Singer-songwriter Justin Nozuka is no stranger to the music world and all the ups and downs that come along with it. He's been writing and recording songs since his teen years and knows all too well the struggles of making music you truly enjoy while not losing yourself along the way. In 2007 he released his debut album, Holly, named after his mother who helped and supported his music career since the very beginning. He had been recording the album since the age of 16 and once it was released he did extensive touring which later left him feeling uninspired, artistically. That led him to step aside from music for a while in the efforts of finding himself again.
Now a 29-year-old musician who has been in the industry for over a decade with a long and winding musical journey, he shares how his sound, objectives, and personal growth have changed. "I really explored creatively, I had felt things that I hadn't felt before. It just felt really liberating and I felt young again," he tells us of his journey of taking a leap of faith in his music and going with the flow of life. "I think it's about finding that perfect balance..singing music that fulfills me or just allows me to live a healthy lifestyle."
As he shares old and new music with us, it's clear to see that the artist with mature lyrics and vulnerable sounds has now truly grown up to be the man his music always implied he was. He released High Tide back in September of 2017 which is part one of his long awaited album. He considers it to be light energy in comparison to part two, Low Tide, which is a bit heavier and was released on February 16th. The full album, which contains songs from both EPs plus additional new tunes, will be released this summer.
isn't it? Ah, shit. - That one's really good. - All right. - Yeah. That's good. - You ready? - Go. - My name is Justin Nozuka. I hail from Toronto. I was born in New York and I'm a singer-songwriter. - One, two. I remember That by noon Set in mercy Heard the loon We were moving Our hands to the light You asked me Was it true I said what What you knew You left an absent clue Then we both took light Oh, oh for forgiveness And all you wanted love Oh, yeah for forgiveness And all you wanted love Take me up You are all I need From the rough You are all I need Further up Of the brightness of the memory From the rough Ooh, you are all, you are all I need That's when you Took taking off Like a runner You ran through the rough Singing Blackstreet Sang that part too soon I ran after you Picked you up, momma We jumped in the lake And then we both got up We were moving Our hands to the starry night Oh, oh for forgiveness And all you wanted love Oh, yeah for forgiveness And all you wanted love Take me up You are all I need From the rough You are all I need Further up Of the brightness of the memory From the rough Ooh, you are all, you are all I need From the rough You are all I need Further up Of the brightness of the memory From the rough Ooh, you are all, you are all I need Told me what to want but it don't know me Not at all Summer has run and winter's settled already All in the other way To break from all that grief Gentle we fall Take me up Take me up darling From the rough, fill me up darling Further up, fill me up darling From the rough Oh You are all I need From the rough You are all I need Further up Of the brightness of the memory From the rough Ooh, you are all, you are all Take me up You are all I need From the rough Oh, you are all I need From the rough Of the brightness of the memory From the rough You're taking me up now Further up From the rough Say momma Say momma - It's been a long journey. Like, it's been a pretty windy road, I suppose. I started recording my record when I was about 16 or so, put that out when I was like 17 years old, and did extensive touring for a long time. After I've been touring so long and just working so hard, I felt uninspired and I wasn't happy with where I was artistically and what I was presenting. I really just intuitively felt like I got to step aside from all this for a little while. Especially during that time when I had that low, that space, I really explored creatively and it was...I felt things that I hadn't felt before, you know. It just felt really liberating and I felt young again, you know. Just like, hey, I don't know where this is going but I'm going to take a leap of faith, I guess, in a direction and just, kind of, go with the flow. The light in your room From across the doorstep A shadow that moves Bright rhythms towards you Oh how would I do In your ribbons of virtue Your ribbons of virtue I'm waiting for the time When you wave Sun is falling The sky a darker blue A heavy weight I can't fight To want to fall It takes a hold of me A rise of lines in my mind Upon they grew I dream to lie To bare with you I want to lie to the edge with you I want to run down your arm While you lie there Warm under the light Deeper in the height With this