How did you come by your stage/brand name?
Well it’s funny you ask, I use to sell cars at Mercedes-Benz at that time I was pursuing music while still working a 9-5. I use to write songs every hour on the clock and go to our “Photobooth” where we took pictures of the cars and use the bright lights to pretend I was performing the new song I just wrote to thousands of fans.
It’s funny actually admitting this story as I told myself I would keep this one in a lockbox forever. Well long story short, one of my coworkers/friends use to sit and watch me do this from a distance. One day he walked up to me while I was “performing” and told me I should change my stage name to Stage. He said he felt like everything about me is performing so I should consider using a name that describes be. After deliberating with myself I decided to do the change but change the G into a J so it represents me more as my real name is Justin.
When did you discover your love for your craft and what made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in it?
I’ve always done something in the realm of entertainment. From acting to modeling to music. My Walt says I use to put my life into sports. Football taught me a lot and I still carry over those teaching into everything that I do today. To outwork the next man, to never stop even when it looks gloomy, to be open to criticism but still face challenges.
I picked up a mic at the age of 5. I picked up my kango cap and a plastic mic and starting singing and dancing while my mom watched me perform. It’s a vivid memory I’ll never forget. Everything I’ve done since has always brought me back to music. For me, the creativeness of it intrigues me. The writing, the production of a beat, the melody you find with the lyrics you wrote for that beat. The passion felt within your tone for that specific song. All these things have to come together for any song to work. I just love the process.
To what or whom do you accredit your sense of style?
I would say my 3rd-grade teacher Mrs. Thomas. She uses to come to class smelling good and looking good everyday single day. If I remember correctly I don’t think she ever wore the same outfit mire than once. I use to think she was the richest person I ever met.
Oh, how fashion can misguide the truth. It was mostly just her boldness and uniqueness. I put that effort into anything I wear today. You got to be bold and unique. Like Charlie Wright said, “Express yourself”!
On your upcoming project, how did you come up with the concept?
I always take long drives to Malibu beach and go over all the songs I have for a specific project. I make sure that the feel is right. The track order makes sense and at the end of it, all this project is going to best express the totality of the message I’m trying to get across. With my upcoming release “Jimmy Choos” I wanted to explain a specific incident that only me and a friend know that I’m ready to share with the world. My concepts are to always tell a story authentically.
What are some of your greatest challenges, and what is your greatest attribute when it comes to your work ethic?
I don’t stop! You can ask anyone who knows me. I don’t let anything become an excuse when it comes to music. I’ll work a 12 hr a day job and still find a way to write a song before the night ends and get it recorded the next day work or no work. I push myself to break all boundaries when it comes to creating music.
As I said, the creating part is the funniest to me so I don’t see it as work or hard. I love it! I would say my greatest challenge is that I don’t sleep. A good night’s sleep for me a max of 4-5 hrs. I’m up late and I’m up early. I know rest is important but music is more important to me. There’s work left on the table every day. Are you gone do what 99% of artists do at 2,3,4 am? Sleep? Or the 1% who actually made it because the outworked everyone.
Are you the best at what you do in your opinion?
I am! There are greats who have done great things! Write great music! I had great beats! Sang beautifully. I just see myself differently because I’m the 1%. I’m not the best because I can sing, I can rap, I write and produce my own songs, I write for other artists.
No, that’s not why I consider myself the best. I’m mindful that’s someone’s always more talented than you. I’m the best because can’t no one outwork me. I will win because you can’t outwork me. I use things method for everything in my life. From going to the gym, running, asking car, I mean I truly believe no one can outwork me at nothing.
What are your plans for the near future?
I plan on releasing my first R&B EP for the ladies this summer. With the virus taking so much of everyone’s freedom, people are going to be ready to live life and do wild things this summer! I just want to assist in the joy as much as I can.
I look forward to what the future has to hold for me and my team. We have worked so hard in 2019 and brought that same energy into 2020. From being independent to now having labels speaking on my name is a blessing to me. We can from nothing so I’m just taking this all in.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank, any shout outs?
I just first and foremost want to thank God. There are so many moments where I thought I had no purpose. I was down, depressed, and carried so much anxiety into my day to day life not feeling fulfilled. He stayed with me and didn’t give up on me and it just helps me continue to grow in my faith. I also want to thank my mom who is my biggest fan!
She plays all my music to her friend even the mire profound ones. I’d also like to thank Andy Jin, my manager! We had no money when we first started this. He went deep into his savings and supported me through this journey off the pure belief that I’d make it someday.
A true believer and I owe you the world. Last but not least I want to thank my label mate Goddi, my brothers and sisters who always rocked with me, my good friend Peter, the entire Mercedes-Benz dealership that let me take days off to focus on my music. If I didn’t mention you I’m sorry, I’m just full of excitement.
How can fans find you?
So many places!
Clothing Line: www.Blackgenes.us
What suggestions do you have for other artist like yourself?
Keep working! Outwork every artist in your city. Every artist in your state. Every artist in the world. There’s plenty of players in the NBA or NFL that are only there because they outwork the next player. We call them “Hussle players”. Guess what though? They still playing in the league.
My point is you don’t have to be the most talented to get a check and live every day how you want. You just have to outwork and play the game right. Do you want the cheat code on how to make it? I just Gabe it to you. Only 1% of you will listen though. That guy or gal will be the next star because he or she did the simplest hardest thing to do. Outwork you!
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