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Local musician leaves music to battle cancer



MONROE, La.– Mia Johnson was born and raised in Monroe, LA.

“I was around like the top entertainers in the world, I was like ‘God I’m just from little Monroe’, you know, but I’m sharing the stage with these great artists,” Johnson said.

The Pelican state is where she gained a love for music.

“Since 10 years old, I’ve been playing the drums, so I can say now for 37 years,” Johnson said.

She was the first female drummer for Southern Soul and Blues and her career was just about to take off. But in 2015, she was hit by some news that would bring her musical career to a halt.
Mia had been diagnosed with cancer.

“It was hard,” Johnson said. “It was hard because I thought it was just a death sentence at first, but it actually brought me in close contact with people who were suffering the same as myself and we just drew strength from each other.”

After months of trips to the doctor’s office and multiple chemotherapy treatments, Mia started losing her hair. She said it was her faith that kept positive through the changes.

“I said God cover me, I just felt like everything was going to be okay, even though I didn’t look the same and everything was leaving,” Johnson said. “I said God you are my father, I am your child. Take care of me.”

Because of the surgeries, a port was put in her chest. Doctors told her the only way she would be able to heal properly was to put the music to rest.

“Because you know being a drummer is very physical, you’re moving every limb, you’re sweating you’re going all everything,” Johnson said.

Since stepping back from the drums, Mia said she has given her body time to heal and is ready to play again.
She has also picked up baking as a new hobby. She now makes gourmet cookies for fun.
For now she said she wants to inspire others to walk with faith and find the beat to their own drum.

“So I wouldn’t say it’s a death sentence,” Johnson said. “Sometimes it’s the beginning of a new life, that’s what it is. That’s what it’ll be if you stay positive. Keep your faith strong and love one another.”