We sat down with emerging singer-songwriter Justin Garner for a never-before-shared exclusive Q&A.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Justin Garner and I’m a singer, songwriter and performer.
Why do you do what you do?
I love to express myself through lyrics and sounds. I sing because it makes me happy.
How do you write a song?
I listen to a musical track first and then begin to sing melodies over the music. Initially, I don’t even sing any lyrics only sounds, runs and nuances. From that point lyrics begin to just pour out the minute I connect with the music.
What’s your musical background?
I grew up singing in my church choir. At age 11, I would sing solos and emulate the gospel greats. Growing up in the baptist church, I learned to sing with emotion and passion. I was taught that music and singing isn’t just about me. It’s about feeling the spirit and uplifting others. That should be the sole reason for using the gift of song.
What role do you think artists have in society?
I believe that artists are here to inspire. Typically, the sole purpose of any musical artist is to make the listener feel some type of emotion. Music is all about a feeling; a vibe. Also, personally, I feel I have to be responsible with that ability. Musicians are definitely influencers.
What genre do you most identify with?
R&B. Period. Over the years, I’ve touched on many different sounds but R&B influences just about every style of music.
What jobs have you had other than being an artist?
As a teen, I was a Best Buy sales rep. I worked in the video games department lol. In my adult life, I have worked as a marketing coordinator, account manager, web developer, digital strategist and more. it’s safe to say, I am definitely a tech nerd.
What food, drink, song inspires you?
Pizza, Arnold Palmer and currently “you should see me in a crown” by Billie Eilish.
What makes you angry?
Inequality. Racism. Bigotry.
What is one mistake you’ve made in life?
Whew, I could name quite a few but I think life is about making mistakes. No one is perfect. Mistakes lead to massive inner growth and success in the long run. You have to learn in life what (or who) works for you and what doesn’t.
What superpower would you have and why?
I wish I had the power to manipulate probability, causing unlikely things to happen or likely things not to happen.
Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.
This must be a trick question ha! If I had to pick three and this is a long shot but here’s my top three: Michael Jackson, a creative genius. Lionel Richie, a prolific songwriter. Beyonce, unmatched business savvy.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
To always say “when” and not “if”. This was a game changer for me. And last but no least, stamping every prayer with “In Jesus’ name”. If you’re thinking it sounds too preachy, just give it a try and watch how your life transforms.
When do you think you will “make it”?
This is the question I am asked all day, every day and at just about every performance. Here’s my answer. I get to wake up every day, in perfect health, and live. I am just so thankful for that in itself, so let’s start there. Musically, every day is a new adventure. I love how I am in control of my career and that I am beginning to see the fruits of my labor so to speak. Of course, I want and crave so much more when it comes to music success. Who wouldn’t? Nevertheless, I am living my dreams. Every night I say my prayers and continue to dream. I have an incredible support system and team and that is such a blessing.
How does it feel to be on the lineup with Katy Perry and more for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival?
Surreal. I remember the day of the lineup announcement. I was freaking out all day awaiting the talent press release. When the news hit that I would be playing the Congo Square stage and also the same day as Katy Perry, my jaw dropped. I was completely overwhelmed with excitement.
What can you tell us about the new single Push My Luck?
Push My Luck is easily one of the best songs I’ve released yet. I promise you I’m not just hyping it up for the sake of shock value but honestly, it’s the one. Produced by my long time friend and producer Tic Toc, musically it’s on a whole new level for me and I strongly believe everyone will vibe to it. March 1st can’t get here fast enough. Spotify users can actually pre-save it now so that they’ll have it the second it drops.