Justine Blazer, ‘Gasoline’ Catch Fire

Part 2 of Our Interview

Just a few years ago, Justine Blazer found herself having to describe her transformation to country music. “I always felt like I had to explain, ‘Oh, yeah I’m from Detroit.’ And it was always like the ‘Oh, they have country music?’”

justine newShe doesn’t have to explain herself anymore. Armed with a successful country album, a single climbing the charts in Europe and a bus full of road-ready musicians, Justine is quickly gaining traction and respect.

Justine either wrote or co-wrote each of the 11 tunes on Gasoline, which she released in March, 2013. “It’s actually been my best received album yet,” she said. “I think that’s because it’s the first album I did here in Nashville. I really found myself with my writing and representing my style and my sound, versus the previous album (“Welcome to My World,” 2010). I felt Gasoline was more of a benchmark to lead me to where I’m at right now.”

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The first video from Justine’s record is for the party anthem “Amen for the Weekend.” The video has aired on TNN, GAC and Zuus Country.

“We’ve had a few different songs off the album go to radio which was validating, because they all hit at least Top 100 somewhere on the charts,” Justine said. “I just had a new single, ‘On the Edge With You’ go to radio in Europe. I signed a European deal last month so that’s circulating out there and I’m getting more exposure now on a worldwide level, so that’s exciting.”

justine blazer beaverdamusa.comWhile being a 5-foot-10 former model makes for eye-catching album art, it’s obviously Justine’s talent behind the microphone is what resonates with her fans. She has been described as a female Jason Aldean. But she says her fans aren’t confined to one demographic.

“It really is a huge market because I’ve had everybody from younger kids, to older college age, to everywhere in between,” she said. “I think there’s a song on the album that can relate to everybody in some sense, so it really is like this wide range of people who like the album and have bought it.

“A song speaks to somebody so maybe that’s the essence of the album. It has a pretty wide range of subjects to talk about.”

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Justine has taken on 2014 with a vengeance. “We are very busy,” she said. “Some of my goals this year are to get over to Europe, start getting my music circulated (there).

Beyond that, “We work with (Dodge) Ram trucks and have been working with them since 2011,” Justine added. “I just got back from the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, and we did two weeks out there. We performed for the rodeo before and after it with Ram trucks. That’s kind of neat. And I’m working on getting a music video done for one of my songs “Not Over You” which is on the Gasoline album; and we’re looking forward to possibly doing CMAs this summer.”

To supplement performing, Justine is eager to pitch her songs on Music Row. “I have my own publishing right now, but I would like to branch out a little bit more and perhaps be a part of that community, that scene. I’ve been so busy doing my promotion on my own stuff, and that’s going to continue. But parallel to that I want to get more of my songs as a songwriter out there as well, because that’s just as lucrative as doing the live show thing,” she said.

And, she’s glad to pick up her pen again. “I’ve been actually writing a ton lately. I’ve written (and co-written) several new songs in the past few weeks… That’s been really fun, just getting back to the drawing board and creating. I didn’t do any writing at all in 2013,” she said, “because I was so busy promoting the current stuff, recording it, doing the radio tour and all that stuff you’ve got to do to get it promoted, which is fun. But that’s a whole other element. So it’s kind of going back to the drawing board and creating more songs and stuff like that.”

Look for Justine on the road this summer. “We already have a lot of dates booked this year and this summer and just growing that as well,” she said. “I take my full band everywhere. They’re really dedicated to my project, and I’ve got a great group of guys who represent my sound and my show.”

Like lots of artists these days, Justine works independent of a record label. “I’ve actually had a couple of different contracts come my way between management and labels, but I just felt like it wasn’t in my best interest, because it wasn’t anything I wasn’t already doing myself,” she said.

“I would love to sign on eventually or maybe get a distribution deal with one of the majors,” she explained, “just because they have the resources and the advancement, like the money to expedite the process. It’s something that if it’s presented to me, and if it’s something that feels right at the time, then I would definitely consider that, but right now I’m just kind of doing the indie thing.

“I’m just over here trying to play some gigs and write some songs, and I don’t want it to turn into something not fun anymore.”

Read Part 1 of our interview here.

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Justine Blazer Brings Detroit Sass to Nashville

justine blazer beaverdamusa.comDetroit is arguably one of the most important cities in American music history. Consider the influence of Stevie Wonder, Ted Nugent, Bob Seger, Madonna, Kid Rock, and dozens more. Though music has evolved since Motown, one thing remains the same: these artists aren’t just from Detroit, they are Detroit.

Country artist and Detroit native Justine Blazer is no exception. Let’s see: her latest album is titled Gasoline, no less. Her father worked for Ford Motor Company. And she speaks with a confidence worthy of her Detroit musical ancestors.

“I feel like I can sing about and represent the blue collar, gridiron town of Detroit or relatable cities like Gary, Ind., Pittsburgh, some of those other markets,” Justine told us recently. “You know, I was just in Madison, Wisc., and you wouldn’t think that country music would resonate, but I’m learning that country music isn’t just about people who live south of Mason-Dixon, north of Florida and east of Texas. It’s definitely got a really mass appeal.

“And I think it’s about the song,” she said. “I think whether it’s a fun rocking tune, or a sassy tune, or if it’s something that’s got a little bit more subject matter to it, I think it can relate,” she said. “So you just have to take it for what it’s worth and make it work for you and not apologize from where you’re from and what you represent. And I represent… the hardworking good people that I grew up with. Those are my peers, and my friends, and my family, and you know they speak country music, too.”

Justine moved to Nashville 2 years ago. And if hard work is any indicator of success, she will soon be a household name. She tours relentlessly, acts as her own manager and promoter, and still made time to write or co-write every track on Gasoline, which was released in March, 2013.

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Pop music’s loss became country’s gain some 10 years ago. “I was in high school, and I thought I was going to be the next Britney Spears — you know we all thought that,” she laughed. “And it’s kind of like I wanted to be a pop star. Most artists may go through that phase – trying to find out who you are.”

Call it foreshadowing, but Justine got a glimpse of her musical future even before Britney’s influence. “Actually I lived in Nashville when I was a kid. My parents lived here for a bit, and I definitely felt like my country roots started when I was at a young age because I lived in Nashville.”

It didn’t hurt that Justine was listening during a time when females dominated country radio. “There aren’t as many now , but there were (many female artists) then like Jennifer Day, and SHeDAISY, and Dixie Chicks, and Shania, and Faith Hill, and the list just goes on — and Trisha Yearwood, and LeAnn Rimes, and Lila McCann. I could just go on with all those CDs I had that were female fronted.”

Justine can’t remember not wanting to be in the spotlight. “I always loved singing. I started singing when I was 5. My mom put me in lessons and I always wanted to be in showbiz. I wanted to be on stage, and I always was on stage doing dance lessons and dance competitions and pageantry; and you know, whatever allowed me to be on stage, I did. And it was something I wanted to do, even at a very young age. So I just did whatever I could to be on stage, and I always thought I really wanted to be country.

“I recorded my first country demo at 13 years old that was submitted to Nashville. And I did some other studying – I studied opera and jazz, just some other genres just to get myself more well-rounded as a vocalist. And it wasn’t until my second album that I decided to embrace the country thing, and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.

“And if somebody likes country — especially female fronted, that’s what I am,” she said, adding, “I know right now very popular on the radio is kind of like that bro country kind of stuff which is cool, but I think my stuff sets it apart because I’m not that.”

Obviously. She’s just a good ol’ Detroit girl.

Get more Justine:
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(Next week, Justine will talk about the making of Gasoline, her new single release in Europe and what she sees for her future.)

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