Q&A with Minneapolis' Justyn Dow

Justyn Dow, Minneapolis’ newest talent is waiting to bust out the musical seams. See how this guitar playing, elementary school teaching, youth athlete training, singer-songwriter juggles everything to pursue his dream of taking the Minneapolis music scene by storm. In this Q&A, read how Justyn started his career, his musical influences and role models, where you can buy his CD Dim Light Shining and check out his YouTube hit "Tonight" (shot in Uptown in the dead of winter). Ladies and some gents---he's not bad on the eyes either.

While sitting inside Cooper Irish Pub, Justyn sits casually, relaxed, yet focused as his takes a sip of his pint beer and preps for his first interview.

Tell us, how did it all start? Well, I was first introduced to music when I became involved in my church band. My dad taught me the 5 basic guitar cords, I took a couple of piano lessons—and the rest I did by ear. In high school, I started writing music as I was ‘dealing’ with relationship issues, it became my therapeutic way of expressing myself. In college, I collaborated with 5 guys who knew how to play instruments—we started recording our own music, it was at that time I started learning about all the tools that were at my disposal as an artist-the technology, the digital revolution-it was incredible! Having the ability to do all your own recording, distributing, and marketing to reach millions of people via Youtube and iTunes-turned me on to the aspect of trying to make a career out of it. After we recorded five tracks in our apartment, about a month before our CD was set to be release we all mutually dissolved from each other. (Still good friends, no hard feelings—one of them got married, the other moved and one actually got deported!) So without a band behind me it forced me to start on my own and being a singer/songwriter—control my own future by making my own decisions and not having to be held accountable for anyone but myself.

Who are your musical influences? They are constantly changing but if I had to give you a line up it would be: Kings of Leon, The Frey, One Republic, The Script, Gavin DeGraw. I would say it’s pure rock, alternative rock to main stream pop rock. If you combine Top 40 and Rock you have my sound. I also appreciate someone that can properly play an instrument; not the overly heavily produced and synthesized music—just them and their instrument creating some great tunes.

Do you write your own songs, if so what inspires you? I do write my own songs—my only source of inspiration is my past relationships-women really. The good and the bad associated with being in a relationship. My mom would always tell me “there’s so much more to life then women and relationships” but I never really found my focus there-it felt forced. Someone breaks your heart and you have a lot of time to think through all the feelings that it produces and I try to capture the meaning behind those emotions through my words.

So basically, if someone breaks up with you, you’re going platinum? Yes, put it this way, I consider myself the male version of Taylor Swift.

How would you describe your music to people? Edgy rock with a touch of coolness. The response from my YouTube videos has been great—from tweens to their moms to maybe even their mom’s mom.

If you could play along side anyone, who would it be? It would be a coin toss between John Mayer and Kings of Leon. John Mayer is one of my biggest idols. If I could play guitar like he could, then we’d probably be in a different conversation right now. Reading the tabloids, it looks like he would be fun to party with and going on the road with but it would be a tough battle between him and Kings of Leon.

Who produces your music? Joe Mabbott, producer at The Hideaway who did all the Rhymesayers artists like Atmosphere and Brother Ali. He was the ‘mixing engineer’ for my records. We recorded each instrument at a time—it took us 8-9 months to record 5 songs. It was intense!

What are your immediate goals--in the next 1-3 years? I would love to tackle Minneapolis, being that this is my hometown, I would love to pack any venue—like First Avenue—there’s so much history in that place—and to be able to sell it out would be a dream.

What would you like the Minneapolis2night.com readers to know about you? I’ve got a little bit of something that would appeal to your spectrum of readers. Give it a chance and spend a few minutes to jump on YouTube and check out my covers anything from Bruno Mars, to John Mayer to Bob Dylan. You can listen to my music when you want to reflect—listening in your car, unwinding after a long day at work with a beer, trying to serenade that girl you have been eyeing or just wanting to kick back.

Justyn's CD Dim Light Shining can be found in 30-40 online retail stores like Amazon and iTunes.

You can also listen to Justyn playing at Gluek's every Thursday this month (August 11th, 18th and 25th) from 8:30-11:30pm with an EP Release Show - Thursday, September 1 at The Fine Line.