Charming, electrifying, talented and charismatic — that’s how I’d describe Justin Hopkins. A member of Team CeeLo on the second season of The Voice, Justin has been giving the world plenty of soul with his music. Hopkins is not a newbie to the music scene. In fact he’s been in the industry for ten years. He’s performed with acclaimed musicians like Sara Barielles, and worked with credible professionals such as David Foster. I recently interviewed Hopkins to find out more about this rising singer-songwriter.
1. One of the things I love about music is story telling. It’s how I connect to music, and I know that’s a huge reason why you love music as well. Was The Voice a good platform for you to be able to tell more stories?
In all honesty, I loved my experience on The Voice. Through and through. I wouldn’t call it a platform for storytelling though. More of a show us what you got in 60 seconds. But once you’re on/off the show, there’s certainly a new group of folks that would like to hear what you have to say.
2. The song choice for the battle rounds seemed to hit home talking about the “the road’s no place for a family.” How have you been able to juggle a musical career and raising a family?
It’s a juggling act, but a lot less so when both people are on the same page. It’s tough to be away from my daughter, but I’ve also modified my routine and how I make music and share it to allow me to be at home more. When I was in my 20s, it was “point a compass, grab some whiskey, and let’s rock.”
3. I love the track “Love on the Radio!” it’s my sunshine jam! 😉 What was the inspiration behind it?
When I was in college there was a drive-thru mexican restaurant that would sell you margaritas through the window if you sweetened the deal for em. My girl at the time and I would roll through and spend afternoons driving through the countryside looking for weird places to, you know. Anyway. I was reminiscing those early days, then realized I was still living em. And then the song popped out.
4. You said your music’s a cross between folk and soul. They’re two really great genres for expressing emotions and life tales. Is that what you draws you to those styles?
I really like epic songs, and rocking out. But it just crushes my voice. I think I was drawn to folk and soul because it felt so effortless, and more natural. My lyrics fit the music better. I just kind of fell into it out of convenience.
5. Ceelo gave us one of the most talked about anthems “Forget You” and other fantastic records. What was the best part about having him as a coach?
Ceelo could give two shits about anybody’s opinion, and has a plan. He knows what we can do and he puts you in a place to do it.
6. NeYo was your mentor for the battle rounds. Not only is he a great singer/songwriter, he’s a fabulous producer. Did he give you valuable advice as an artist?
There were some good moments, but I’m not used to being on camera and was super distracted. I wish I could tell you 1 thing that either of them told me that evening. However, I bumped into Neyo at a Beverly Hills hotel awhile back during a gig and he said, “Don’t be an asshole and make a record already.” I thought that was strong.
7. The backstage StageIt at the After Party show was a blast! Did you enjoy talking to viewers at home, and what was the After Party experience like for you?
So glad you dug that! the whole thing was such a massive operation yet so fun. The minute it got underway I just got to relax and make music with some of the best friends I’ve made in my 10 year career.
8. A lot of your Voice peers started Kickstarters to make their records. Would you ever consider starting one?
I think it’s a great concept, and I understand the idea behind it. However, I like having people working around me completely incentivized on a project, and that means the folks backing it. If you see me out on the road, it’s because there’s somebody backing the project. Just from a business standpoint, I’m not ready to take that leap and put my fans in a place where they’re responsible for my growth. Once I’ve sold a couple hundred thousand records, then yeah, I’ll be ready to start a Pledgemusic or Kickstarter.
9. What has been the most indulging thing about being an artist so far?
I had some pretty great success in other parts of the world like Sweden and Denmark. Getting to whip my passport out 4 to 5 times a year is probably the biggest perk.
10. Following the “six word memoir formula,” in six words describe your life as an artist.