Michael Johns (singer)

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Michael Johns
Michael Johns at the American Idol, Season 7, Top 12 party on 6 March 2008.
Background information
Birth name Michael John Lee
Born 20 October 1978
Perth, Australia
Died 1 August 2014(2014-08-01) (aged 35)
Tustin, California, U.S.
Genres Pop, pop rock, soul, soft rock, rock
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter
Years active 2000–2014
Labels Beverly Martel Music
Maverick Records
TRP records
Downtown Records
Associated acts Brooke White, The Rising

Michael Johns (born Michael John Lee; 20 October 1978 – 1 August 2014) was an Australian singer who finished in eighth place on the seventh season of American Idol, in 2008. In 2009, he released a music album, Hold Back My Heart, which sold 20,000 copies. Johns died on 1 August 2014, at the age of 35 of dilated cardiomyopathy.

Early life

John Lee was born in Perth, Western Australia on 20 October 1978.[1] As a teenager, he appeared as The Coachman in Pinocchio at the Regal Theatre and was a choir singer in Anything Goes at His Majesty's Theatre.[2] He attended Newman College in Perth.[3] In 1997, John Lee moved to the United States on a tennis scholarship and majored in drama at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia, before dropping out after two quarters.[1][4] He also briefly played Australian rules football for the United States Australian Football League (USAFL) club Atlanta Kookaburras from 2001 to 2002.[5][6]


Early career

John Lee moved from Tifton to Atlanta to pursue a music career, playing cover engagements.[1] He then joined a band called Film for 18 months.[7][8] After traveling to Los Angeles to showcase for a number of labels, he was signed to Maverick Records in 2002 as a solo artist under his birth name Michael Lee.[7][9] He recorded an album, and then formed a rock band called The Rising.[7] A song from the album "Cradle" received some airplay,[9] and the album titled Future Unknown was released in 2003.[10] It was also released on iTunes in 2008 after he appeared on American Idol. After Maverick, he was signed to Columbia, but was later dropped.[7] He started using the name Michael Johns in 2006 as an homage to his stepfather whose name, like his middle name, is John, hence "Johns" because there are two of them in the family.[11]

American Idol


He auditioned for the seventh season of American Idol at San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium in July 2007. He finished in eighth place in the competition.[12][13]


Week # Theme Song choice Original artist Order # Result
Top 24 (12 Men) 1960s "Light My Fire" The Doors 12 Safe
Top 20 (10 Men) 1970s "Go Your Own Way" Fleetwood Mac 1 Safe
Top 16 (8 Men) 1980s "Don't You (Forget About Me)" Simple Minds 5 Safe
Top 12 Lennon–McCartney "Across the Universe" The Beatles 10 Safe
Top 11 The Beatles "A Day in the Life" The Beatles 4 Safe
Top 10 Year They Were Born "We Will Rock You"/"We Are the Champions" Queen 6 Safe
Top 9 Dolly Parton "It's All Wrong, But It's All Right" Dolly Parton 9 Safe
Top 8 Inspirational Music "Dream On" Aerosmith 1 Eliminated


As one of the seventh season finalists, Johns joined the 2008 American Idol Live! tour after the show.[14] While he was on the Idol tour, he worked on a soundtrack for Olympic snowboarder Shaun White's documentary DVD Don't Look Down.[15][16] The soundtrack was released by Three Rings Projects on 20 January 2009. Johns sang on all but one of the vocal tracks.[17] In December 2008, he released a song he wrote in 2006, "Another Christmas."[18] Half the proceeds from the song were advertised as being donated to the Red Cross and half to fight amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.[19]

In April 2009, he released "Heart on My Sleeve," the lead single from Hold Back My Heart.[20] The song debuted on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart at number 27.[21] The album was released on 23 June 2009, and debuted at number 97 on the Billboard 200 with 5,000 copies sold.[22][23] It sold 20,000 copies as of January 2010.[24] In 2012, he released Love and Sex, a three-song EP.[18][25] He also appeared briefly in a 2012 episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.[20]

Personal life

John Lee married his wife, Stacey Vuduris, in 2007.[26]


Johns died in Tustin, California on 1 August 2014.[18][27] On 18 November 2014, the coroner reported that Johns had died of dilated cardiomyopathy, which inhibited the flow of blood to his body and also caused his heart to enlarge.[28] A fatty liver also contributed to his death.[29]



Release date Artist Album Label Number of tracks
2001 Film Rolling[30] Projector Records 6 tracks
16 September 2003 The Rising Future Unknown[31] Maverick 11 tracks
26 August 2003 Live at the Apple Store[32] 5 tracks (EP)
2007 Michael Johns Michael Johns[33] - 12 tracks
2008 Another Christmas[19] TRP records 1 track
2009 Don't Look Down – The Height of Competition[15] 17 tracks

Downtown Records

Year Album details Peak Sales
US[34] US
2009 Hold Back My Heart 97 12
2012 Love & Sex (EP)[25]


Year Title Chart Positions Album
2009 "Heart on My Sleeve" 22[35] Hold Back My Heart


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  2. "American Idol contestant Michael Johns dreamed of fame". www.news.com.au, PerthNow. 8 October 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  19. 19.0 19.1 "Michael Johns To Release Christmas Song In Aid of ALS & Red Cross". Access Hollywood. 2008-12-03. Retrieved 2014-08-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  35. "Adult Contemporary - August 15, 2009". Billboard.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Log in required

External links