In 1964, Johnny created his own company, Rojon Productions. The reason behind this is because he wanted to be his own manager and promote new talent.
Johnny began singing in nightclubs to further his career, including a gay bar that featured female impersonators. It was at this nightclub in which Johnny was discovered by George Avakian, who was head album producer of Columbia Records.
Johnny was invited to try out for the 1956 Olympic Games, but turned the offer down because he wanted to pursue his music career.
Johnny was the first black child ever to be elected as student body president at Roosevelt Junior High School in San Francisco, California.
Johnny was such a music talent at a young age that he was offered free music lessons by music teacher Connie Cox. This was a much needed gesture for Johnny and his family because they could not afford them otherwise. The lessons continued for six years.
Johnny credits his hero and father Clem, a former Texas vaudeville performer, for being the reason he began singing.