At one time the rock/folk singer-songwriter was the most authentic and celebrated performer in popular music. Legendary guitarists like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, John Lennon, and others crafted classic blues-inspired tunes from scratch, taking on the role of the composer, the musician, and the vocalist.
In 2012, a lot contemporary performers are mostly content with conveying the emotions written by another person, but Brooklyn’s Justin Pavia has tapped back into the spirit of great artists of yesteryear by using his own experiences and imagination to create musical stories that reveal the true person belting out the tunes. Pavia doesn’t need to use social media posts as a means to let you into his personal world. He lets his music do the talking- well, most of the time.
Fortunately, the multi-talented songsmith opened up to DZI: The Voice in our latest exclusive interview. Justin shares his creative process, his musical influences, how he connected with his new team, and more. It’s time everyone gets to know Justin Pavia.
When did you first discover your voice as an artist?
Well I started singing and doing musical theater when I was 12 but not until about 13 or 14 when I actually started writing my own music. I couldn’t hear my voice until people started telling me it was different.
Do you have any formal musical training?
Yes, with different vocal instructors as well as voice coaches for theater as well as just voice and speech training at film school, but till this day I just try and do my own thing with my voice.
My melodies are my own, and I’m not quite sure how they’ll affect other people, but I hope it makes them listen.
How would you describe your sound?
Different. Innovative, something people haven’t hear before. My melodies are my own, and I’m not quite sure how they’ll affect other people, but I hope it makes them listen.
I enjoy R&B but blues definitely. Blues is a more soulful portrayal with the guitar that really defines itself. That’s why when a heart gets broken or someone leaves it gives you the blues.
What’s your process when constructing a song? Do you start with the lyrics, melody, or guitar riff first?
Always the guitar riff. Once I establish a riff that I like I can hear the melody and the changes within the chord progression. From there I’ll start singing random things until I find the melody, and then I’ll sit back and really think about what it is I’m writing about.
The traditional singer-songwriter hasn’t really been the main focus of mainstream music in recent years. Do you have desires to be a big crossover success and would you be willingly to alter your sound in order to achieve that?
Yes, I definitely would, but I want me and my guitar to stand out and be taken for what it is. I can only alter my style so much before it just isn’t me anymore or it just doesn’t sound good. So only to an extent, but I definitely want to be a songwriter of the new generation.
Like anyone else when they feel down or unsure, there’s so much on the mind that needs to be let out.
Your song “For those who are Lost” is a real intimate portrayal of a loving but troubled relationship. Was this song inspired by a real situation in your life?
I’d say just my life at the time more then anything. I was out of work feeling down and wondering why I couldn’t make that next step. It was just an accumulation of my feelings and curiosity at the time. Like anyone else when they feel down or unsure, there’s so much on the mind that needs to be let out. So I think that’s kind of the direction I was going in with that.
Your new single “Everyone I Know” features members of hip hop group Futuristic Lingo. How did you hook up with them?
Well, I met them when I was in film school. I lived in this student housing complex in Brooklyn Heights, and I was in a band at the time. We were downstairs playing that song when we met them, and they loved it and wanted to keep in touch/work with us in the near future. So now I have a few different song concepts in the works that we’re going to collab on as well as me being a part of the Lingo now. 100k
Are there any other up-and-coming or underground artists that you would like to work with?
Anyone who has a nice smooth sound that I feel I would mesh nicely with. There’s so many talented people out there. It’s just a matter of finding the ones I work well with.
In today’s music world, a lot of fans aren’t just interested in an artist’s music. Many of them also want to be connected with the artist’s personal life and views. Do you think the focus on other aspects besides just the music effects artists creatively?
Yes, definitely. My life story and my journey is a very crazy one and someday when I do get the chance to tell it to the world I don’t want it to be misconstrued or altered which is what happens to a lot of artists. The media manages to turn their lives into a scandal. I want people to know I’m a human being just like them.
Who are some of the artists that you look to as models for your career?
John Lennon, Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes, and most importantly my dad who gave me my first guitar. Other artists as well but those mainly.
Who would you say are the five best guitarists of all time?
Jimi Hendrix, because he played how he was feeling, so raw and different, and honestly I couldn’t tell you. I don’t always listen to shredding guitar music or rock bands. I listen to more mellow acoustic tunes and The Beatles etc.
Do you express yourself through any other artistic mediums?
Yes. Acting, as well as dance, and drawing. I’ve been acting longer then I’ve been songwriting. It’s the thing that actually got me into art in the first place. The beautiful feeling of getting lost in another character, living in someone else’s shoes for a little while, and being able to portray their story.
What’s next for Justin Pavia?
Hmmm, I wanna be one of the greats, so I hope to make it to the top and be an inspirational figure. We’ll see what time brings. If fate says I’m ready, then I will be.
To download Justin’s new single “Everyone I Know” click it.
To connect with Justin follow him @JustinPavia
Check out the videos for “Everyone I Know” featuring Futuristic Lingo & “For those who are lost”: