Justin Clancy Sits Down With The Fresh Committee For An Exclusive Interview.
Justin Clancy released his album, “The Color Blue,” earlier this year. He’s both a rapper and a singer with a powerful story to tell. Clancy is nominated in an impressive four categories for this year’s Boston Music Awards. Check out our interview and definitely give his album a listen.
RC: When I first started listening to “The Color Blue,” your rapping actually reminded me of Brother Ali’s voice at times. However, you definitely have a unique sound. Are there any artists that have made a pivotal impact on the type of music that you wanted to create?
Justin Clancy: Thank you, that means a lot! I grew up a huge fan of Rhymesayers, however my biggest influences and inspirations definitely range. I’ve always had a very eclectic taste in music. One minute I’ll listen to Lil Peep and then listen to Marvin Gaye, so it really depends on the day. My biggest influences as of right now are Stevie Wonder, Frank Ocean, Mac Miller and BROCKHAMPTON. Those artists are always on constant rotation.
RC: The purpose and power behind your lyrics is evident in every track. Your messages of strength through adversity is sure to help people with their own struggles. In turn, has the writing process helped you in a cathartic way?
Justin Clancy: To an extent. It’s not so much the writing process that’s cathartic, more so the whole experience – recording, perfecting the record, showing it to the world. I think the most therapeutic part of this all is attracting like-minded people and fans with my art. And being able to tell them I love and appreciate them, because I know more than anyone hearing those words means the world.
RC: Transcending above suffering is a theme in your song, “Nirvana.” The following line is especially hopeful – “look inside, it’s not too late, nirvana always comes from pain.” Could you offer more insight about what this line means to you? About finding hope in a hopeless situation?
Justin Clancy: Through my own trials and tribulations, and experience with substance abuse as well as mental health, I’ve come to find the best times always follow the worst times. Every time I ever felt like giving up, something beautiful has happened as a result of just hanging on.
RC: It is inspiring to see you being so open about battles with addiction and mental health. Many recovery programs include a focus on service to other people. Do you feel as though you can serve others through your music? Also, does serving others keep you motivated in your own recovery?
Justin Clancy: Lately, I’ve been trying to keep my personal recovery and music completely separate. My new body of work doesn’t include so much recovery stuff. Sometimes you need to focus on your own personal well being for awhile. I’ve found that lately I’ve been feeling like a martyr, which adds a whole lot of pressure and a whole lot of stress. I may be a person in long-term recovery, but at the end of the day, me not doing drugs anymore doesn’t define my being as a whole. And, I certainly don’t want it to define my artistry. I want to leave my music up for interpretation and let people take from it whatever they want. As for anyone listening, they can paint me any color they like. I’m just an artist who loves to create, and whatever comes up comes out on my end.
RC: You have already built a strong foundation in the music industry. The Boston Globe published a stellar feature article about your journey as an artist. You also had the opportunity to be involved in Vans Warped Tour’s final year. Can you give us any clues about what projects you may be working on or future goals?
Justin Clancy: I have my own personal goals, however, the universe always seems to have its own plan. Sometimes your goals reach you before you reach them, if that makes sense. It just isn’t always exactly what you planned. I would say where I’m at now isn’t even close, or scratching the surface, in comparison to where I’m going. Let’s do a follow up interview next year and it’ll make more sense then. I have a lot of stuff in the works though. And if I’m not constantly creating, I’m teaching myself a new instrument. Right now I’m taking up guitar.