Singing song a day for 10 years has led Minnesota musician to YouTube stardom, incredible collaborations

As a full-time musician, who plays 75 to 100 gigs a year, not a day goes by when Zachary Scot Johnson isn't practicing his craft.

"It never gets old is a part of it. It is always interesting always unique."

And not a day goes by when Johnson also doesn't contribute to a project that has consumed a quarter of his life.

"Ten years is a long time. 10 years is a chunk of your life. In some ways, it feels like half of that and in some ways, it feels like I've been doing it longer. It's hard to remember a time before doing it in some ways."

For more than a decade, Johnson has recorded himself performing a song, every single day and posted it on YouTube. Some are covers while others are his own works of art -- but every one is special in its own way.

"I thought it would last maybe a month and ten years later here it's still going," he says.

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Johnson started the song a day project on September 6, 2012, as a way to get some exposure and reach new fans as the music industry shifted from CDs to online. Since then, he's recorded more than 3,700 videos and racked up more than 42 million views. But he tries not to repeat songs if he can help it.

"I tend not to rehearse much because a lot of times, the magic that happens comes in the discovery of the song and that only happens when you are learning the song," said Johnson.

Over the years, the songs have marked some of the major moments in Johnson's life -- like his last night in his house in Arizona before moving to Minnesota. or singing a duet with his wife in the hospital, while she was in labor waiting for the birth of their first child.

"I've aged," he said. "We've all aged. I don't know that specifically that my look has changed other than aging. Haven't had any work"

Johnson has also been joined by over 300 guest stars like actor and musician Jeff Daniels, singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin, and Creed Bratton from the TV show the office.

The singer Donovan even flew him to Ireland for 9 days to perform with him at a folk festival and re-record the first song Johnson played for the project -- Donovan's own "Catch the Wind" -- together for the project's 5th anniversary.

"It's been very good for my career. I've gotten to play with people I wouldn't have gotten to meet much less. That alone has made it worth doing."

Before he started, Johnson says he had reservations about putting himself out there on such a regular basis.

"Maybe it's because I've been doing it so long, I don't really feel complete in a day until I've done it," he says. "At this moment, it feels like I could do it every day of my life. It feels like I don't want to have a day without it. I think a lot of people think that's crazy. Those same people will tell you 10 years is crazy so."

But he says taking the risk paid off, and he'll continue doing it -- day by day.

"There are days that I don't feel great about the song I am putting up or wish I had a little more time to invest in it. But that's part of the process. And I think for anyone out there that is not sure it's for them. Take the leap as cheesy as that sounds. You never know what's on the other side. For me, it's been so worth it."