John Zappin on learning as you go

"I remember I got on the mic and I was terrified, just terrified. I did it, and I didn’t get booed. People seemed to think that I was okay. I survived. So I went back and started getting more involved in the scene."

JOHN ZAPPIN, writer, rapper, recording artist and content creator 

What does a teenage farm kid growing up in Pataskala, Ohio know about launching a career in hip-hop music and becoming a rapper — in the no-internet era of the mid-1990s? Arguably very little, but that didn’t stop a young John Zappin from pursuing his joy anyway.

Always using humor as his safety shield, John embraced the uncomfortable moments of dropping his rhymes in front of audiences at summer camp, the church hall, and open mic nights to build his confidence and find his voice. That voice would eventually ink a deal with Gotee Records where he would go on to record six albums.

In a pre-file sharing, pre-American Idol world, John put in the work to carve out his niche in an unlikely genre of rap. John shares his story and drops some wisdom for anyone pursuing their dream. But now on the cusp of 40 and having already achieved a level of success that any recording artists would envy, John is like that teenage kid all over again: back in Ohio and asking “what if” and wondering “what’s next.”  

John Reuben