Interview: Justin Terrance Brown

bill bodkin speaks with the singer-songwriter, who holds his record release party on today, Feb. 25, at The Trinity And The Pope in Asbury Park, N.J. …

With a soulful voice and a unique approach to acoustic guitar, Justin Terrance Brown is a unique addition to Asbury Park, N.J.’s vibrant music scene.

Today, Feb. 25,, he’ll release his new album, Musings From The Soul, at The Trinity And The Pope on Mattison Avenue in the Jersey Shore city.

Pop-Break’s Bill Bodkin caught up with Brown to talk about the inspiration to his infectious sound, his plans for the future and what his soul is musing about.

Pop-Break: Talk about what inspired you to pick up a guitar.

Justin Terrance Brown: I fell in love with John Mayer’s music. Something about his style captured me and from there it just took off.

PB: Who were your earliest musical influences? Did you grow up in a musical household?

JTB: No actually. I always felt like the black sheep ’cause everyone in my family is really into the medical field. My love for music came from my friends. We fell in love with Boyz II Men and many other vocal groups. We were huge vocal group fans. Harmonies were our thing. That’s where I got my feet wet. We tapped into all kinds of music from classical music to The Backstreet Boys.

Performing at McIntyre's Pub in Toms River, N.J.

PB: Who are your current influences — both in terms of guitar work and vocals?

JTB: Well it started with John Mayer, and then I explored around and found Jason Mraz, Dave Matthews Band and Javier Colon. Then I moved over to Robert Randolph, Raul Midon, and Bill Withers. What I am hooked on now is soul music and that I would say is my newest influence. I’m addicted to musicians like Jill Scott, Musiq Soulchild, Dwele, Anthony Hamilton, Stevie Wonder — the list goes on.

PB: You’re releasing your new album, Musings From The Soul today. Can you talk about the what the album means to you musically and personally? And what are you hoping people discover about you/themselves after listening to this record?

JTB: I called this album Musings Of The Soul because it is truly how I feel about everything. Life, love, happiness, everything. It’s more personal I think. Plus, having people backing me up totally helped. I have Jeff Little at bass, John Carega at percussion and Andy Demos on sax. They totally saw my vision and put so much color to it. I want people to listen to the album and realize that life is too short. That we need to stop worrying and understand that you can make it thru any situation.

PB: How do you think this album differs from your previous record?

JTB: I released a demo called Fallen Angel about five years ago, but I didn’t have any experiences with life, so I wrote about what I saw, but it wasn’t personal. It wasn’t deep enough for me. So I decided to live life a little more ’till I had something to write about. I hope with every album I release I can become deeper and deeper. I want to take all my influences and experiences and just keep building. I think that’s what all musicians strive for. I think that’s what everyone strive for in life.

PB: You have a record release party tonight at Trinity And The Pope in Asbury Park. What is it about this venue that made you want to have your party here?

JTB: The atmosphere. It’s by far one of the coolest places to play in Asbury. It’s all about the music over there. I’ve seen many musicians play at the Trinity And The Pope, and there hasn’t been one time were I haven’t been impress. Hopefully that trend will continue [tonight]. [laughs]

PB: What does the Asbury music scene mean to you?

JTB: It means so much to me and a lot of musician not only in New Jersey, but the whole Tri-State. The music is so diverse and vast and welcoming. It gave me the confidence to continue to do what I love to do. I truly feel like a star whenever and wherever I play in Asbury, whether it’s at the Pony or just on the boardwalk. People wanna hear music. I was nervous at one point cause it seemed like venues only wanted to book DJs, but Asbury reminded me that live music will always be a person’s No. 1 choice.

PB: What are your plans for 2012?

JTB: I am moving to San Francisco in March and planning on touring this year. You can listen to my music on my website [www.justinbrownmusic.com] if you can’t come to the show. The most important thing I’m gonna do is grow. Grow as a musician,as a man,and as a person and we’ll see how that goes.

Photo: Dylan Spader
Bill Bodkin is the owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, however, he is the proud father of a beautiful daughter, Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites