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Art & Life with Justin Jackson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Justin Jackson.

Justin, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I am a singer-songwriter and a composer and producer whose style is influenced by the genres of hip-hop and R&B. I believe in writing music that comes from the soul, a place of sincerity. From this place, we connect with the world and the positive energy produced by the people around us.

Living on the south side of Chicago for 18 years and then coming to study music in California marked a significant change in my life. There was a constant disconnect between the youth of my generation that often escalated into violent confrontations. I lost many friends due to gun violence while I lived in Chicago, and had lost more in the 6 years that I have been in California. Also, the stress of being raised by a single mother who struggled to make ends meet created pressure for me within a household that is designed to keep one safe. The change of scenery has not only improved my mental state, but also had given me the opportunity to stimulate my creative energy.

At a young age, my mother realized how outgoing I was and how people are drawn to me. I have an energy that people want to be around and they find it easy to trust me. She was adamant about teaching me to be honest and to use my personality to create real connections and not manipulate others. I have always been opposed to standing still or getting too comfortable. I believe that only by moving can you grow, that only by embracing the unknown can you accomplish the impossible. I thrive in moments of pressure and rely on my calm nature, as it helps me to be an active problem solver.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I play piano, sing, and produce using a program called Ableton. I try mostly to create a feeling. our feelings are, in my eyes, our truest forms of self. I think the why is probably the most important. I create music as a relief or escape honestly, but also for others to feel like they are not alone. Almost all of my music comes from my own experiences. and though they are very personal to me I do feel like as humans, we share similar experiences in our own way, but those similarities connect us the most. I hope that people take away what they need from it honestly. I write music as my own interpretation of my feelings and usually how I feel is pretty clear but I’m definitely not one to tell someone what to take away or how to feel when listening to my music. I leave that to the listener to experience it in their own way.

Artists rarely, if ever pursue art for the money. Nonetheless, we all have bills and responsibilities and many aspiring artists are discouraged from pursuing art due to financial reasons. Any advice or thoughts you’d like to share with prospective artists?
That’s really a hard one honestly because I’m still trying to find a balance between the two. I think the best advice I can give is that to become financial stable in order to be more creative is very time consuming and in most cases, you have to work twice as hard on the craft in order to maintain consistency in your creativity. It’s hard but it is doable if you are disciplined enough. I know homies who say if the nine-five and focus on the craft but everyone has different circumstances. Most of us have bills, student debt, etc. it’s kind of hard to just quit the job to focus on music if you have a lot on your plate. My moms always stressed keeping a roof over my head and enough bread to buy groceries. All the extra stuff isn’t really necessary. All that to really say find the balance that works for you. The worst thing you could do is look at other people and try to do what they do. They aren’t you and you aren’t them. Stick to what works for you and most importantly STAY CREATIVE!!!

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Anyone can find me on IG and Twitter and SoundCloud under @jstnxj. Spotify is probably the thing I want people to follow me the most on though honestly. That handle is JSTN. There is another artist with the name JSTN on Spotify which kind of sucks haha but hopefully I can get enough monthly listeners to be the top result!.

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