lilac wine I could just scream At the top of my lungs Falling asleep With your leg on my stomach Warm under the light Deeper in the height When I'm with you A starling that flew, oh It dips and it rises To sit by your room, oh It sees what no one sees Oh how would I hold Your ribbons of virtue With nothing to hold to Still waiting for the time When you wave Sun is falling The sky's still darker blue A heavy weight I can't fight To want to fall It takes a hold of me A rise of lines Oh, how I admire you I dream to lie To bare with you I want to lie to the edge with you I want to run down your arm While you lie there Feelin' warm under the light Deeper in the height With this lilac wine I could just scream At the top of my lungs Falling asleep With your leg on my stomach Warm under the light Deeper in the height When I'm with you And hadn't I known The way that it'd go A moment in time To ride like that So heavy it flows Deep in my mind The way it goes - And then the second song we played was Warm Under the Light. - Which is a song about a neighbor whom I was attracted to. I had a crush on my neighbor and I didn't know her very well. I lived in an apartment and so, I have a balcony and she has a balcony. I probably shouldn't say too much. If she sees this, she'll be like... does she still live there? - She still lives there, yeah. But maybe that phase has passed. But anyhow, we would wave at each other sometimes. So it's, kind of, a... somewhat, of a fantasy song. So basically, we were putting out a record this year and we're separating them in stages or parts. So we've got part one which is out...it has all ready been out. It came out last year in September. And that's called High Tide. It has a light energy. Low Tide has a little bit more of a slight bit of a darkness, I guess. And it's not too dark or nothing like that, but it's just a bit heavier, I guess, than the first part. And then we'll be touring that for a few months and we'll be setting up the release of the album probably near summertime, or so. - Things are a lot different now, you know. Like the streaming platforms is, you know...that's, kind of, the center of it, I suppose. And yeah, totally different process. So yeah. It was definitely a shock to come back in and be like, "Oh, okay. There's a different way of doing this now. " - Yeah. - Yeah. I remember, just last spring Here inside my memory, I sing All around me, hollow men Chilling at the thought of falling in Oh my lord, oh my lord Take me over and under her sun 'cause I won't be coming back To fading stars of death kingdom No, I won't be coming back Oh my lord, running circles with you love It's hard for me to think of you Here in this dead land, full of death My heart is beating fast, with tenderness Oh my lord, oh my lord Take me over and under her sun 'cause I won't be coming back To fading stars of death kingdom No, I won't be coming back Oh my love, - For me, for this project, I think it's about finding that perfect balance, you know, singing music that fulfills me or just allows me to live a healthy lifestyle. The music that you tour is, kind of, the music or the life that you live in. I definitely want to have a sustainable project, you know. A good, steady and healthy touring schedule and playing music that also fulfills me and feels real to me, I suppose, you know. - And then separate from that, I think, like, you know, I would love to dive into something that is pure, pure, you know, just expression for the sake of expressing, and that's something that, you know, I would definitely be into pursuing, probably as a side project. Yeah.
Justin Tokimitsu Nozuka (born September 29, 1988) is a Canadian-American singer and songwriter. His debut album Holly has been released in Europe, Canada, Japan and the United States. He has licensed the album to indie label Coalition Entertainment Records, distributed by Warner Music in Canada, Outcaste Records in the UK/EU distributed by EMI and Glassnote Records in the US distributed by Universal Music Group.
Justin was born one of seven children to Canadian mother Holly Sedgwick and Japanese father Hiromitsu Nozuka. Sedgwick raised Nozuka and his six siblings as a single mother. He is the brother of musician George Nozuka, musician Henry Nozuka, and actor Philip Nozuka. Other family members include Christian, another musician and two sisters, Margaret and Sandra (Sandy). His mother's half-sister is actress Kyra Sedgwick and his first cousin twice removed is Edie Sedgwick.
Nozuka began writing his own songs at age 12. The earliest of his songs on Holly, "Supposed to Grow Old" and "I'm in Peace," were written when he was 15. While attending St. Andrews College, an international boarding school in Aurora, Ontario, Justin learned to play guitar from classmates. He then went on to the Etobicoke School of the Arts, where he graduated from in 2007. His musical influences stem from artists such as Lauryn Hill and Marvin Gaye.
