An der Seite von Kygo ("Stargazing") feierte JUSTIN JESSO großen Erfolg und baute sich nach und nach seine eigene Fanbase auf. Der US-Amerikaner ist in Chicago geboren und aufgewachsen, studierte später Songrwriting in New York. Der Singer-Songwriter ist mittlerweile auch als Produzent tätig. Am 11. Oktober erschien seine neue Single "As Far As Feelings Go" (feat. Alle Farben). Vor einigen Wochen haben wir Justin ein paar Fragen gestellt.
Hey there Justin, how are you doing?
Justin: I’m good! In bed in Berlin, just waking up. Excited for the Berlin headline show tonight!!
You are on tour, playing in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Zürich, Utrecht… What does Europe mean to you? Do you have a different feeling being in Europe compared to being back home in the US?
Justin: I love Europe. I feel like people here really appreciate music. It’s a great vibe and always a great crowd. I miss home sometimes (I wish I could take my dog Elvis on the road with me) but I love being in different countries and playing my music. Just recently, I was lucky to play shows in Norway, Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland and several cities in Germany. I am so grateful I get to do this.
Most people know you from your song “Stargazing”, that you wrote and produced with Kygo. What does this song and the positive feedback still mean to you?
Justin: I love the song. It’s funny I thought I’d get tired of singing it after a couple years but I haven’t. This song feels like coming home to me. It seems to have touched so many people in positive ways, and being on the road allows me to meet those people, which is awesome. I want to share with you a message from someone who came to my Munich show from a girl named Laura: “I just wanted to say that I really appreciate you not only as a artist, but only as the person who you are. For your authenticity, honesty and your credibility. You are an artist who has an story to tell and makes your fandom a part of it. This is something really rare to find nowadays. It‘s always how you make people feel, what you have to tell and to leave people better off as you‘ve found them. My parents were also musicians, unfortunately I lost them due to cancer 1 year ago. When I listen to stargazing, I always remember my mum singing it, always remembering the happy time we had back then." Getting messages like this is why I do it. I am so grateful the song means something to people.
You’ve been nominated for the Latin Grammy awards in 2017 for Ricky Martin’s single “Vente Pa’ Ca” as a co-writer. You also wrote songs for The Backstreet Boys, Armin van Buuren or AJ Mitchell. You actually studied songwriting in New York. Have you always wanted to expand your songwriting and work for other artists as well? What it so special about it to you?
Justin: That was how I broke in. I started writing songs for other people hoping eventually I’d be able to write songs for myself and be taken seriously as an artist. That is how Bruno Mars, Julia Michaels, and John Legend all did it. In fact most of the artists I respect started as songwriters for others first.
Describe your music with three words!
Emotional -- Exciting -- Cathartic (hopefully) :)
What’s your favorite song to play live – and why?
„Getting Closer“ - when everyone is singing along is really fun. “Let It Be Me” - At the show in Berlin they knew every word, which was amazing. „Stargazing“ - I always love playing that song... and I love playing ballads on the piano.
Which show/concert will you always remember?
Just now – it might be my last show in Berlin! But overall it’s probably the Sziget festival in Budapest. It was huge - 110k people, and we were right after Shawn Mendes. Afterwards, Shawn, Kygo, and I tended bar for everyone which was a blast. Also my first hometown show in Chicago at the United Center. The floor shook when I said I was from Chicago. And the Troubadour - my first headline LA show. The energy was awesome.
If you had to live on a desert island and you were only allowed to take three albums/records with you – which ones would you choose and why?
Stevie Wonder - Songs in the key of life
Michael Jackson - Off the wall
Maroon 5 - Songs about Jane
I grew up listening to all of these. Always am going back.
• Living in the mountains or living at the beach?
Ahh both! But let’s do beach!
• Festival or club show?
The club show have been so fun, but I love a good festival.
• Sweet popcorn or salty popcorn?
• Guitar or piano?
• Book or podcast?
If you had to write your own autobiography – what would the title be?
What are your plans for the rest of the year and do you even have some exciting plans for 2020 already?
I will have new music coming out this year. If you want to have a sneak preview of it – stop by at one of my shows! You might be able to decide which one will be released next;)
A last message to the readers?
Excited to meet you at one of my shows! Thank you!!!
(c) Sarah, 22. Oktober 2019