plans to play out live at all?
No big plans for the rest of the summer. I’ll perform at a wedding and I plan to write lyrics for my new album.
How do you think being a musician gives you the most joy in life today?
I love to see people dance, clap and smile when they hear my music.
Who are some of your very favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
My favorite rapper of all time is Missy Elliott. I love performing with my school mates at PASW and my dance troop Straight Up Abilities. It would be great to do a video with all of them.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
My message is anyone with any kind of disability, even it THEY say you can’t do something, don’t give up if it’s your dream. Keep trying. It may be extra hard but, if it’s your dream it’s your right to go for it.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
I would like to share my love of people and thankfulness for their love for me. If we could all be accepted for who we are and not so much as what we look like. God, love would overwhelm the world.