Breaking through with Kygo’s ‘Stargazing’, the global hit-maker Justin Jesso has managed to deliver a bunch of bangers that helped him to climb up the ladder of success. With tracks like, ‘If You’re Meant To Come Back’, ‘Getting Closer’ and ‘Bigger Than’, Justin showed his ability to nail the dramatic and arena-scaled pop which explores the myriad ways in which love falters.
Recently, he released his brand new single, ‘Too Good To Lose’ which is an emotional track packed with Justin’s compelling vocals and striking melody making it a powerful production. The song is about knowing the idea that one is being unfair to their significant other, knowing they aren’t a good match, but loving them so much that they can’t let go.
At The Honey Pop, we had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Justin about the inspiration behind his latest release, songwriting process, major musical influences and future projects. Check out below to know more!
You wrote ‘Too Good To Lose’ after knowing you couldn’t be your best for someone. Does writing songs about your real experiences help you with healing from it or does it feel like opening a closed wound? Or maybe both?
A little bit of both. For example, with ‘Getting Closer’, it helped me close that chapter. I didn’t know if we were getting closer together or closer to the end. Writing that song gave me the closure I didn’t know I needed. Writing ‘Bigger Than’, I had to deal with all my fears, which is not something easy to do. I did it again while shooting the music video and realized how scared I was of my dad’s cancer coming back.
Where do you gain inspiration while writing for yourself and how does this differ from writing for another artist? Take us through your songwriting process, how does it usually begin?
I gain inspiration from so many different places. Mostly my life experiences, but it always comes about differently. For ‘Bigger Than’, I actually started with the first lyric of the song “I don’t wanna end up in a hospital room holding nobody’s hand”. For ‘If You’re Meant To Come Back’ – it started with my buddy Phil, one of the producers/songwriters telling me a story about how he just got back together with his girlfriend. I wrote a song yesterday where we started completely with melody and fit the words in. It happens differently really every time.
Writing for me and writing for another artist, unless I’m in the room with the artist and am trying to tell their story, I usually take the same approach and try to write the best song I can with what I am feeling at the time. It always ends up connecting to something I have lived through or am going through at the time. Very rarely do I walk away from a song and go – wow, that had nothing to do with me or my life at all, ha!
Which song of yours holds a special place in your heart and why?
They all do really, but this morning I’d say ‘If You’re Meant To Come Back’. I think we all need a reminder these days that the universe is going to take its course and what is meant to be will be. ‘Stargazing’ will always have a special place in my heart as it changed my life and launched my career as an artist.
As you’ve got a long list of songwriting credits on songs that aren’t your own, and you’ve gone to school to study songwriting, is it safe to say that songwriting is your favourite part of your career?
Haha – no the complete opposite. I LOVE being on stage. I love meeting people, I love being out in the world and doing all the promo, I love talking to people who are affected by my music, I love all the LIVE aspects of what I do. I love songwriting too, but it is definitely not my most favourite part of being an artist. It’s more like a therapy. I guess some people love therapy but more like, they need it. I need to write songs and I love to perform them.
What’s that one thing that you have learned from studying songwriting that you apply to all of your projects?
Everyone has a different perspective. We see that very well highlighted today in politics ha! Collaboration is the KEY. You can’t get anywhere if you don’t listen. The song is better when you do. Try to leave room to pull the best out of our collaborator.
Who would you say some of your biggest influences in music are? How do you think that can be seen in your music or lyrics?
My absolute favourite is the old soul – Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, James Brown, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston. I love Bruno Mars, John Legend, Lizzo, Julia Michaels, and Ryan Tedder as well. And well, I hope it is felt. It’s the emotion in which they sing their songs (for some) and the cleverness or uplifting feeling you get when listening to the lyrics for others.
You’ve collaborated with some amazing artists! Is there a dream collaboration you would love to do in the future?
Bruno Mars, Lizzo, John Legend, Stevie Wonder, Dua Lipa and Ariana Grande.
You released an EP last year, do you see a full-length debut in the near future?
YES! EP is coming soon. Sit tight for the announcement.
Oh, now we can’t wait. How do you feel your music has evolved from the beginning of your career to now? Where do you hope it evolves from here?
I want to go further and further towards timeless and classic. I’m not trying to be cool or trendy or electronic. I’m trying to be emotional, moving, exciting. I want people to listen to my songs and feel something, whether it helps them through a tough spot in their own lives or just allows them to get up and dance. I want people to feel.
Thank you for taking the time. We had a wonderful chat with Justin Jesso and can’t wait to see what’s next in the store for us to blow our minds!
You can stream and listen to ‘A Little Bit Of Yours’ on all platforms here!
Want to check out who else we’ve chatted with? Say no more!
Featured Image Source: Photos Courtesy of Marta Literska