On October 23rd, 2014 Houston’s Stereo Live was pulsating with artists of all types from slam poets, visual artists, fashion designers, and musicians. That night I was there to see and interview singer/songwriter David Justin who just released his new single, “Supernova”. Since the single’s release earlier this year Supernova has been played on Pandora, Sirius, and BBC Radio and is steadily gaining popularity.
David is a Houston native, and upon meeting David I found him to be the down to earth guy he was described to be. His love of music grew after he was presented with his first violin lesson at the age of eight. David proceeded to teach himself the drums at age 12 and eventually picked up songwriting. He never intended to make music a career but after writing several songs while in college David decide it was time to make his mark in the world, and he did. In 2009 David was nominated as a finalist for “best original song” with the 6th annual International Acoustic Awards.
However, “Supernova” is not David’s first well received work. In 2012 David’s first album, “Speak to the World”, which included fan favorites such as “Maria”, “Covergirl”, and “Paper Heart”. David’s acoustic style music, voice, and lyrics invite the listener to relate with clearly sung lyrics. I especially like his song, “Unspoken”. His music is reminisce of singers Gavin Degraw, John Mayer, or Michael Bublé.
The night of his performance David sat down with me for a short interview before heading on stage.
Budom: How are feeling tonight? Excited? Pumped?
David: Yeah, I’m excited. There is always excitement, that’s what makes playing live so much fun.
Budom: So tonight you’re going to be playing acoustic?
David: Yeah, yeah that’s pretty much how it all started by playing acoustic and playing by myself. Of course when I am out in LA I play with a band. But then tonight I’ll be playing acoustic style, and I have a drummer who will be playing the Kahuna it’s like a beat box thing, and then my other friend will be playing the bass. It’s going to be a good change up because there is going to be another band playing a full set, and I think the people will enjoy that a lot more. The music will be a lot more raw.
Budom: I read in your bio that you started at a very young age. Was your father your biggest influence as far as getting into music or were there other influences?
David: I mean from a young age I was around music, and of course my dad was my biggest influence because he was the one around the house who played music. So without him I probably wouldn’t have chosen the path I did, and done things or learned the instruments that I learned without him. But yeah, I would definitely say that he was the main person that I looked up to.
Then throughout my teenage years I got into songwriting. When I was about 17 or 18 I got really serious about it. I wrote about 10 or 12 songs that I felt really comfortable with and proud of and I didn’t know what to do with it. I never really thought about being a recording artist. I just loved music, I loved writing, and I would play for my all my friends and family and they said, ‘you should really records these things’.
So, I started off with a little tape track like a cassette and started to record myself playing, and the more I would do that the hungrier I got to make something bigger. I ended up meeting a producer in Dallas who actually produced my first record and recorded my album.
Then about two and a half years ago I got hit up by my manager, Joe Fontaine out in Los Angeles. We started a dialogue and started talking, and his mentioned to me what he was doing and trying to accomplish. Joe said he actually knew some producers and songwriters in Los Angeles. So he asked me to fly out and I flew out. I did a session or two and things went really well. We recorded some songs and I ended up signing a deal with him.
I have been flying back and forth maybe every two to three months going out there just writing and recording. It’s really been a fun experience. I’ve really enjoyed it, and I’m starting to meet a lot of people in the industry. It’s good being out there and then being able to come back home and play shows where I can play to almost two different audiences.
Budom: Yes, two different types of demographics and types of people?
David: Yes, yes, it really is. Because different people respond to the songs differently, and that what’s really exciting, seeing how people respond and connect with the songs.
Budom: You were nominated as a finalist for “best original song” with the 6th annual International Acoustic Music Awards. How did that feel? Did you expect that or was it like “wow” after getting the nomination?
David: (laughs) No, I didn’t. I, uh..just finished recordings some songs from my first record and I was just really trying to get a break, and get my name out there. It was actually the first contest I had ever submitted to. I was kind of leery about submitting to a song writing contest because they get thousands of entries, and you never know if they’re going to hear your song or what.
Yeah, I got a letter in the mail saying that I was a finalist and I think it was out of four or five thousand entries. It was really neat, it was kind of the first time I felt justified as a songwriter. I was up against pro songwriters and I really felt justified and excited. It really made me want to pursue more and do more.
Budom: So you mentioned that you want to build a bigger fan base in Houston. I have a teenage daughter, and I asked my youngest what type of questions she would ask if she had the chance. The first one question is: If there was someone you could collaborate with as a songwriter or singer who would you choose?
David: Hmm, that’s really tough because there’s so much talent out there. I mean it seems when I find a favorite artist then I find another favorite artist. I think that’s just the power of the Internet, and there’s so many tools to discover artist. I would definitely say I think it would be fun to collaborate with John Mayer. He’s a very versatile songwriter and musician.
Budom: Would you ever consider a collaboration out of your genre like Kesha and Pit Bull did as well as other artist?
David: Uh…No, the way I write songs I don’t usually listen to other people and think. ‘I’m going to write a song like that’. It really comes from within me I’m pretty true to myself and I don’t try to be anybody that I’m not. I try to keep it pretty pure.
Budom: Okay, last question. If you had a fandom what would they be called? Here are some examples for you Justin Bieber’s fans are “Biebers”, Lady Gaga’s are “Little Monsters”, and Taylor Swift’s fans are known as the Swifties.
David: (laughs) You know this has been an on going conversation with my manger. We’re still trying to pin point that now. I thought maybe the “Little DJs” but that’s kind of corny, you know? Or maybe the “Little Supernovas”, I don’t know that something we’re still working on. I think it’s going to be like one of those things when somebody else says something and then that’s it.
Budom: (laughs) Well, we need to get that out there. We need to see what your fandom is going to be like. That’s what we need to get a rally started on getting an idea on what to call your fandom.
David: I think so, yeah. We need to work on that. That’s actually a good question because I always think about that.
Budom: Well, David thanks so much for setting aside this time to sit here and chat with you. I look forward to seeing you on stage.
I had a wonderful time corresponding with David through social media and at the interview. He’s a musician with heart and soul and you can hear it in his music.
“It takes courage to chase your dreams and dreams to create courage, but either way I’m committed to both.”
– David Justin
David’s album “Speak to the World” and new single “Supernova” is available on iTunes. Look for the official “Supernova” video release coming soon, featuring Caitlin O’Connor (Sports Illustrated, The Gambler) and Christine Lakin (Step by Step, Melissa & Joey). Meanwhile, you can catch his “Supernova” lyric video on youtube.