If you don’t recognize the name Justus Bennetts quite yet, you definitely know his music.
Since his first single ‘Nightstand‘ blew up on TikTok, Bennetts has been on a steady upward path to musical success. His song ‘Real Life Sux,’ first teased in a TikTok video that drummed up tons of anticipation, ended up snagging him number eight on the US Viral Charts and millions of TikTok views. With an eclectic, cool mix of influences and sounds that culminate into his energetic intertwining of hip-hop and rock, Justus Bennetts is a name you need to look out for.
In our exclusive interview, we got to ask the 21-year-old about the behind-the-scenes of his cathartic new single ‘Bad Day,’ and how making music helped him survive the pandemic. We’re obsessed with his chill energy and his honest, catchy music that makes us wanna dance around the living room and let it all out.
Check it out below!
First off, can you give a little insight to our readers into who Justus Bennetts is?
I’d say Justus Bennetts is just your average cool guy – a guy you can easily kick back with, your ‘everyday dad’ in a sense. Growing up, I had a very close relationship with my dad, and I found that a lot of his personality traits rubbed off on me, giving me a more mature, caretaker, and father-figure vibe. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a 21-year-old kid that likes to party and mostly I’d say I have a chill personality, but when it comes to music, I’m a f*cking rockstar.
Did growing up in North Carolina influence you musically in any way?
Yes, it introduced me to the world of hip-hop which sparked my interest in writing music.
Going off of that, how did you find your sound? Are you still figuring out who you are as an artist?
I honestly found my sound through trial and error. ‘Nightstand’ and ‘Replace You’ are what kickstarted the more pop sound of what it is today but I’m constantly growing and learning more about who I am or what I’m ‘supposed’ to be like as an artist every day.
Your songs sound like they’re made for screaming along at the top of your lungs with the windows down, and we love singing along to ‘Bad Day,’ so if you could choose 5 songs to jam out to, what would they be?
5 songs I could jam out to are: ‘Name’ by Boon, ‘body bag’ by Machine Gun Kelly, ‘Best Friends’ by grandson, ‘The 90s’ by FINNEAS, and ‘sauceintherough’ by brackence.
So many artists say that songwriting is a way to process emotions and life. Does that ring true for you? What’s your headspace like when you approach songwriting?
I believe that all life experiences I go through and all emotions I feel definitely impact the words and how I portray them – but it doesn’t necessarily correlate to what I’m going through in that moment. I refer back to past experiences but also what could happen in the future or relating to other people in general. When I approach songwriting I don’t normally have an intention – I go into it knowing the key is to express but with the mindset of outdoing my previous song, always wanting to create the next best single.
Did you have any specific musical influences in mind while writing ‘Bad Day?’
No specific influences, but it stemmed from Remy’s altercation with someone in the elevator on the way up to the session. Doc hit a guitar loop and Jesse, Remy, and I were all just vibing hoping whoever was in that elevator would have a bad day.
We love your TikTok where fans can add their own second verse to ‘Bad Day’! If you could add anyone to the track for a guest verse, who would it be and why?
This is a hard one – but if I could have anyone on the track I would have to pick The Kid LAROI. I’m inspired by who he is as an artist and all of his recent success. It would be awesome to have two more people in addition to a couple more verses too.
What was the process like creating the music video for ‘Real Life Sux?’ It was so fun and perfect for summer! We couldn’t get enough.
It was a long and tiring day of running around from 9am – 12am, soaked in sweat, but it was a great time getting to meet a ton of people from TikTok. We had fun.
Your lyrics are so relatable, and that’s one of the reasons we love your music so much! What would you say is your favorite lyric you’ve written?
When I rhyme ‘one-night stand’ with ‘nightstand.’
Your music so far has all been released during the ongoing global pandemic. How has the pandemic influenced you musically and career-wise? Did it play a part in the creation of any of your songs?
It definitely was a hard year for many, but I was motivated and thankfully with access to the internet, technology, and Zoom meetings, etc. I used it to my advantage in creating music. I’m very chill and sometimes lazy but if I can do everything (hang out, play video games) in the same spot I do all of my work in – I will be happy. Being trapped alone inside my house and inside my head, I wanted to express my thoughts through music because I couldn’t have that human interaction. So I really attribute making music to getting me through the pandemic.
What do you think of TikTok’s impact on the music industry as someone who has been able to garner such major success on the platform?
TikTok has completely revolutionized the music industry and has given less control to labels and more power into the hands of the people actually listening to the music and more power to the independent creators to have the ability to reach a broader audience than it ever has before.
Since you ~accidentally~ dropped a ‘Bad Day’ sneak peek on TikTok, could you maybe ~accidentally~ give us any hints on what’s next for you?
I may or may not be releasing an EP but that is only if I were to ~accidentally~ tell you that.
Stream ‘Bad Day’ here!
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Featured Image Source: Shervin Lainez, edited by Afnan Acharki for The Honey Pop