Honestly, you’ve got to love gay twitter for so many reasons. Not only for the glitz and glamour of it all, but because the network is so connected to music that you stumble upon many great artists you may have missed if you relied only on the forces that are Spotify and iMusic. Just Shy is one prime example of a treasure I may have missed out on if I simply relied on the music giants prior noted. His music is ethereal, engaging and emotive. I had the chance to interview him and honestly, now that I know a bit more, I only hope to listen more.
ATB: Just Shy! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat about yourself and your artistry… firstly tell me, how did you fall into music?
Just Shy: I played clarinet and studied musicianship right through school, which I think gave me a good musical grounding. I actually made use of a friend’s makeshift home studio in my late teens to record a handful of songs, but as I moved through my uni degree music became less of a focus. A year or so ago I picked it up again; I wrote a few songs and then took them to a local producer named Hypersleep whose work I really admired. Luckily, he saw something promising in what I’d written, so we worked together to flesh the songs out!
ATB: You’re an independent artist right now. What do you find is the benefit to being independent? In contrast, what do you find to be the weakness in being an independent artist?
Just Shy: It’s awesome to have full control over all elements of my work, in terms of sound, imagery and PR. I feel really proud to have built up this project from scratch, and to see people responding to the songs is so gratifying.
Obviously, the downside is having limited resources and time to create and promote my music. It’s challenging to get my songs heard by the right people — obviously it’s a very cluttered industry, so getting noticed isn’t easy. But when someone does really respond to the music, it feels all the sweeter!
ATB: What genre would you say your music falls into and what inspires you when you’re creating your music?
Just Shy: I’d describe my music as electronic pop. Pop music is my absolute lifeblood; I hope my material is reflective of that in terms of the strength and diversity of its melodies. Production-wise my stuff’s all synth-based, which is very much in keeping with my tastes. I’ve worked with Hypersleep to make my songs quite aurally multi-dimensional and expansive; I think it’s an area I can certainly continue developing.
In term of inspiration, like most writers I draw on my own life. I think music is a beautiful way of articulating and preserving a particular feeling or event, so I hope over time I’ll develop a library of songs that I can listen back to as a catalogue of my experiences.
ATB: Ugh, what a beautiful sentiment. To have your own songs as a back-catalogue to your life so to speak… I feel like those of us who aren’t artists use many songs to build a back-catalogue of sorts for our life experiences. Its’ so special when a song connects with me so much that I can listen to it 10 years later (Dido – I’m looking at you) and remember a specific moment in time that touched me deeply and left a mark.
ATB: Do you currently perform live?
Just Shy: Not yet, no – it’s one of my goals for next year though! I’m hoping to record some new songs over the coming months so I’ll have more material to play, with a couple of covers in mind also.
ATB: Where do you see your career going?
Just Shy: I don’t devote much thought to this, to be honest! I’m more of a pragmatist than an idealist. I suppose in an ideal world I’d love to grow my audience and fanbase with each release to the point where I can play festivals and my own shows. It’d be wonderful to travel with my music, of course, and I’ve always loved the idea of writing for other artists. I listen to a lot of female-fronted pop, so I’d absolutely love to work on something with or for a female popstar.
ATB: Some examples of those female popstars would be?…
Just Shy: Top of the wishlist would always be Kylie or Britney — both have such strong catalogues, and were integral in building my love of pop. I’d also love to write for a hypothetically reformed Girls Aloud, or Nadine (or Cheryl, or Nicola, or Sarah…or Kimberley, I guess) in a solo capacity. Slightly more realistically, there are some wonderful local acts that I’d love to work with: Jessica Mauboy is a powerhouse vocalist who can pull off so many different sounds, and upcoming artists like Eves Karydas and E^ST have such distinct voices that I feel really connected to.
ATB: Australia – do you love it? What do you think about the current music scene?
Just Shy: Yes, I really do. When I was a bit younger I saw Australia as quite limiting; I felt more connected culturally to the UK and Europe. Since moving from Sydney to Melbourne last year, though, I’ve found a renewed appreciation for our culture. Musically, the Australian scene is changing a lot — for years pop as a genre was perceived in Australia as being naff and uncool, but it’s being celebrated so much more now.
ATB: Interestingly enough, I feel the same way about America as an adult. I’ve been to London twice and constantly dream of living there. I also connect with the music much more. Many of my favorite artists are brilliant female singers that are based in the UK.
ATB: Who do you think can relate to your music? Is it accessible to everyone out there?
Just Shy: I think most of the themes are fairly relatable for a young person trying to find their place in the big, wide world. My songs cover a pretty diverse range of feelings — ‘I Am Here’, for example, is all about the exhilaration of a huge night out, whereas ‘Maybe I Can Turn This Night Around’ is the other side of that coin; it’s much melancholier. Human relationships are an endless source of inspiration too, of course; ‘Body Language’ is my first foray into themes of love and sexuality, but there’s lots more to come.
ATB: Finally, but most importantly, tell me about who you are. What do you like? What is your perfect weekend? What is your purpose?
Just Shy: I’m an occasionally extroverted introvert, which I think explains a lot of my habits and interests. Having alone time is petty crucial for me — I love reading in bed with a cup of tea, or laying in a park in the sunshine. I’m also a bit of a party boy, though —going out dancing with my friends is one of my absolute favourite things to do, and I have a bad habit of commandeering the music at any house party I attend.
ATB: Ha! I’m the same way about music. Love to make a good playlist that need to be adhered too.
Just Shy: I’m a pretty typical Virgo — I love getting things done, I’m prone to over-analysis, and I’d say I’m pretty loyal. I hold myself to a pretty high standard, but over time I’m learning to be softer on myself.
ATB: Just Shy – thank you so much for taking the time. It was a pleasure. Now kids – please take a second to check him out and listen to his stuff. I promise it is worth every second. ENJOY!
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