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Justin Nozuka

"You I Wind Land and Sea" is Available NOW!

 
       

Genres: Acoustic / Soul

Location: Canada

Stats: 590 fans / 25,274 plays / 0 plays today

   
 
 

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"I just want to be myself, you know?" says Justin Nozuka. The briefest of nervous laughter, and a wry grin, say what he can't say for himself: There is such a thing as too much introspection, even for a guy who's made his mark by being candid and reflective. That irony is informed by the old soul behind 21-year-old Nozuka's fresh-faced countenance, and the duality is striking. New York-born, Canadian bred Nozuka is young enough to have interview jitters, but sufficiently wise to recognize when he stands to sound, well, full of it. So he's ever vigilant, lest his character fall out of tune with who he wants to be: "I don't wanna create [an inflated image of myself]."

Yeah, 'cause that's someone else's job. Nozuka's charge is to craft songs that make his listeners feel like they were up all night together and shared sleep-deprived confessions. The first collection of these, Holly (Coalition/Glassnote Records), is named for Nozuka's highly supportive mother, and came out when Nozuka was just 19. He penned the first songs, "Supposed to Grow Old" and "I'm in Peace," when he was fifteen, and wrote the rest between age 16 and 17, but the press marveled at his mature sound and vision, calling Nozuka "as soulful and wise as blues greats four times his age." His follow-up, You I Wind Land And Sea, will cement and further define that reputation-even as Nozuka endeavors to stay grounded amid copious praise of Holly and his performances on tour and television (VH1's You Oughta Know, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Good Morning America NOW, mtvU Woodie Awards).

"I realized," Nozuka explains, "that for the music to be free and open, with no restrictions, my creative process had to be more inclusive."

Although many of the songs were written without the band, Nozuka says they practiced-and sometimes performed-them on tour, to develop "a collective feel." So when they got to the studio, Nozuka gave the songs up to his band and producer Bill Bell. "We sorta went right back to the ground and started building again. It was wonderful...a strong learning experience for myself and my band"

YIWLAS encompasses a dozen deep, liberating tracks that expand on the acoustic folk-soul foundation base Nozuka laid with Holly and introduce key influences that Nozuka couldn't convey without his band. The moody, tribal "Gray" checks Jeff Buckley as much as Ray LaMontagne; "Carried You" nods to Philly soul and disco, first single "My Heart Is Yours" applies gospel devotion to romantic soul, and "Unwoken Dream (King With Everything)" mines the psych-folk genre-an ostensible left turn for Nozuka, yet perfectly executed. And throughout the album, the production nods subtly to Radiohead, adding a third dimension to Nozuka's sound which (fans of Holly will be happy to hear) finds his powerful soul pipes running as smoothly as ever.

Whereas Holly "just sort of happened without any real concept," Nozuka feels YIWLAS has "more of a vision" behind it. "There was definitely more of an idea of what kind of sound I wanted," he says. "I wanted it to be very natural... and it had to sound like us. I wanted to be able to hear and feel humans behind the creation of it all, as opposed to something that was 'hit' driven." He credits the experience of touring with his band.

"It was important to have songs that were open," he says, citing "Gray" as an example of consensus through alchemy. The song "transformed so much" in the studio, taking on "this powerful tribal feeling" due to the percussion, but also benefiting from a group effort to avoid over-thinking. "With art, it's most important to just to follow your senses. It doesn't matter if it's been done before or if it's not correct in pop culture or whatever. If it feels right, it's right."

Nozuka says the openness policy was "a big moment" in both his creative and personal growth. "I try live moment to moment," he says, but on YIWLAS's final track, "How Low," Nozuka bares more of his soul than he's accustomed to, because "it was just created out of a place of openness. I was just in the moment, no noise in my mind, no questions. I allowed the song to happen and it just felt great." While he doesn't know how to describe the song, he feels its very existence is the "absolute essence of art... a place that is real and mystical and aw-inspiring."

Call it paradise, nirvana, whatever-but from where Justin Nozuka sits now, everything looks good. He's happy and prolific, and eyeing a prosperous 2010. Although there are tours and TV appearances and interviews to come, he's gonna stick to the plan that works. "I just am going with... the flow."

 

  • Caraxx said:
    Definitely one of my favorite musicians. x Dec 11
  • Kamy said:
    In love with his beautiful music, keep on (L) Apr 17
  • just hannah said:
    i have the Holly cd and i had to majorly search for it cuzz they didnt have it in stores idk why but you are the most gifted man i know. geez you give me chillslol love you!!!!!!! Mar 08
  • valencia said:
    so excited for the new album!! Feb 16
  • S said:
    Urm Hi :) I love your music, you are my favourite artist of all time, just wondering if you're doing any shows in England this year or next, I would do anything to go. If you are planning some shows here, please do one in Manchester :) Bye xoxo Sep 15
  • MaryBeth said:
    love your music. :] it must be nice to have so much talent. Sep 05
  • MissBrit said:
    i cant wait till you come somewhere near here Sep 01
  • Kelleigh said:
    Absolutely gorgeous music!! It reminds me of my homeland of hawaii:) Aug 07
  • Janelle said:
    soo btw... i WILL marry you love your wife Janelle :) lol Jul 01
  • AMANDA said:
    absolutely gorgeous...words cant even explain the way ur voice makes me feel! May 19
  • BunnyBliss. said:
    *sigh* yer music is AMAAZING. love youu so much. XD May 12
  • just hannah said:
    omg you are so awesome i loovvee all of your music!! i would totally marry youhahahhalol no im serious.ha your song golden train is amazing.keep up the good work.I Apr 22
  • valencia said:
    i absolutely love your music your songs are amazing ! i could listen to your music all day =] Apr 11
  • bbhk said:
    i love you. Apr 11
  • Drop Dead Allie said:
    i could marry you , justin. Mar 05
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