Thursday, February 10, 2011


Carrying - with confidence - such a soft-spoken voice and puppy dog brown eyes, you would never peg Justin Nozuka as a "city" man. Justin was born in New York but raised here in Toronto, and while the culture change between both places may stimulate slight dinner table debate, he can tell which one is which. "There are a lot of interesting characters," Justin whispers kindly through the phone. "There's multiculturalism in both New York and Toronto, but the cultures in Toronto are a lot more fresh, whereas in New York, they're more subtle."

Yet, swinging from one metropolitan to another may - or may not - bring promise to opportunities that will push an aspiring musician into the dog-eat-dog, hustle bustle of the industry. According to Justin, though, some places may be more hustle-bustle than others. "Toronto's a much smaller industry," Justin mutters rapidly to articulate his many intelligent thoughts. " - less people, less competition. New York's a little more talked about, more reflection in what you see on the street. Toronto's a little more laid back, while New York shows more energy!"

Since both industries are apparent though, it's no wonder that with his genuine talent and attitude, Justin - at 19 - soon became the "one-in-a-million" who release a debut album titled Holly (Coalition/Glassnote Records) after his mother. A family man indeed, he also grew up joining forces with his brother, producer G-Stokes. "But now, I'm writing all my own songs," Justin insists, who also dreamt and scribbled his first pieces "Supposed to Grow Old" and "I'm in Peace" when he was 15, and the remainder of his debut collection between age 16 and 17. This explains why the media ooh-ed and aww-ed at a sound and perspective beyond his years, branding Justin "as soulful and wise as blues greats four times his age." How does he tap into that artiste mindset, you ask? "The way I get over writer's block is through alot of listening, meditation, and music," Justin lists, in addition to sources of inspiration. "A lot of my songs are coming from different places, frustrations, different stages in my life - inspirations from life, sky, sun: everyone, everything on a daily basis."

With a mentality exaggerating such immaculate grace and serenity within himself, Justin stands out in his age group of followers who dress down and talk about sex, drugs, and alcohol blatantly. It makes sense that he would gear towards more "Blues" sound and steer away from the over hyped, overrated mainstream. "I really love Blues and Pop, all types of music actually," Justin clarifies, raising his voice sanely. "Added is a natural expression of sadness in Blues. So when I sing, I can start crying, and then when I write, it comes off as Blues-y."

Other than his stereotypically handsome Canuck Blues opponents Matt Dusk and Michael Buble, Justin sets his own standard. His follow-up, You I Wind Land And Sea, will further pave his path of performances on tour and television (VH1's You Oughta Know, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Good Morning America NOW, mtvU, Woodie Awards), and successful albums i.e. Holly. The future looks bright. "I'm working on a third album. So much has happened. I'm celebrating and want to collaborate more, reassess the whole situation, have a more positive life with more balance."

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