Introducing a new pop-leaning sound with his current single ‘California’ resulted in Toby Johnson hitting key playlists including New Music Friday (Spotify) and New Music Daily (Apple Music) while also gaining fresh airplay at BBC Introducing. Now he channels the song’s escapist themes by hitting the open road for its official video.
The video sees Toby jump into an old school Ford Calypso convertible before taking a drive around the Essex countryside.
As he drives, he’s completely immersed in an enthusiastic performance of ‘California’ - or as immersed as he can be while keeping an eye on the road! It’s not quite California, but a late British summer isn’t a bad alternative. And it shows that an escape from day-to-day life can be achieved much closer to home.
Toby says, “The initial idea for the ‘California; video stemmed from the production team getting hold of a car rig for the camera. We met in Harlow just outside of Essex where we picked up an old Ford Calypso from a friend, strapped a ten grand camera to the bonnets, and then spent the day driving around the countryside avoiding tractors. The video is inspired by adventure and singing at the top of your lungs like nobody is watching.”
The ‘California’ video was directed by Kieran Panchal and produced by Big Fat Creative.
Toby further celebrates the idea behind the song by launching the #QuestForCalifornia. The challenge aims to send a teddy bear replica of Toby from his home in Lincoln to California’s iconic Hollywood sign, entirely with the help of fans who can sign up to play a part in the adventure. There are no rules. Whatever methods are necessary for tiny Toby to make the 5000 mile journey are not only accepted, but encouraged.
Inspired by Nick Drake, Passenger and Paul Simon, Toby Johnson first came to attention with his self-released debut EP ‘Fox’. His songs have steadily built an organic following ever since, resulting in 15 million streams for EPs including ‘Things I Should Have Said’ and ‘Carolina’, European tours with Jack Savoretti and Dotan, and Radio 2 airplay. With ‘California’ he expanded his folk roots into a bigger singer-songwriter style that signposts a much bigger future. He wrote the song with its producer Jonathan Quarmby (Lewis Capaldi, Tom Walker, James Arthur) and Leo Stannard (KC Lights, Camelphat).