Key West Splashdown: Johnnyswim

Key West Splashdown: Johnnyswim - A person sitting on a bench - Amanda Sudano

Musical duo’s stardom is on the rise

Over the past three months, the Key West Theater has landed some of the most accomplished musical acts on the planet. And while the reviews have been phenomenal, none of those shows offered an opportunity for music lovers to catch a mainstream talent in midflight — until now.

 This isn’t to say that Johnnyswim, who perform at the theater on Thursday, Jan. 28, are not already extremely accomplished. After all, the young married duo consisting of Amanda Sudano and Abner Ramirez have already performed on “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno, appeared on the web show “Live from Daryl’s House” and have sold out venues across the country.

 But they are on the upswing, which offers Key West a rare opportunity to indulge in a unique talent at the precipice of stardom. And if you are one of the lucky 250 or so ticket holders to catch the show, it won’t be long until you’re saying, “Can you believe I saw Johnnyswim at the Key West Theater?”

 From the edge of their fireplace in L.A., the couple shared a few laughs and life lessons with the Keys Weekly, along with what to expect at their upcoming Key West show.


KW: For those who might not know your music, how would you describe your unique sound?

Abner: [laughing] You sometimes hear white people who play soulful music referred to as “blue eyed soul.” Amanda likes to say we do a soulful twist on that and play “brown eyed folk.”


KW: What are you working on now?

Abner: We were literally just working a few songs while the baby slept and we hope to incorporate three or four into our show. We finished one yesterday called “In your Arms” and I can’t wait to play it with Amanda on stage.


KW: Are you saying Key West could be the first live audience to hear these songs?

Amanda: Yes, I think so. In fact, Key West will be the first to hear us do a few things.


KW: So what should fans in Key West expect to leave your show with?

Amanda: I hope they feel like they spend an evening with us in our home, sharing lots of stories. We love to tell stories in our home and even growing up, my dad would say, ‘if its not alive, it’s not live.’


KW: Speaking of growing up, you [Amanda] are the daughter of a music legend [Donna Summer] and you backed her up on tour. What did that teach you?


Amanda: I’m actually an introvert in an extrovert’s clothing. When left to my own devices, I happy on my couch with a good book. Abner was the one who just had so much swag from the first moment we met [laughing]. But we were both taught to be committed to family and to value the human qualities that allow everyone us to make a difference in this world.


KW: Speaking of which, you once donated 100% of your profits on a track to orphans in India and you’ve been quoted as saying you play with a purpose. Is there a spiritual element to your music?

Abner: We were both raised in spiritual households.  And one of the values that got drilled into us at a young age was, by the time we are done living, you have the opportunity to make a difference — make a dent in the world. And I think our music gives us an opportunity to do that.


KW: You are both world-class talents and could have easily chosen separate careers.

What is it like to work alongside your spouse in such a dynamic spotlight?


Abner: It’s funny, going from arguing about the dishes to playing in front of so many people, but we have so much strength and confidence together. We are fighting for the same things. A win for her is a win for me.


KW: What are your plans while visiting Key West?

Abner: Being from Jacksonville, I have a lot of family in Miami and buddy and I would drive down to Key West when we came south. I remember being there last at 19 and I’m 32 now, so it has been a while. But there was a restaurant that wouldn’t serve me and I was so mad that I couldn’t’ have a beer. So I’m looking forward to finding that restaurant and having a beer!

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Britt Myers traded in a life of monetary success, a chiseled body and intellectual enlightenment for a piece of the pie of the Keys Weekly newspapers. He is also the proud parent of an incredible six-year-old and a sucker for Michael Mann movies and convenience store hot dogs.