Music Artist Johnny Reid
When Johnny Reid found out a mural was being painted in his honour in Merritt an invitation to come and see it was too much to resist.
The rising star returned to Merritt less than one year after performing at the Merritt Mountain Music Festival to headline at the Walk of Stars gala weekend and to see his face on the back of the CIBC.
On Friday, after performing on the downtown stage, he went over with a number of his local fans to see how the mural was coming together.
“It is very humbling to look at yourself on a wall in a community you have only visited two times,” he said. “It is a very cool thing to look back on later in life. It will be pretty great to show my boys.”
He says it makes him realize his music is making a difference.
But he says as beautiful as the mural is, it doesn’t compare to the beauty of the things it has done for the community.
“If kids have nothing to do they will find something to do,” Reid explained, adding it usually isn’t anything good. “Michelle [Loughery] is guiding them through life and giving them something to do that has meaning.”
He said the best part of the weekend for him was to talk to the youth involved in the mural project and to see how it has changed their lives. To know he is part of that was powerful, Reid explained.
“Each one had tears in their eyes,” he said. “And you can tell they are tears of gratitude and of the history of what they have been through and the changes they have made.”
He said it was touching that each one shared their story with him.
“They just wanted to express their gratitude and thanks to the people who gave them purpose,” he said.
Reid believes the mural project is a powerful tool that can change the
community, and it is all thanks to Loughery.
“You can tell Michelle has a kind heart and soul. She is one of the most talented people I now. She is helping to make this community and the world a better place through the kids and her work,” Reid said. “That should be celebrated.”
He said there is no more meaningful way to spend your life than by making someone else’s life better.
Loughery said it is important for the youth in the project to meet the stars when they are in Merritt.
“It makes them feel important and special,” she said. “That is the kind of moment that can change them.”
She said you can tell when he sings that Reid has real passion and plays with heart and soul.
She added that with an artist like Reid he understands that the gift of talent he has been given is powerful and should be used to to benefit the world. When he connects with the youth in this project that is exactly what he is doing. That is one reason his support is important to her.
She said starting her year painting his mural was an honour and an amazing way to kick off another session with the kids.
“It took me back and made me remember why I do this,” she said. “I sometimes forget what an amazing community this is.”