There are some artists who just go through the motions, have their music written for them and are as processed as the snacks found in most school lunches – and then there are artists such as Justin Michael Williams who take music to a level that’s artistic in a way that a museum piece is. A pure form of emotional expression that resonates with those who view on a personal level, no matter who they are. That’s because Justin knows life, he knows love, he knows pain. When he lost his grandmother, he was inspired to finally start recording music. With that he has a new album coming this fall, but first fans can get a taste of what’s to come with his latest single, “Here With Me.” Fans can also get to know more about what to expect from the album, his take on the world and more with the following exchange of words.
Kendra: You started out as a meditation/yoga teacher. Do you still dabble in that or are you all in when it comes to your music career?
Justin Michael Williams: Meditation is still a huge part of my life. I meditate every day for about 20 minutes first thing in the morning and haven’t skipped a day in years. It’s the glue that holds my life together. It puts me on the express elevator to accomplishing my goals.
I’ve been finding that a lot people think meditation isn’t for them because “they can’t stop thinking.” I was the same way. There are a lot of weird rumors about meditation so I love to teach people about it so they can experience the life changing benefits. I’ve been incorporating meditation workshops into the festivals I perform at. So far it’s been such a hit that I’m working on an online meditation training to help people learn. That’s coming soon!
Kendra: Your grandma was the one who actually inspired you to record your record a few years ago. Has she continued to be your spiritual guide in reaching for the stars so to speak and going after your dreams?
Justin: She is always with me. Every time I step on stage or record in the studio, I wear a piece of jewelry she gave me just before she passed away. A lyric in “Here With Me” says “a feather fallen from your wing, leading me, taking me.” I can always feel her guiding my path — especially in times when I’m feeling vulnerable or scared. We all have our unseen guides working magic for us behind the scenes.
Kendra: Now, you’re classified as a conceptual artist. Have you always been someone who is very artsy when it comes to their craft?
Justin: My two passions are music and storytelling. Music + storytelling = magic. I like to combine them as much as possible when creating my art to make people feel. Everything you’ll see from me will have both elements.
Kendra: We can see that conceptuality in your latest video for “Here with Me,” which you’ve said is a commentary on what’s going on with society and in politics. In the grand scheme of things, can America get through the upcoming election without too much damage?
Justin: Although it may seem like a breakdown, I think America is on the verge of a major BREAKTHROUGH. Just before any big transformation, we always experience tension and pressure. It builds and builds until something new forms. We are in that tension now and learning how to dance in that fire.
Kendra: On the flip side, the video also reminded me of something we’d see from Sia. Did you channel her at all?
Justin: Wow. I’m honored to hear that. Sia is incredible so that reference is a big compliment. I saw her perform at Coachella a few months ago and she blew me away — a true artist. If I can move people the way she does with my art…I know I’m on the right track.
Kendra: “Here with Me” will be on your upcoming fall release, METAMORPHOSIS. When it comes to the album as a whole – what can we expect in a nutshell?
Justin: METAMORPHOSIS is about transformation. We all know we were put on this earth to do something incredible, but so many things stop us. Death, heartbreak, addiction, sex, the list goes on…the album gives a voice to the roadblocks that so many of us face. Each song is a way to shed and release the shit that holds us back from stepping fully into our power and purpose.
Kendra: Other than an album dropping, what else do you have planned in the coming months?
Justin: I’m working on videos for the second and third singles right now — they’re coming out incredible. The second single is really different from “Here With Me” and I can’t wait for people to see this one. They’re going to flip. I also have a live show in New York City at Rockwood Music Hall on October 20th.
Kendra: Inspiration is all around us, are there any up and coming artists who’ve inspired you in the past year or so you think our readers should check out?