New York-born, Toronto-raised singer/songwriter Justin Nozuka boasts an entertainment-world pedigree that will perhaps forever haunt him in blurbs such as this one. His mother, Holly Sedgwick, is sister of actress Kyra — which makes Kevin Bacon his uncle and Edie Sedgwick a cousin. One brother, Phillip, is an actor, and another brother, George, is an R&B singer. So it's no surprise that as a kid, Justin dabbled in musical theater at various high-profile performing-arts schools. But, in love with classic soulful sounds from an early age, Nozuka knew music was his true passion. "I think I was about 15 or so when I decided I was going to pursue music and I was going to quit everything else," says Nozuka, now 20.
Starting out on a more traditional R&B route, Nozuka worked with a series of producers — until he discovered Ben Harper. "I really looked up to him at the time and saw how he handled his career, compared to how the R&B cats handled their careers," he says. "I just wanted to do my thing and just be me." Indeed, Harper fans will dig Nozuka's guitar-driven "acoustic soul," built on feel-good melodies with real vocal chops behind them. And while many songs are understandably autobiographical, Nozuka also possesses a mature flair for narrative. Songs such as "Down in a Cold Dirty Well" and "Criminal" take unexpected darker turns, sung from the shadier corners of Nozuka's sunny musical world.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.