Johnta Austin is done working in the shadows. After years as an in-demand songwriter, 25-year-old Austin is taking center stage. "It's been a long time since I thought about being in front of the mic," says Austin, who wrote Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together," Chris Brown's "Poppin'" and Mary J. Blige's "Be Without You," among others. "But when Jermaine [Dupri] suggested I think about being an artist, I jumped at the chance."

The Atlanta native, who spends substantial time in Miami, named his album after that city's luxurious main drag. "I've had a few sexy experiences hangingout on Collins Avenue or at the beach," he says. "I had a place in Bell Harbor, and there were always nude women suntanning somewhere. J.D. was in love with the Eagles classic 'Hotel California,' so we wanted a name that was just as bold and provocative.

Continue reading this story and more from Real Life in the November ‘06 issue of KING (#37)

Listen to Johnta Austin's first single, "Turn It Up", from his debut album Ocean Drive

Other artists performing songs written by Johnta Austin

Mariah Carey - "We Belong Together"

Chris Brown - "Poppin'"