Today, we sat down with our artist Justo for an interview. Here is what he had to say:
1. How has your hometown shaped who you are as a musician today?
My situation is rather unique, due to partially being raised in multiple cities. I would like to explain how each city has influenced my musical background. First, New York City in the 80’s was full of culture, from Hip Hop to Latin Jazz. Growing up and being able to witness street musicians and having a DJ’ing uncle, who taught me how to mix vinyl and use a turntable, gave me a head start. Once I felt the power of spinning vinyl and selecting songs in which I liked, this is a major contributing factor of later creating my own music. My second home town is Detroit, which blessed me with further exposure by having a DJ’ing cousin. My cousin was spinning Hip Hop and I was able to provide him with the newest Hip Hop songs from my summer trips back to NYC. Detroit’s music scene with deep rooted in R&B, Techno, and later Neo Soul, which helped build the foundation of my current style. This is why you’ll hear lots of instrumentation on Boom Bap lyrics.
2. If you could single out one artist or band that has influenced you, who would that be and why?
LL Cool J, Nas & The Roots have influenced me the most. From mid-80’s -90’s it was LL Cool J with his lyrical abilities to come hard and story tale, and he always had a song for the ladies. His videos were always state of the art and he was ultimately a great performer, and who has become a great actor. LL figured out the formula for a hardcore street MC to cross over without losing creditability. Nas — his first album, Illmatic was life changing.
3. If you won the lottery tomorrow, what is the first thing you would buy?
The first thing I would do is pay off our current home. Next purchase would be land, preferably by water, and I would build homes for family members.
4. What is your advice to fellow underground musicians in regards to remaining discipline in your craft?
First, develop your own style. Stay true to your art and the fashion in which you have been blessed with. understand your gift in your lane. Continue to work on improvement, but also add to the skills that you already feel efficient in. Never be afraid express your art from your heart. Ultimately don’t lose passion and having fun.
5. Do you have any songwriting or recording tips you’d like to share?
Writing: Stay on topic. Stay relevant. Have purpose to each song. Recording: Be prepared, practice, and fully know your song prior to recording at a studio, I’ve written a couple courses at the studio, but the majority of my work has been prerecorded and perfected at home.
6. How does your family and close friends feel about your music career? Have they always been supportive or have there been issues in the past?
Family and friends have always respected my music career, but very minimum support.
7. If you could open up for one famous artist or band, who would that be and why?
The Roots, just because of how much of an influence they have meant to me and inspired me. To gain their respect and potentially have an opportunity to rock with them, would be a dream come true.
8. If you could have a dinner with one musician who is no longer living, who would that be and why?
I would say Prince, and why because he’s fucking Prince. He is one of the greatest artists ever. He is a great musician, composer, writer, producer, coach, business man… performer. A very close second would be J Dilla, although I was able to go to his home and hang out with him, I wasn’t able to have the in-depth conversation, I would have with him today.
9. In your time with LiquidSound Records, what is the number one thing you have enjoyed the most? Also, what is your advice to those artists who would be interested in joining the roster in the future?
Knowledge, and the almost daily updates and the opportunities are astounding, which leads to me answer of the second part of the question, please get an assistant to help you with these opportunities.
10. In ten years, where do you see your music career?
In ten years, I hope to have a minimal of 1 dozen full length releases. This includes personal LP’s and instrumental albums. I also hope to have multiple lines of businesses revolving around entertainment. I hope to have multiple artist, which I’ve developed, as well as a diversified stream of revenue coming in. I also hope to have major support from the music industry, have a Grammy or two, and have movie credits. Lastly, I hope to have a chain of community centers in Urban areas, that teach music, and have sports as an outlet.