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Who is Bling Johnson? That's a question with various answers depending on who you ask. In 2009 after a divorce that left me at a turning point I decided to turn things around. One Saturday night I went downtown Austin with a cheap camera and a far cheaper white suit and hat to film. I started interviewing people on 6th street that had a good amount of "liquid courage" on their side. When I got home I watched the footage and laughed at what I had captured. I quickly realized that if you have a camera, microphone and a bright light EVERYONE has something to say.

I posted that video on YouTube and told a few of my co-workers about it. They watched it and you could hear random laughter around the office that Monday morning. A few of them sent the link to some friends and they all asked when I was posting another video. At the time I had no plans to make a second one, but there seemed to be enough people asking for one that I figured I'd head out that next weekend and make another one.

The videos got better and not just in the quality of a new HD camera (Thanks Spenther) but it seemed like everyone wanted to get famous and be on video. For the next 23 weeks in a row I posted a new video every Monday morning which became known as the "Monday Morning Kickstart". This was my way of helping to raise morale in the office...until the company I was working for banned my website from the corporate network.

You see, so many people started to watch my videos that the IT department began to notice a spike in online traffic to my website every Monday. So much so that they deemed it "a distraction to the workforce". Since the company I was working for at the time was a large tech company (which I still love to this day) I became nerd-famous at the office and oddly enough, views of my videos began to skyrocket.

Fast forward 2 years, many more videos and hundreds of thousand of views on YouTube, I got approached by a TV station in Austin about hosting my own TV show. Since I was filming all over Austin and regularly had local musicians on my YouTube videos, they wanted to tie that angle into a new TV show. The deal wasn't ideal for me in the way they wanted to structure the advertising, so I declined their offer.

A few months later I began to get tired really easy and not feel right. I went to the doctor and they drew blood and tested me for everything under the sun. They told me some issues came up and they wanted to run some more tests, but it was possible I had a rare form of leukemia. For two months I was in and out of the doctor, fearful that I was going to be diagnosed and began to think about the end of my life. I have 3 kids who are my life and constantly push me to not just be a better Dad, but a better person too. I'll be honest. I was scared.

At the end of the testing with various cancer doctors I finally got some good news. I did not have leukemia, it was a rare case of having low platelet counts in my bloodstream but they determined that with basic vitamins and monitoring I would be fine. Wow. Was I relieved, but more than that, I got motivated. I decided that from that point forward I was going to try to do something that was going to change my future. I was going to figure out a way to get on tv and showcase musicians, comedy and the city that I love, Austin, Texas.

After a lot of help from many friends, my buddy Brian Wild got us a meeting at KBVO in Austin, an NBC & CW affiliate. We pitched them the show and showed them a trailer we put together. They LOVED it and agreed to a 12 episode contract for me to host a show highlighting music as well as "Bling On The Street" interviews and doing interviews at tailgates, biker rallies and anywhere we can make people laugh. With the best staff anyone could hope for and the leader of our house band Lucas Cook & The Collection we were ready to take on this monumental challenge.

At the time of me writing this in May of 2014 we are now filming for our 5th season on TV which starts in the Fall of 2014 and I have done interviews with local acts including Bob Schneider, Dale Watson, Cameran Nelson, Suede and so many more great artists. The show really began to grow and I went back to my sales roots and started to call some big names in entertainment to see if I could get an interview. We were fortunate enough to have some really cool people on the show including Bret Michaels, Clay Walker, Pete Rose, ZZ Top and I got to ride Harley's with Jax from Sons of Anarchy, Charlie Hunnam.

While the "Let's Get Famous" mission is as big as it's ever been I am most proud of what the staff of the show and I have been able to do from a giving back perspective. In the 3 years since we've had the tv show we've been a part of events that have raised over $500,000 for charities right here in Texas. This includes countless benefits at Central Texas Harley-Davidson, children's charities all over Houston with the Deacon of Deadwood Motorcycle Club and many more.

While my next goal is to take this show to a National TV audience, I will always remain rooted right here in Austin and will give back to deserving organizations right here in Texas. Season 5 is shaping up to be our best one yet so be sure to tune in and follow me online and most importantly...LET'S GET FAMOUS!

- Bling Johnson

 

 






 

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