Justin Fancy - '10 Questions Interview'
Born in St. John’s, Newfoundland, singer-songwriter Justin Fancy has country music in his veins. From an early age, through his musical extended family, Justin found himself immersed in old song books that shaped his musical future. Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, George Jones, and Willie Nelson were all major influences. Justin was drawn to their crying steel guitars and honky-tonk telecasters. His career has spanned more than a decade with a prolific song catalog, recording, and touring. His experiences, both in the music industry and in life, are explored in his upcoming release Long Time Comin' due out this Summer. The album's title track is a shining example of Justin's undeniable talent.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
I have always written music ever since I picked up a guitar when I was 13 years old, but just recently a relationship I was in, for whatever reason, propelled me to start writing again and writing a lot. I think I wrote 10 songs in a matter of 5 days? It was a point in my life where I had experienced the ups and downs of a relationship, the happiness, the sadness, the anxiety and stress; I had experienced it all. I write all of my music based on personal emotion, and the songs literally poured out of me after experiencing that relationship and ultimately, the failure of that relationship.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
I was gigging at a local bar in St. John's, on the famous George Street, when I was approached by a bunch of familiar faces who happened to be the members of the band, Lonestar, to sing a few songs. They were in town and had just finished a show. I had no idea how to react but my band gave them their instruments and they asked me to keep mine and sing a song. I remember singing "Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty with the band playing and singing with me. It was a moment I'll never forget, and still keep in brief contact with Dean Sams, the bands founder.
What has been the high point of your music path?
My recent success with my debut single, Long Time Comin'. I have been an entertainer for over 10 years and this new single and album is my first real crack at the Country music industry. Long Time Comin' has seen over 40,000 streams online as well as traction on Canadian country radio across the country. The song is still gaining momentum and I'm hoping the momentum will continue into my next single "Think About You" being released on April 16th, followed by my album this summer.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
As mentioned above, when I write a song it comes from the heart. Honestly, I have never actually planned a session to write a song, I normally just get an idea in my head, blurt out some lyrics and just write them out on my iphone. When I get some sort of a chord structure down, I usually take my guitar and record a voice memo on my iphone. Then I work the lyrics around the song. It could be mid day, I'm at my day job, and all of a sudden I get something in my head, so I take action to it and document it to get the foundation. Then I really work the lyrics. I cannot tell you how many times I've had songs in my head in the past that have just vanished because I didn't document them and start the process.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
Right now, I am managing everything and it is increasingly difficult to keep up with it all. But, the biggest challenge I see for indie artists these days is the knowledge and exposure around "HOW" to get your song to the right ears. A lot of musicians these days struggle with the social media and digital world. In direct contrast to that, I have a day job in the IT world, so I have done extensive research around analytics, online streaming, Spotify editorial play-listing, a a bunch of other avenues. There is no real "introduction kit" when indie artists hit the market, so you really need to spend some time and research to really approach it in the right way. Step 1 is having a good song, obviously! Once that's established, then the grunt work begins.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
Luke Combs. I write very similar music as Luke, and he's been an inspiration from the beginning of his career. He built his career on writing heartbreak and love songs, and that's what I intend to do - songs that emotionally connect with the audience.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
Living in the live entertainment industry for so long, playing the same songs over and over again, it has just become second nature to me. My band has been around for so long, I don't even believe we've ever had a rehearsal. We've just been pumping out cover songs that everyone knows for so long. I intend to change that approach, obviously stepping into the recording artist world, and intend to have a band that will rehearse the songs I've written and be a part of the success.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
My next single, "Think About You" that's debuting on April 16th was literally the toughest song I've ever written due to the time that I wrote it in. It was just after myself and my ex had split and I had a lot of emotions spiraling through my brain. I had laughed, cried, gotten mad at myself, second guessed writing the song, but I got through it, and I do believe this will be a very strong song due to the amount of emotion that was stirred up in the creating of it.
What's coming up in the future?
I have my next single releasing April 16th - the song is called "Think About You" followed by a music video for that song on the 23rd that is going to feature a childhood friend and Big Brother Canada star Samantha Picco so I'm really really looking forward to that! Then, the album drops this summer. I don't have a concrete date for that release but when I do it will be on my social media sites and website.
Tell us where fans can access your music?