Johnny spent his early years living the traditional life of the Dehghaot’ine on the shores of the Dehcho (Mackenzie River) and Tu Nedhe (Great Slave Lake). When he was 6 years old, his family moved into Zhahti Kue (Fort Providence). There Johnny heard the traditional old time fiddle music and popular country music of that time. In 1966, he went to Breynat Hall in Thebacha (Fort Smith) where he thrived in the abundant local music scene. In the early 1980s, Johnny began writing his own music, fusing the ancestral Dehghaot’ine tea dance songs with the popular music he plays. He is most well known for penning the anthem “Hina Na Ho Hine (Celebration)”, later re-written and recorded by NU artist, Susan Aglukark. For decades now, John has been actively writing and performing his music in the Dene Zhatié language.