Artist name: J U S T Y
Based in: New York City
Genre: R&B, soul
Must-hear songs: Insecure
Justy, who is the young woman behind the music? How does she spend her days?
Justy behind the scenes is very much still engaged as if I’m still up front and center. It’s a routine I’ve sort of drilled myself in, however, there essentially isn’t a moment where I’m not doing something in relation to my music. I think managing my own artistry has also fed into the work driven days I often find myself in. Though, I admit that I purposely have to make time aside to clear my head and focus on the variety of things that add fulfillment to my life.
An average day musically can consist of:
- Booking/planning multiple shows or appearances for the following months
- Various conference calls with fellow artists/creatives
- Time for editing music videos or songs
- Organizing the projects/prospects I have for months to come
- Creating various proposals for projects I hope to accomplish
So there is always and constantly a lot of work to be done. Just as I do a lot of these things to ensure I’m on top of my own career, music is just one of my loves. I thoroughly enjoy writing, which I earned my degree in, and I try and make time to add on to my memoir as often as I can. In any field, there has to be a healthy work/life balance, so I make time for all of my relationships whilst pursuing my dream.
What were your personal highlights of 2018?
2018 was a year of resilience for me. I had hurdles that may have dismayed someone from continuing on with this (music), but I continue to push through. One of the main things I was proud of was continuing my Justy & Friends showcases. I’ve been doing them for about a year and a half now and I love the community that it’s built, and the opportunity it gives for artists to network with each other and build and grow collectively.
I’m also proud of the networking and self-management I’ve done in 2018. As an independent artist, you often question your own ability to get things done. I think it’s fair to say we assume we need some sort of higher level to take us to another level and in some degrees that’s correct, however, there’s a lot more than artists are capable of if they apply themselves. That’s something I’ve learned myself. In the networking and contacts I’ve accumulated this year, I see how my hard work and determination has paid off.
I know I have a ways to go, but I am very proud of my resilience and innovative thinking and as a whole, being able to formulate a relationship with an entity like Ferocious Talent in England was major for me this year, because I was ultimately able to get my single Try (which was produced by their artists Blue Lab Beats) released through them. Hmbly speaking, it was moving to me that someone like me from little Staten Island, NY, could work with some of these musical heavyweights in their own respective ways.
You released amazing videos for Insecure and Try, how was that? How did you come up with the creative vision for the visuals?
Both processes were actually very organic and humbling to me. For Insecure, things started out so independent. Basically just me, and my photo/videographer Brianna Harrell getting together and deciding to shoot a video. We really didn’t have a clear concept in mind, because I wanted to feel as vulnerable as possible. In a way, I guess I wanted my insecurities to shine through, which is why cinematically, you see a lot of those up close shots—which I would normally stray away from. Try had more organization in that we had the location (NYU Tisch School), we had the dancers (Layers NYC), and the overall vibe (I was going for a Love on Top type of feel visually, however, the choreography was entirely in the hands of the dancers. They came and left me in awe. There’s a beauty in the way someone can manipulate their body to connect with music and I just found myself sitting there admiring and appreciating the art that these women created which connected with my song so beautifully.
On Twitter, you mentioned you’d love to collab with noname. Why her and what type of song would you two create? What would the topic be?
It’s crazy because I feel like in some way noname and I are just connected lol. When I first started putting on more of my material on Soundcloud, people would always say “You should listen to NoName,” or “You should collab with noname,” and “You remind me of noname,” so this whole time I’m this young artist crafting a sound that’s super sincere to myself and find out that there’s this incredible artist on a higher scale whose vibe also resonates with mine. I admire the conversational tone in her work. I admire the transparency she delivers, because at times music can feel so distant, especially if the artist(s) is on a significantly larger scale. I had the chance to see noname’s show in Brooklyn (1/5/19) and as a fan and fellow artist, I could see how genuine she is about her craft. This draws me to her artistry and I see how her work continues to grow as she does. I honestly think it would be cool if at least our record was in the vain of a fan to artist perspective (not in a creepy Stan way lol). I kind of imagined myself just thanking her for her work, letting her know that even though I’m a little bit of nobody, her work resonated all the way to me. Maybe her part would be the rebuttal? Maybe she’d reflect on being somebody’s nobody too?
Bumping the new @noname for the baelist 🥰
— J U S T Y (@justysmusic) September 14, 2018
“Justy writes hits” – What hit did you wish you would have written?
I think about this a lot actually and I think my answer changes constantly. Right now, I wish I wrote Careless Whisper. It’s like my guilty pleasure song, though I don’t feel like I should even hide that. George Michael is such a legend and I’m a sucker for a powerful sax in any song.
How do you feel about the NYC music scene? What did the city teach you about music?
I think the most important thing this city taught me how to do was work. There are so many people here that do music. On one end its super beneficial for networking (I’ve found so many artists for my show simply by networking) and it’s also incredibly motivating. However, being that fish in an ocean lets you learn real quick that the difference between those who make it and those who don’t may really comes down to work ethic.
Proverbs 3:5-6 is mentioned in your Instagram bio. A proverb about trusting the Lord with all your heart. What does this mean to you?
I think that Proverb perfectly connects with my journey. I’ve always had to trust God in order to balance the chaos of everything around me. God/my faith is the sole stabilizer in my life, so when I encounter these obstacles in music, I know I can look to my faith because my purpose in this life has already been solidified. Even if things don’t happen in your preferred timing, there is always a plan and purpose for you in God’s timing.
New year, new opportunities. What’s on your bucket list for this year?
Yes, new year! I’m so excited and blessed to be pursuing a bunch of things this year and hopefully accomplishing even more. This year I would love to:
- Get on some sort of festival
- Ink some sort of music management/publishing situation that allows me to breathe comfortably independently as well
- Break a record for a larger music publishing house or artist
- Get out to England!
I’ve written all of these things into an affirmation, so I’m confident they will happen (whether it’s this year or 2 years from now). It’s all about affirming these positive goals and working towards them.
Finally, what’s the next thing your fans can be excited about?
Firstly, I want to thank any and all fans for just riding through with me and supporting me throughout this journey. Whether it’s 5 or 500, I am genuinely grateful for every bit of support. This year I have a bunch of singles and visuals that will drop all leading up to my Soul Food project, so that is the main thing my supporters should look out for. I’m super happy about all of this work I’ll be delivering because everything was essentially done in-house, so it makes me proud to show off my independent grind to the fullest.