APRIL INTERVIEW. Canadian R&B singer Justine Tyrell releases her third single, My Name, from her new EP, While You Were Sleeping.
Today, I am thrilled to ask the amazing Justine Tyrell some questions regarding her outstanding career, welcome to The Wire Megazine Justine.
DEB: Q. 1. When did you realize that music was going to be your life? JUSTINE: “Great question – and the simple answer is always. Even when I would find other things that I enjoy, or was interested in, or during my years in school and finding odd interests – it always felt like passing time until I could get back to doing music. I knew that I could have a life doing anything, but I couldn’t have a happy life doing anything other than this, and I truly think I know that from when I was a kid. I dreamt about how my favorite artists made me feel and wanted to stir that feeling in someone else someday. The final element for me was also overcoming stage-fright to sing. I longed to be on stage and was terrified all at once – so loving something enough to work through what terrified me was the moment when I also knew I wanted to do this forever.“
Justine, in advance of your debut EP– While You Were Sleeping, releasing this April, you have also just released the third single entitled, My Name, on the heels of her 2 successfully released hits Worthy and Radar to which got rave reviews across the country. From being featured on morning television shows, blogs, and spins on radio, and just last week being added to Virgin Radio Montreal’s New Music Friday, congrats. Your music is being celebrated all across Canada and your latest single, My Name, is a sultry, intimate ballad with a strategically simple arrangement that showcases your incredible vocal talent. Since My Name‘s release on Friday, February 26th, the song already has over 30,000 streams! CHECK OUT – My Name Visualizer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLXvFMxauD8 With a sound reminiscent of icons Aaliyah, Mya, and the classic R&B sound of the early 2000s, your sultry vocals, and traditional R&B melodies come with a fresh, modern-day flare, and have piqued the attention of music critics across Canada and beyond. My Name, showcases a new side of your vocal and production talent, as you challenged herself to work closely with your vocal producer on creating layered harmonies that help bring the song to life. You focused on keeping the music slow and simplistic to allow space for your vocals to take the forefront. My Name is the most sensual and romantic song off from your upcoming EP and allows fans to discover another layer of your talents, this time through your alluring new tune. DEB: Q. 2. What would you say your vocal octave and range are? As well, What is your daily vocal routine to keep your voice in pristine shape? JUSTINE: “I have a 3 Octave Range F2 – F5 (Including my falsetto range). Funny enough, my first vocal instruction came from an operatic instructor – so she taught me many operatic techniques when I began training young. My style over time has evolved into a more ‘chill’ style, where I really gravitate to working in the lower to mid-range, emoting through my tone, and a softer- but intentional delivery.“
DEB: Q. 3 As well, What is your daily vocal routine to keep your voice in pristine shape? JUSTINE: “Here’s where I tell on myself, but I’m not nearly as vocally regimented as I should be! I find during the CFL Season, I have a very strict routine leading up to singing at McMahon Stadium. I do vocal warm-ups that are on my phone, I practice my pitch with a piano app, I drink lots of water, I never wear heeled shoes so I can feel grounded on the field, and (this last one is bad, but it has become almost a superstition) – a fruit punch energy drink. I do usually write and sing nearly every day – whether it’s in my home music space or in the studio, which I think keeps me somewhat loose- BUT, my daily routine is currently not nearly as structured as it should be. In fact, I should probably go look into that, right after our chat.”
You are a proud supporter of the Black Lives Matter community in your hometown and across the country and you are a trusted voice within the movement. You were called upon for your insight and commentary by numerous television and Instagram live outlets throughout the summer. Some of the most historical and revered music always plays a deeper role in the transformation of societies. Some consider how their work relates to the current sociopolitical landscape or how the music can address these themes. DEB: Q. 4. Do you think some of your originals touch on current social or political issues? JUSTINE: “Feeling self-empowered is something I try to weave into a lot of my writing and stories, but certainly Worthy was a time when I wanted to really bring that to the forefront. Worthy was a song that although framed from the context of a relationship – largely parallels a greater conversation of feeling worthy and whole in your skin. The timing of that song came about in the midst of conversation surrounding BLM and heaviness that I was struggling with personally – and knew many from the community were too. I was torn on what my contribution can be in terms of my art’s reflection until I asked myself, what would I want to hear, see, and feel right now? For me, that was a representation that was celebrated by people of color – especially black women and young black men, and something that gives me a moment to tell myself that I am enough. The song lyrics are easy listening, and the chorus rings clearly about self-worth, but the visual is where I really dug into expressing the deeper meaning behind creating this song.”
