Johnny B. and The Freedom Kids

Johnny Barranco’s list of credits in the music industry is impressive. He toured with Barry Manilow and sang back-up vocals and played guitar on Manilow’s platinum Mandy album. From 1980-1990, he was one of the top ten jingle singers in New York, with solo credits that include commercials for Burger King, Diet Pepsi, U.S. Army Reserve (“Be All That You Can Be”), Publisher’s Clearing House (“The House Where Dreams Come True”), McDonalds (“You Deserve A Break Today”), Juicy Fruit Gum (“The Taste is Gonna Move Ya”) and many more.


One could be equally impressed with his writing credits, which include: Nabisco ads, Tropicana orange juice, Sealtest Yogurt products, AT&T phone line products, DeBeers’ diamond ads, and co-writer of theme songs from “The Edge of Night,” and “Search For Tomorrow,” two of Proctor & Gambles’ extremely successful daytime TV soap operas.


But all of the above accomplishments and others not mentioned pale in comparison to the day when God spoke to Johnny during a recording session telling him to leave behind the “fame & fortune” and turn to Him. The voice of God and His message was so startlingly real, that Johnny’s life took a sharp turn. His heart changed, he left behind the worldly entrapments of an industry and a city that encourage sin and began to reach out to help save children from falling into the same things he had. The Lord told him to begin a children’s music ministry and that was the beginning of what is known today as Johnny B. and Kids Music Central.


Johnny began as an independent artist, recording his albums, Let’s Go Fishin’, He Created Me and Happy Birthday, Lord Jesus, playing his music in churches and for children in the deep south, having returned home to Mississippi shortly after receiving the call to begin a children’s ministry. Not long after arriving home, he and his wife, Teresa, began a family. They now have two beautiful daughters “Frankie” and Nikki who make an excellent sounding board and source of inspiration for the music he writes and shares with other children and their families.

    Johnny eventually moved his family to Nashville, signed with Freedom Kids Records for a short time, produced several projects for other artists, and stepped out to resume his work as a jingle writer. After a year of having doors close in his face, Johnny realized that God was giving Him a message, the one that brought him away from the jingle business in the first place! He quickly and wholeheartedly turned back to fulfilling the vision of his calling to children
’s ministry. He realized that he’d been trying to change what God was calling him to do, but gently and pointedly, God put him back on track.


Becoming a father helped Johnny to understand God in a more personal way not only as a Father, but as a Daddy should be, never out of reach. As a Christian, Johnny knows that he is accountable to God and is continually on his knees drawing nearer to His will. One thing he has learned from the joy that he has felt knowing Jesus Christ is that he must reach out to children today and teach them before they turn to drugs, crime, and immorality in search of a happiness that he knows is empty and fleeting.


Not wanting to take it for granted that children are receiving the instruction he never got as a child, Johnny has created a program that will minister to children AND parents and caregivers. He understands how vital it is that parents are able to connect with their children and how critical it is that they teach their children at an early age about the gospel plan. He is also sensitive to delicate family situations, and knows how difficult it is for parents to teach their children when they themselves never received any instruction as a child. He encourages family participation in all of his concerts, invites children to become his praise and worship team, and challenges churches to reach into their communities and involve the less fortunate in the opportunity to become a part of this ministry and worship experience. Johnny’s music reaches the child in everyone and invites the listener to come to the altar of their God, Father, and Heavenly Daddy and know him in a way that brings healing, laughter, and a joyful heart.


Johnny can often be heard saying, “Jesus will take you just as you are, but loves you too much to leave you that way.” That, in a nutshell is what Johnny B. is all about. Teaching others about Jesus’ love for them and showing them the path to become all that the Creator intended them to be.

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