I’ve known Southern California-based independent artist Justin Ibrahim for several years now. I met him through a friend and only recently got to experience his music in a live setting. In late June, 2012, Justin packed the small back room of the L.A. staple, the Pig N’ Whistle in his very first Hollywood show. It was great to see him and support a friend trying to share his music and get noticed in an unfortunately over-saturated market. I was really impressed. I even took some video of the show, but regrettably never got around to posting about it on the blog. But with his upcoming debut album, “Daybreak”, set to release on January 31st, I took the opportunity to reach out to Justin and ask him a few questions. Here is the interview:
Kevin Collier: You had a great turnout at your Pig N’ Whistle show back in June. What are your thoughts on the support you had and that show in general?
Justin Ibrahim: My first show in Hollywood was a kickstart show. The response to the show was simply outstanding! A big crowd showed up and we packed the room!! A new musical artist playing his first show in Hollywood couldn’t have asked for a better turnout! The show was so much fun! My wonderful family, friends, and fans were all present and we had a blast! They are some of the best people I know and I was so honored to have performed for them.
Though I loved the raw and intimate setting we created with an acoustic set I’m really looking forward to playing shows with more instrumentation and bigger production in the near future!
KC: Talk about your recent appearance on StaticBeach.com. How was that experience?
JI: It was a pleasure to be hosted on StaticBeach.com! Since I was playing with my friend singing back up and just an acoustic guitar the audience was really able to focus on the lyrics and simple and sweet melodies of the music. I played three of my own songs and an impromptu cover of 3 AM by Matchbox 20; we gave the song more of a folk style and stripped down feel. I acknowledge that switching the style of a song is risky but sometimes it has to be done in order to turn a regular performance into a memorable experience… that’s something I always try to keep in mind when performing! I received a lot of positive feedback for the new rendition of the old song from audience members tuning in. It was a wonderful show.
KC: Congrats on the impending release of your debut album Daybreak. How does it feel to be releasing this album?
JI: Thanks. My album, Daybreak, will be released on iTunes, Spotify, and all other major online music services on January 31st! I’m overly excited! This album has taken a long time to get out; almost 4 years! But such is the way with quality, independent music. I’m finally glad I am able to share these songs from my heart with music listeners everywhere.
KC: How many tracks will be on the album?
JI: There will be 9 tracks on the album. They each tell a story about moments in my life that really sculpted who I am today. When I was traveling in Argentina I wrote a song about a girl who broke my heart. One of the tracks touches on the fallout of a relationship I had with a woman that totally crashed and burned. And once, when I was overlooking the Pacific coast, after experiencing personal tragedy, I wrote a song about healing through heartache and learning to move on. ‘Rochester’ is probably the most accessible and catchiest track of the album but my personal favorite, my baby, is “Beautiful Things.” “Beautiful Things” is the heart of the album.
KC: Can you tell us about your album release show in February? Will there be any other shows in support of the album?
JI: There will be a show on the weekend of February 22-24. We’re looking for the perfect venue in Los Angeles to host the event! I’m hoping to play a couple of shows in LA and the Antelope Valley to kick off the CD. I’m starting to build a tour through California after the CD release shows. Details and updates will be up on my website: JustinIbrahimMusic.com.
KC: What do you hope listeners will get from your album?
JI: I want my listeners to have more questions to ask themselves. As a singer/ songwriter, I personally hope to write songs that inspire people to make positive changes in their lives and make decisions and movements towards hope. In our journeys of life, we’re all on different paths. I hope that my music influences people to move towards progress. If my audience can resonate with themes in each song, whether it’s heartache, being vulnerable, cutting your losses and moving on, or living for something bigger than yourself, I will be satisfied.
KC: Who or what has been your biggest influence/inspiration in your music?
JI: My greatest inspiration comes from my faith in Jesus Christ and my relationships with others. Though my faith in Christ plays a large role in my writing, I also find I write from great pain within my heart and constant thought and doubt in my mind. We live in so much complexity; there are no black and white lines in our lives.I want my music to explore how we navigate our world as such fragile and resilient beings. When I reflect on issues centered around that context I strongly feel my purpose in writing and sharing music with others.
KC: Is there anything you would like to say to your fans?
JI: You are the best! Thank you for your love, encouragement, and support! It only gets better from here. We’re going places and it’s going to be a new, awesome, and exciting journey! See you soon!
Check out Justin’s debut album, Daybreak, out now! Click here to buy the album on iTunes. Check out his website, Twitter, and Facebook page. You should also check out Music by Cazz, another great indie artist, (he’s the guy supporting Justin on cajon in the videos).
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