Your music chronicles the bitter and sweet tastes of love and relationships, and reflective diary-like moments– with a smoky unabashed, and unapologetic nature. Justine Tyrell, you created a vibey and refreshing soundtrack, to suit listeners as they move through the moods of their own lives. Early on, your love of music was undeniable- growing up in an eclectic household around everything from R&B and Hip Hop, to Blues and Country. WOW, you wrote your first song at the age of 7, from the basement of their family’s small home in Calgary, AB – and you describe music as being your first love, and the way to process the world– starting with some of her earliest moments. “My Name is the song that says, let’s shut out the world – and forget there’s anyone else, but me and you. I wanted the song to feel smooth and intimate in nature – yet hypnotic and full of layers to discover. From the way we produced the vocal to the way we filtered the start of the song – the soundscape and mood are meant to tease more and more elements as you listen through. I wanted the core of the lyric and attitude, to come from a place of feeling empowered, and confident – while tapping into a sultry mood.” – Justine Tyrell Contrary to popular belief, ‘making it’ in the art of music isn’t merely a game of luck. It requires talent, strategy, and determined effort based on your vision, goals, etc. DEB: Q. 5. Tell us all about your standard songwriting process? JUSTINE: “Yes, very true! There are definitely a few key northern stars that guide most of my writing sessions and help achieve the end goal – and then also a side that is extremely responsive. For me, the melody is gold – it is king and the most important part of when I’m getting an idea. I usually know if I can’t settle into a melody within the first 10-15 minutes, it might be something I need to move on from. When I find the melody I usually let it – combined with the feel of the music or loop that I’m writing to – dictate the subject matter. I think to myself “how does this make me feel? What part of my story comes to the surface when I hear this, and where does the story want to go?”. Generally, I’ll try free-styling some lyrics and try to (in a perfect world) find the hook. It definitely doesn’t always go that way. Sometimes there is something on my mind or a melody that I captured without music – and I’ll go on the hunt to find the right chords, loops, or music to fit the idea. I find I have to leave myself loose and flexible to how the process wants to be that day.”
DEB: Q. 6. Many artists would consider this next one a loaded question. The purpose of this question, however, is to assess, how aware you are of what your audiences see in your work and what it provokes, and why you make music. JUSTINE: “I love this question. I love it because it’s one that I thought I knew the answer to for a long time until I really sat with my why. What it boils down to for me is that feeling I got when I first fell in love with music and some of my favorite artists. It was the feeling I used to get from being in fan clubs and feeling like I was part of a music community and an artist’s musical world that I could escape to anytime. My why – and my motivator, is hoping that I can make someone else feel that same thing.”
When asked about her largest influences and greatest musical memories growing up – she says, “it’s as somewhere between “discovering my first Aaliyah CD, crying to the first Amy Winehouse song I’d ever heard, scribbling down song ideas in the back of my journals– and the feeling I got when the hair stood up on end, at my first concert.” She concluded with how she started singing, writing and performing, because of how music naturally made her feel. Through music, she felt like she was never alone, always had a place to belong – and had something to capture her mood, or make a moment that much better. Now, she hopes to bring that very same feeling to her listeners, while giving them something of their own to get lost in. DEB: Q. 7. Who would you say is your ultimate musical influence now? JUSTINE: “Just like when I was a little girl, Aaliyah still sparks something really special for me. Not only was she an incredible artist beyond her years– but it was her balance of being graceful, effortlessly empowered, and alluring in her music, and the way she presented herself. I still draw on her music, and style, as a powerful inspiration. I also really admire Drake both as an artist and a writer – and with the production soundscapes, his music has. He’s such a great artist!“
Justine Tyrell has earned nominations for Singer of the Year, Solo Artist of the Year, Media Personality of the Year (Obsidian Awards), and has gone on to be named one of Branded Magazine’s ‘Game Changers, in her City of Calgary, Alberta’. She has been featured on CBC Radio, received nods from Stingray Music, featured in Metro. DEB: Q. 8. What does success mean to you? JUSTINE: “To be honest, I’m still trying to figure that out fully because it changes shape but always means fulfillment. For me, success is feeling like I’ve reached my potential, continuing to feel obsessed with the process, and being able to watch my music continue to reach amazing listeners across the country and around the globe! I hope in a post-covid world, success can mean continuing to travel and see new places and connect with new listeners through my music – and be an artist that can build an escape and a music community for listeners like the ones I loved being part of. Also, to be able to afford an endless supply of coffee. Nespresso to be exact. If you’re reading this Nespresso – I’m ready.”
DEB: Q. 9. Some artists seem reluctant to speak of just how frustrating and baffling the whole experience of navigating the general music realm is, let alone add in Covid-19 and how hard they try to still be ambitious about getting their artwork seen, heard, and or sold. What are some other ways you’ve chosen lately to engage with your legions of fans, whether that’s within the top echelon of international art circles or based on your involvement with your local community, despite the challenges of trying to bring your art to the new formatted audiences at home thanks to the Corona Virus? JUSTINE: “It has definitely been hard and extremely baffling figuring out how to cut through the noise, manage the days that we feel the flow and uninspired, and connect without having the face-to-face interactions we once had. So really, I’m trying to lean on being more open on social media, asking more questions, and listening to my music community more – making it less about fans, and more about “hey, you’re human, I’m human – how’s that going these days?” I’m loving Instagram stories for that purpose since it just feels more raw and spontaneous place to be ourselves. I’ll literally ask people what we should make for dinner some days – some days it ends up having nothing to do with music. Social media is certainly the strongest tool for me in staying connected – as well as getting to do virtual performances where I can.”
DEB: Q. 10. Always performing, learning as many instruments as she could get her hands on – and never missing an opportunity to recruit her young friends to join ‘the band’ – Justine was always certain that bringing music to people was what she wanted to do. What would you say was the best advice you were ever given when you first started out in the industry so young? As well, what advice would you offer others starting out in this entertainment realm? JUSTINE: “Great question – some of the best advice I’ve ever come across was actually in a book discussing the concept of resistance and how it always seems to show up when something good is just around the corner. This can be inner resistance, this can be exterior where it feels like all signs are telling you to give up – and that’s usually the sweet spot of knowing you need to push through, just a little bit more, to get to what’s meant for you. My advice would have to be just that. Know how to recognize resistance – and blow right through it.”
Fans can stay in tune and up to speed by clicking on over to Justine Tyrell’s social platforms below.