Through diversity and challenges Otis “Dogg” Johnson achieved his dreams
Despite having a hard time growing up, it’s always important to keep your dreams alive. Otis “Dogg” Johnson was able to make it a reality. He moved from Anchorage, Ala., to Sacramento at a young age, and had an immense passion for music. Dogg, 32, an American River College music student, knew that it would be hard to start a business from the ground up, yet he never quit.
Dogg and his cousin, Anthony “Hopps” Ratcliff, run a studio they built from scratch called “House Productions,” which is part of their company, “Sharonz Boys.”
“We started out back in ‘96-‘97,” Dogg said. “We’re rapping. We’re singing. I could bring out the old pitches and have you die laughing.”
They managed to contact a few music labels, and some showed interest in them. “Some you might have heard of like, Strictly Business before they went under, and [we had] meetings with Universal Records just to find out we weren’t ready,” Dogg said. This is why Dogg and Hopps decided to build a studio of their own and hit the road.
Dogg came back to Sacramento from Atlanta after he had tried to get on a label. On the way back to Sacramento, he stopped in Albuquerque for gas. He decided to try and sell music, and ended up selling two boxes.
Dogg now has branches of his company in Sacramento and New Mexico. Some of the guys he was working with stayed in New Mexico, while others continued on to Sacramento. The New Mexico branch promotes concerts, featuring their artists and major artists such as Snoop Lion (Dogg), E-40, and Kurupt.
“Pretty much anybody you can think of, we brought out there,” said Dogg, “Just because they show love and pay for it.”
Dogg’s uncle and cousin have taught him everything he knows about music, but he has never had formal training. Running the studio has made him realize that a degree on the wall would be nice, so he enrolled at ARC.
He found out that ARC has a solid recording program. “I got in there and was amazed at the program,” Dogg said. “I would have been in it years ago had I known [about it].” After enrolling, he went on to receive teachings from AR professors Dr. Merlyn Van Regenmorter, who is head of the commercial music department, and Eric Chun.
Dogg has majorly influenced the company that he helped create. “We are a small company, but we have half of our team enrolled in college,” said Hopps. “The other half is using other means to educate themselves, such as online training programs.”
Otis “Dogg” Johnson found out that there’s more than just Hip-Hop in the music industry. He feels re-motivated by taking these classes and he’s learned that, if what he’s currently doing doesn’t work out, there are many alternate avenues that he can take.
“There are other options than just being a music producer or a singer for Hip-Hop,” said Dogg. One of the options is being a sound technician for Congress. “It’s all about meeting people, networking, and being smart about it,” said Dogg. He knows that not everyone makes it in this industry, but he’s not worried, because he knows that if this doesn’t work out, he can still find a home doing something he loves.