Paige King Johnson Premiers Lyric Video as Official Musical Ambassador for NC Department of Agriculture

Unique Partnership Results In Great New Song!

Paige King Johnson Premiers Lyric Video as Official Musical Ambassador for NC Department of Agriculture

When Paige King Johnson went back home to Angier, North Carolina after the pandemic had been going on for a couple years, she didn’t realize those weeks she chose to take a break would open all kinds of doors for her. She had been in Nashville for several years, attending Belmont University’s program for Music Business and working to launch her career in music. Because of the pandemic and all the pressures around it, she decided she was ready to get back to her North Carolina roots for a little while.

“It was the first time I had come back to my roots and was back living on the family farm surrounded by horses and the place where I grew up,” she tells Sounds Like Nashville. “This rural town was pushed by agriculture and ag business, and I became immersed back in those conversations once again,” Johnson remembers. “I sat down to write by myself one day, something I hadn’t done in a long time, and the phrase ‘homes in the hometowns’ just flowed out of me. After sitting there, I started writing things I didn’t know needed to be said, and an hour later I took the song to my parents and played it for them. I said, ‘This song just came so easy,’ and they looked at me and said, ‘You just wrote your childhood and life.’ The song just kind of grew from there.”

In that same time frame, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture was looking for a way to promote North Carolina agriculture, and they became aware of Johnson as a singer/songwriter.

The Agriculture Department was made aware of “Homes in the Hometowns” after Johnson performed it at a virtual awards ceremony soon after she wrote it. “There were a couple people watching the awards show who worked with the Department of Agriculture. They were proud of the work I had done with the 4-H and FFA, and the conversation was started after they saw me perform it. Weeks turned into months and the partnership was developed.

“It was a surprise thing, a God movement. I guess this was meant to be because everything came together perfectly.”

Indeed, at the 2022 Southern Farm Show Ag Development Forum, North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler announced a new partnership between the Got to be NC program and Johnson.

The Got to Be NC campaign helps educate children who are interested in the agriculture lifestyle and how they can become a part of it in North Carolina. This partnership is a statewide campaign that is catching the attention of other states around the country. The Department of Agriculture proposed doing a lyric video for the song and the resulting Homes in the Hometowns premieres Friday March 4th with Sounds Like Nashville.

“This is the first time that any kind of government agency in North Carolina had done a partnership with a musical artist like this, so there was a lot of ebb and flow and figuring it out as we went along,” Johnson says. “We have big ideas and hope for the partnership, but it is uncharted territory, so we are taking it a day at a time. I am making the most of any opportunity I have to represent agriculture in the best way possible. It’s been a bit to take on, but I’m excited about it.”

Johnson took part in planning the video and was adamant about getting all the North Carolina agriculture aspects into it. She said they spent a good deal of time interspersing pictures of livestock with vegetables, fruit, seafood and other things North Carolina has that help feed the nation. Her lyrics remind that a farmer and rancher’s work is never done, and that this lifestyle is no 9-5 job, but one that lasts until the work is done, however long that takes. The most important part of the video is in these poignant lines from the song – “God made a farmer because he knew he needed us around, to feed the homes in the hometowns.”

Johnson will combine her already scheduled appearances with other visits the Department of Agriculture will set up for her to promote North Carolina agriculture. “They are adamant of me being in the public promoting my career, and I already have quite a few different festivals in the spring, summer and fall where I will be performing and talking about Got to Be NC,” she says.

At the same time the Department of Agriculture is working to book her into schools before the end of the school year so she can talk to high school students about the importance of agriculture in their state. “The biggest thing we are working on is to visit high schools throughout the state who have a strong FFA program and music program, so we can bring those two groups of teens together with me as a spokesperson, to show them there is a world where they can work together with both the things they love to do.  I’m looking forward to getting to meet these students and share those nuggets of how they can put agriculture and music history together in our state. I will be playing music and hoping to get them excited and involved as well as bring out more of my music so they can continue to see how this message can continue to be used to get the agriculture in North Carolina message across.”

Johnson says she can still remember being in high school and the things that were important to her at that age. “I can recall trying to make those decisions about what I wanted to do. The biggest thing is to open their eyes that agriculture is so much more than getting on a tractor and waking up and going out to feed the cows and pigs. There is so much opportunity to work in agriculture … so many things that agriculture touches that I didn’t think about until I started talking with the Department of Agriculture. There are a lot of cool careers in agriculture, but also being able to feed the world is so important. We wouldn’t be anywhere without agriculture and that is the story I want to tell.”

Once the video launches on Sounds Like Nashville, Johnson hopes that television stations across the state will play it so that people who live in North Carolina and share her love for those who make a living in agriculture will see it.

Johnson has also had success with videos in country music. Her debut single and video, “Water Down The Whiskey,” followed by her second single “Just Like You,” received a good deal of attention. Working alongside country-legend Pam Tillis, one of her heroes from the 1990s, Johnson created a stunning music video for “Just Like You,” which premiered on Country Music Television (CMT). She followed that with “She Holds This House Together,” a tribute to her own mother and a heartfelt music video with memories of her and her mother that premiered on Newsmax. Johnson is now ready to release her third single to country radio, “Baby Don’t,” written by Nashville songwriting legends Lori McKenna, Liz Rose and Hillary Lindsey. The song’s official music video, which premiered on Heartland TV and, is Johnson’s second collaboration with Tillis as the director.

“I always told people the two things in my life that have taken the most time, hard work and tears, sweat and love and passion have been agriculture and music,” Johnson says. “I was raised on a farm, rode horses all my life, could ride before I could walk. The normal thing for me growing up was to spend time at the barn, where we had donkeys, cows, sheep, rabbits. All that was my normal life. From the time I was born and moved away to Nashville I spent time involved in 4-H and FFA. I did everything from horse judging and showing horses —  that was my life, and I loved every minute of it. Then when I was 10, I was introduced to music and performing and bringing people joy by being in front of them. I spent a lot of my childhood in 4-H to try to mesh the worlds together. When I moved to Nashville, I never dreamed I could promote music and agriculture together, and I thank God every day for the opportunity. It truly is a blessing.

“I know everyone’s life and career may not look like mine, but my hope is to inspire these kids to work towards huge corporate careers in agriculture, or work toward a career in songwriting. They are all achievable.”