JUSTINA BETH-EL

Articles featuring Justina:  Dealing with Inconsistency and Uncertainty  |  How To Market Yourself Like a Major Label…

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Justina Beth-El had a passion for writing raw, uncensored lyrics and emotive melodies from an early age. She followed her passion through any musical outlet available to her leading her to launch her professional music career in 2015 releasing original music and performing around the country. To get in touch, send Justina a message.
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Justina, thank you for joining us today at VQS. Take us back in time to how you first fell in love with music.
Music might be the only constant throughout my life. As early as I can remember, it filled my home. And as far back as that memory goes I can envision myself belting whatever song was in the air at the top of my lungs. I fell in love with music before I knew I was any good at it. It has always been like another limb – an extension of myself that I used solely to express what I was too shy or afraid to speak.
What’s new in Justina’s world? 
I released two singles in 2019 – “Fire” and “Run.” Both are available on streaming platforms everywhere! I have two singles that I am prepping for release this year – so be on the lookout! I’m currently working on material for my first full length solo album! I am so looking forward to getting back in the studio and breathing life into these songs. My solo project will be a complete change of pace from my previous releases. This project will yield my most bare and vulnerable music yet. 
What 3 core values do you believe are necessary for success?
Discipline is #1 for me. It trumps talent every day of the week. Discipline makes you practice, write, network, show up when you don’t want to. Some people just have that muscle, and others of us need to exercise it until it’s strong enough to work on its own. I would say authenticity is a close #2 to discipline. I’ve had a lot of artists ask me over the years about rebranding, changing their image, or including more banter throughout their sets. My response every time is to do what feels right, comfortable and natural to you as an artist. Audiences have a keen sense of smell for BS – more than we give them credit for – and maybe when you’re first starting out 50% of your audience will love what you do, the other 50% might not, but you’ll lose 100% of that audience if you fake any part of your performance to appeal to someone who’s not feeling your vibe. The big #3 is to be your greatest competitor. Compare yourself today to the artist you were yesterday. I can tell anyone from personal experience that comparing yourself to others just opens the door to jealousy, feelings of inadequacy, begging the question “why them and not me?” – none of which is productive. That’s the fastest way to get yourself into a rut. If you aim to do better than you did yesterday every day, you’ll constantly make progress and at the end of the day, that’s the only way to move forward. 
Who have been some of your favorite people/projects to work with?
Oh man…I’ve been blessed with so many opportunities to work with incredible artists, producers, and audio engineers, so I’ll try to keep the list short:
Ken Barnum is the audio engineer who recorded and mixed both of my studio projects. He also produced several songs on both projects. I feel like we have a really great collaborative energy, and I always enjoy working on new material with him.
Mari Dennis – another author in this blog series – is an incredible songwriter and soul. She has a natural gift for writing uniquely vivid lyrics, and emoting them with the melodies she writes. I can’t say that I’ve heard a song from her that sounds like any other song.
Prince Matthews is a Long Beach based rapper, and oh my lord, is he good. His onstage energy, his lyrics and his work ethic are really unmatched. He’s always on a new grind and somehow manages to give all his different endeavors 100%. He and I worked on a few songs together, one that’s still in the shop, but our song “Scars” made it to his most recent album, “Manifest Destiny.” You can find it on BandCamp (check him out: @thaprinceTHS)
What future opportunities would you like to be involved with?
Play a Tiny Desk Concert and win a Grammy! I know – high hopes, but I’ll get there. I’m always interested in working with new and different artists, and I’m dipping my toes into the producer/sound engineer pool, so hopefully I’ll get to work with several more artists in various ways to broaden my capabilities as a musician.

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photo credit: Bekkah Johnson

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