Who I Am

Joel Justin
Musician, Songwriter, Performer, Producer, Recording Engineer.

“Now” from Joel Justin’s “4/4” in top 20 in South America. See Crowley Broadcast Report

I hope the first thing you notice about the songs listed here is that these are not “manufactured” songs that are pieced together, looped parts cut and pasted on a timeline, calculated and sound like most everything else, although I am quite capable of doing this in short order when a film needs a special theme.

Most of these songs were written the old-fashioned way: on my faithful “Lulu” (Gibson Hummingbird acoustic)…beat to death until I’m satisfied it’s done. Then I almost always take a new song to the stage, and if it’s a winner with the audience it jumps up the list to get recorded. Several demos later, constantly trying to fine tune the piece, I schedule session dates and try to knock out 2-3 songs at a time. Sometimes songs are performed live for several years before they get recorded. When they are recorded, they’re recorded by professional musicians and recorded live. I’m lucky enough to have befriended some of the best musicians in the world who simply just know what to do. The vocals are redone as are the solos… unless somebody went for it, and it just knocked me out, then it stays.

I think we need more new music that is made by songwriters, bands and musicians. Great songs last forever, just like great films. And if they are attached together it’s even better.

Meet Joel Justin
When I was 14, the neighbor kid got an electric guitar, and when he let me try it out I instantly found my calling. I had no idea what I was doing, but instead of trying to play something that was popular on the radio, I banged out “Wet Smoke,” my first official song, inspired by the thick blanket of fog outside my window. Now, so many years later, not much has changed in my life with regard to songwriting, except the quality of the songs. When I was 18 my dreams were starting to be realized. My band Ruth Baxter (a 3-piece power trio) left our hometown of Portage, Indiana in a rusty step van and headed to “Anywhere California,” believing that we only had until the age of 19 to make the big time.

Columbia Records had already discovered our talent (or was it the really long blond hair?) and had taken our studio recording of six songs serious enough start firing up the publicity machine, sending it to all the East and West Coast heads at the label. OK, my all time blunder. They loved the songs but wanted them cut down to radio length. We were crafting tunes that were 3-12 minutes long, and back then only underground stations played such masterful art pieces like Ruth Baxter’s signature song, “I’ve Been There Before.” I told Columbia, “What would I cut out? The songs are perfect the way they are.” I guess they figured I was going to be difficult. We came back to Portage broken, but not benched. Although I don’t follow any real formula when I’m in songwriting mode, I did learn a valuable lesson from this blunder: give the people what they want.
Because of my recent success with The Mad Ants, the band I founded and front (10 albums and counting), I was offered the opportunity to live in Brazil and record a solo rock album for Universal Records-Brasil that contains 13 rhythmic and varied songs I wrote and personalized for a Brazilian audience—who crave the classic rock sound. I was accompanied by some of Brazil’s most recognized musicians on my album “4/4.” I was also lucky enough to have Andre T, one of Brazil’s top rock producers, as my co-producer. While in production, word got out that some “crazy gringo” was here making a rock album that was about to “shake things up” in South America.

Before I knew it I was under the wings of the two top selling female stars, Ivete Sangalo and Margaret Menezes, along with the sponsorship and support of their production companies. Menezes found success here in the US early on in her career recording an album with David Byrne of The Talking Heads. She fell in love with my song, “Like it Was Yesterday,” singing a duet with me live on a Brazilian nationally televised music awards show (equivalent to our Grammy Awards) where I had been scheduled to perform. She shocked the audience by her unexpected singing in English. Shortly after this performance and a tour of South America, Ivete Sangalo’s publicist Scott Ferreira and Rafael Grimaldi became my management team, helping propel 4/4′s first single “Now” to #17 on the Brazilian charts. Because of the lack of tour support (a not uncommon artist’s predicament) “4/4′s” promotional tour was stopped cold and I returned to the states, but walked away with full ownership of “4/4″. Although it has yet to be released in the US, the songs have a timeless classic rock appeal mixed with the rhythms of Brazil that truly satisfy.

I am the author of all songs found on this website. I’m pretty sure you will be knocked out by one or more tunes here, and hope that one of my songs will bring even greater success to your new album or feature film. Once you have decided on a song or songs, simply contact Joel Justin Productions to discuss rights and fees. The moment this business is completed I will electronically send you the .wav file version or whatever method you prefer.

Looking forward to doing business
Joel Justin