With help from a fellow Canadian artist, Damhnait Doyle, whom he met at a song writing workshop, Nozuka was introduced to Universal Records talent scout, Allan Reid. He recorded three tracks through Universal with Bill Bell as producer, leading Universal to request that Nozuka sign with their label. However, he decided he wanted to "record an album on (his) own, with (his) own freedom".
Justin Nozuka in concert 7 November 2009 in Annapolis, Maryland (U.S.)
In 2007, Nozuka released his debut album Holly. The album is named after his mother who helped and supported his chosen career in music. The album has eleven songs to it and includes a hidden track following the final listed song "If I Gave You My Life". Many of Justin's songs deal with mature themes such as the song "Save Him", which is a fictional account of a woman abused by her husband. Another track, "Down in a Cold Dirty Well", is about his perspective being stuck in a well, watching his life flash before his eyes. "Criminal" describes the story of a drunken man facing the consequences of throwing a bottle into a street "where children play with bare feet", and suffers from the overwhelming guilt. In February 2008, Justin was nominated for a Juno award in the category of "New Artist of the Year", following the commercial and critical success of his debut album.
Since then, Nozuka has played at such venues as the Green room stage at the Irish music festival Oxegen and T in the Park in 2007. Nozuka's song "After Tonight" has also been featured in a commercial for Scott Baio Is 46...and Pregnant on VH1, as well as on mtvU's The Freshman. Nozuka has also traveled to Austin, Texas to take part in the SXSW Music Festival as well as being interviewed by many radio stations in the area.
In 2008, Nozuka toured with Mari Digby and Eric Hutchinson. From August 2008 through November 2008, Nozuka toured all around the United States with Gabe Dixon Band & Jay Nash as well as in parts of Europe. In the beginning of 2009, he toured the United States again, this time co-headlining with Missy Higgins and with special guest, Lenka. He also toured in France to heavily promote the Holly album for its re-release.
In the summer of 2009, Nozuka began working on his second studio album, while touring and playing live shows in Europe. The result was his second album titled You I Wind Land and Sea. The album was released in the US on April 13, 2010 and debuted at Number 118 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart. The album receive positive reviews, similar to his first album.
On February 18, 2010, Nozuka lent his vocals alongside 50 of Canada's best and brightest artists on a reworked version of K'naan's "Wavin' Flag." The song was reworked in order to inspire help for Haiti after it was hit by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake. Other singers involved included K'naan, Nelly Furtado, Kardinal Offishall, Avril Lavigne, Lights, Drake, Fefe Dobson, Esthero, Jacob Hoggard and Justin Bieber, among others. It was released on iTunes Friday March 12, 2010 for purchase with all proceeds going to designated charities: World Vision, Free the Children and War Child.
Nozuka collaborated with the musical group The Slakadeliqs on their single "Love Controls the Sun" in November 2011. The song is part of the group's debut album The Other Side of Tomorrow. The group released a music video for the song featuring Justin and Slakah the Beatchild riding their bicycles on a rural road and partying.
Nozuka has performed the song "Gone" in his live shows but has yet to record it for an album. Wu-Tang Clan member RZA came across the song and decided to sample it. RZA, joined by Kobra Khan, James Black and Justin, released the song, also titled "Gone," in October 2011 as a tribute to former Wu-Tang Clan member the late Ol' Dirty Bastard. The group filmed a music video for the single featuring clips of Ol' Dirty Bastard. The single is available on iTunes.
Nozuka has also had various acting roles, including an appearance on Degrassi: The Next Generation as Chuck Hosoda, the fictional brother to recurring character Chester, played by Justin's real-life brother Philip Nozuka. Their brother George Nozuka also shared a small role in the same episode playing the third brother, Chad.
In April 2014, Nozuka released his third studio album, Ulysees. After spending 2010 touring, Nozuka took a break and started self-producing the album himself, resulting in a four-year gap between albums. The album features a soothing, calm tone which is significantly different from his previous albums, and is backed by the singles "Right By You" and "Sweet Lover".