Houston based songwriter and recording artist Justin Gambino just released his new EP 'Anchored'. We spoke to him to find out the story behind his latest music, finding hope, and his plans for the new year ahead.
For those who haven't heard of you before, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved in making music?
Absolutely! I got my start in the church with leading worship for the youth. Once I left for the Navy, I kept writing and playing my guitar whenever I could. During my last several years in the Navy, I was in the reserves, so I had more time. I worked a full time job, Navy Reserves and started gigging a lot. Wherever I could lead worship and perform my songs, I made it happen. After about 5 years of that, I was faced with the decision to keep doing that or get out of the Navy and quit my job. Really dive in. So I did. I'm so humbled and thankful that I have such an amazing group of supporters who listen to my music and help me do what I love to do, by expressing my heart through music.
Tell us about your new EP 'Anchored' and what the inspiration behind it was?
Great question - The inspiration was hope. From the first line on the EP (which is a question) to the last statement in the last song, it's about hope. Have we given hope? Do we have hope? That was the true inspiration behind it. And if you listen to the tracks in order, you can find that it somewhat has a storyline. Before releasing the EP, I wasn't going to put the songs in that particular order, but the more time I took to listen, I realized what order they needed to be in.
Which is your favorite track on the EP and why?
Anchored. Hands down. It's different from anything that I've ever done. This one has a lot of empty space and the drums don't come in until the end. On the first cut, we had drums all throughout. Drum loops. Real drums. It just didn't feel right. My producer looked at my like I was crazy, when I said to take out all the drums - Ha! I didn't know what I wanted it to sound like at first, but the more we took out, the more I liked it. I would say that this song (and this EP) I've had my hands in the mixing/editing process more than ever before on previous releases. Maybe that's why. I'm pretty proud of it. Another reason is because this song has been in the making for maybe 4 years now. I would write a verse, put it away, write a chorus, put it away. Finally it came together. I think it actually was going to be two different songs at one point, but once I combined them, it felt right, so I went with it.
What message would you like people to take from your music?
That no matter how hopeless you may feel, that there is always hope to be found. Hope is greater than anything that we're going through.
How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?
I would describe my music as acoustic folk rock with some singer/songwriter vibes. My music is definitely different. I enjoy being different. Outside the box, I guess you can say. My influences are artists like Jon Foreman, Needtobreathe, Judah & The Lion. I even listen to some metal, rock and rap from time to time. I like to pull my inspiration from all different areas when it comes to music. Especially when it comes to lyrics.
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be?
Definitely Jon Foreman.
How would you define success in your career as an artist?
When my music reaches and speaks where words fail. When people come up to me and tell me how much my music has impacted them and their lives, that to me is success.
What is your favorite album of all time?
Man! We're goin' deep, eh? Haha! That is a HARD question. Let's see... of all time? I would have to say that it is "Harp + Arrows" by Harp + Arrows.
You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your phone. What track is it?
"Build My Home" - Harp + Arrows - EP
What does the next year hold for you?
Lots of traveling. Going back to England, possibly some dates in Ireland, traveling the U.S. with the new EP. We're currently booking dates for 2020 and going wherever folks will have us. Conferences, Camps, Retreats, Worship services, Festivals. Going really well so far, on top of shooting some new music videos and recording a brand new song that I wrote from the road last year. Really excited about that one!