by Sarah A. Peterson
Childhood dreams don’t always come to fruition, but for Fresno’s John Pemberton, they did. “I always wanted to be a musician,” says the country singer/songwriter/guitarist/drummer, “ever since I can remember. I have been singing since I was three, and performing since I was ten.”
Pemberton also learned to play the guitar at the age of ten, joined his family’s band shortly thereafter, and for the next eight years, performed with them all over Fresno. “I grew up listening to the Beach Boys, Elvis, Randy Travis,” he says, “but my biggest musical influences are would have to be George Strait, Joe Nichols, Merle Haggard, and many, many others.”
Over the 20+ years that he’s been performing, Pemberton has expanded his musical range to include not just country, but also love ballads, gospel music, 1950s rock, and a little bit of Elvis. “My goal is to play music that people of all ages can enjoy,” he says, “not just one specific group, but everyone.” When it comes to songwriting, he doesn’t really have a particular mode of operation. “I don’t sit down and plan to write a song,” Pemberton says. “When I am inspired by a certain topic, both music and lyrics come to me at the same time.”
Pemberton’s passion for music has taken him from Oklahoma to Nashville, but Fresno will always be his hometown. “Locally, I’ve played at Red Caboose, Grogg’s Irish Pub, Clovis Hofbrau, Jimbo’s, Cherry Auction, and House of Juju, among others,” he says. “Later this year, I’ll be playing the main stage at the Caruthers District Fair.”
Pemberton’s music can be heard on radio stations like Clay’s Country Radio, which is broadcast in 130 different countries, where he has often ranked number one on international charts. His most recent achievement came in the form of the award for “2014 Male Artist of the Year” from Clay’s Country Radio (CCR) International. “It was a real honor,” he says.
In Pemberton’s opinion, the best part about making and performing music is the joy it brings other people. “Music is a platform to express things that are close to my heart,” he says, “and it allows others to enjoy and to connect with me in that moment.”
Check out more local band & musician profiles in KRL’s music section.