What better way to spend the FIMS University Student Fund then bring Justin Nozuka to London? I can’t think of any. And neither could the crowds of screaming fans that blocked every imaginable exit of the London Music Hall last Wednesday at the MITSC-provided concert. I began to worry how I was ever going to make it out past all of them in the case of an emergency.
The night began with Canadian indie singer/songwriter Lindi Ortega. Justin sort of remembered how many times they’ve played together, “I’ve played with Lindi a couple of times. Well, once before, so, this will be the couple”. As Lindi was playing, Justin was backstage, most likely relaxing before the show. “Relaxation changes everything. It changes my perspective, the way that I interpret things, the way that I hear things; I just find relaxation to be a really helpful thing”. Justin also enjoys going for bike rides, which might explain his Twitter profile picture.
After a small break, decibel levels peaked from screaming fans as Justin came on stage in a striped tank top carrying his acoustic guitar. His soulful mix of acoustic rhythm guitar and dynamic lyrics caressed the audience for the duration of the performance. “Songwriting is such a mystical thing, like so much of life,” Justin said. Half way through the performance, Justin played his hit single “After Tonight.” The music video has over 9.5 million hits on YouTube, a number he couldn’t have reached without a little help. “I get factor grants from the government to shoot videos, and I’ve shot so many videos because of that reason,” he noted. His final song, “Save Him,” was performed well, as Justin sang from the point of view of an abused woman. “My mom was sitting in the next room over,” Justin said, “and gave me the idea of writing from this perspective of somebody that’s in an abusive relationship and feels like she can’t get out.” Justin also noted that the guitar in the song was inspired by Blackbird by The Beatles. “I feel inspiration from pretty much anything and everything: Different colours, different sounds, even different conversations,” he added. After a few minutes of cheering, Justin came back on stage for an encore with his brothers Henry and Christian. “Henry’s one of the most influential people in my life,” Justin said. Henry and Christian play together in a band called Down By Riverside. “It’s a really organic project in the nature of how it formed,” Justin noted, “its just pure nature, it wasn’t forced or anything like that”.
After the show, Justin came around to sign autographs and take a picture or two with his fans. He’s a very caring person, which explains why he does charity work. Justin spends time on reserves in Africa hosting camps in local villages. He helps fund schools so children can grow up to become guides and teachers. “It’s just about shining some light and giving the children some space to enjoy each other, and to talk about some things and to laugh and to make art”. When asked who he would have lunch with if he could have lunch with anyone in the world, Justin replied, “I don’t know if I would have lunch with them, maybe we’d just chill.” He quickly reconsidered, “well, maybe we would have lunch, I don’t know,” he joked. Whether or not they would actually eat anything was not the point of the question though, and Justin eventually answered with David Suzuki. Justin is a brilliant songwriter who put on an amazing performance, and I hope London gets to see him again soon. To the people that made this event possible, “Thank you,” Justin says, “Thank you very much”. And in case you were wondering, there was no emergency; I made it out past all of the screaming fans with only minor injuries.