Jay’s Justified Secret
By Joseph Castel
You may have seen him on TV hosting red carpet events like the White Party or singing on the main stage at this year’s Long Beach Gay and Lesbian Pride celebration. He’s 26 year-old singer Jay Justified and he’s making musical waves with “She’s Got A Secret,” now available on iTunes. According to his management company, the native Los Angelino has sold more than 16,000 international units combined with his song “Like Whoa.”
The local performer went international in 2012, when he toured China for several months following the release of his music video “Sufficient Extraordinary.” Justified stressed that the language barrier between him and his Asian fans was inconsequential. “Music is universal,” explained Justified.
His biggest thrill while on tour, however, did not turn out to be hundreds of screaming fans. Rather, it was when he saw a 20 foot image of himself plastered on a billboard that took him by surprise. He had the driver stop the car so he could snap a selfie. It was a situation that was very surreal to him.
The performer’s soulfultronic delivery is comparable to openly gay singer Sam Sparrow and he considers his style a meshing of both Sparrow and Adam Levine. Justified stressed that his musical influences go beyond billboard contemporaries. “Growing up, my dad had boxes of these vinyl records and if the cover design interested me, I played it.” Those eye capturing covers included Dinah Washington, Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday. Justified plans to incorporate more of the jazz music he heard growing up into his signature blend of dance music.
Justified admitted that he’s naturally a very shy person but as soon as he hits the stage he’s able to transform his boyish bashfulness into a genuine bravado. Justified’s stage presence exudes a velvety bad boy sexiness and his edgy dance routines are similar to rapper Chris Brown’s moves.
As a first generation Mexican American whose family came from Jalisco, Justified confessed that he didn’t tell his parents he was pursuing a singing career right away because his parents are very traditional. His mother is a college professor and “Music just wasn’t a priority in our home.” His parents just assumed their son would apply to college after graduation. While in high school, however, Justified started ditching classes to hang out at recording studios in LA.
A record producer who believed in Justified’s virtuosity mentored the teen. “Before I could prove it to my family that I could make it, I had to prove it to myself.” He kept the secret from his father and mother until he was sure they could handle the news of his desire to be a singer.
When he finally did break the news to them there was trepidation. Those misgivings subsided after they saw him performing in music videos and at large venues. His parents are now his biggest fans. “They realized that this is where I belong.”
Justified is set to host a style trend program for Univision television this year, but is adamant that music remains his first love. “Leaving a musical footprint in which people will be inspired is what I wish to accomplish,” Justified concluded. Inspiration is what he received from his father’s record collection years ago and he hopes to pass that same kind of musical inspiration on to his listeners—wherever they may be.
You can follow Jay on Instagram:@jayjustified; Facebook:@jayjustified; @twitter:@jayjustified