Abner and Amanda formed JOHNNYSWIM in Music City, USA. The son of immigrants who fled Cuba for the southeast, Abner had moved to Nashville to study and pursue music while Amanda's family settled in Nashville after moving between Los Angeles and the northeast. Both inherited strong musical influences from their parents and both were driven by a desire to chart their own path in music. Abner attempted a solo career with a record label and Amanda had done some recording in New York but neither course was creatively satisfying. And then they met each other in 2005.
Fueled by Nashville's fervent music scene, the two began writing songs that drew from and augmented each other's musical strengths. "Nashville was our incubator," says Amanda. "It was a creative cocoon that allowed us to get out whatever was in us without the need to be 'successful.' It developed us in the best way.