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.

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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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