We had the good fortune of connecting with Johnny De Jesus and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Johnny, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Trying anything in life requires taking a risk. The biggest risk I took was 9 years ago when I decided to leave Dominican Republic and move to the US to study Audio Production without really knowing life here. I took everything I owned, which was a half a suitcase of clothes and a broken Blackberry cellphone and no job security. I was terrified and just knew I had to do this no matter what. I was able to put myself through school while studying and working both full-time. Basically, no social life whatsoever for the next 4 years. It was simply just another sacrifice I was willing to make.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I used to be a big time procrastinator back in my teens. I think that the leap from moving abroad here to the US helped me get rid of that and really made me understand that, in order to get what I want, I need to do it with no ifs or buts. It was NOT easy at all to overcome this. It’s a behavior that’s very easy to learn and very hard to unlearn.
Once I saw what I was able to do by applying myself, the sky was the lowest bar for me. And it kinda feeds itself because the more I do for my career, the more I want to keep going.
Some lessons I learned along the way is that, no matter how talented you are, no matter how gifted, if you aren’t responsible, chances are you’re not gonna really make anything of it. I managed to get into management positions early in life i.e. Resident Assistant in College, group leader for assignments, and a project manager – I got to see this over and over. The ones that prevail are the ones that don’t back down and plow through doubt and “lack of gift” and resources.
About once a week I have to tell myself that this is a resistance game, not speed. It’s easy to forget why I’m in it in the first place because sometimes it does feel like I’m at a standstill not realizing how much progress I’ve made.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The first thing I would do is take them to see the monuments and museums in the district. The 2nd place I would take them to is THE best Pho restaurant in the area, Pho 75 on University Blvd in the Hyattsville area. Hands down the best Pho I’ve ever had.
I’d take them to see the National Cathedral. It always reminds of me Hogwarts from Harry Potter.
We’d maybe go to Kings Dominion or Six Flags.
Then I’d just continue with the restaurants like Tara Thai in the Arts District, Taquería Habanero in College Park, and finally Iron Age in Rockville. I love eating, y’all.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to give everyone who supported me throughout my journey a shoutout. Most people think they get to where they want to be by themselves and I think that’s not true. Yes, you put in the effort to get there but at some point during that journey there are people that help open doors, provide moral support, or even buy you lunch one day because you didn’t have enough money to pay for it.
The one person though that really deserves a shoutout here is my dad, rest in peace. He was my number one supporter throughout my career and one to realize I had potential to make this a living when he heard the first song I wrote, sung, and produced at 16 years old. Before that, he wanted me to join the Navy or just go to college to get a degree in Computer Science or anything else I wanted to pursue. Once he heard what I was able to do with a computer and music software, he knew there was something bigger for me and this is what I was meant to do.