Singer-songwriter and producer Justin Love continues to combine the hard-hitting elements of trap and hip-hop with the smooth and vulnerable themes of R&B Soul.
Most recently, in his moody video for his single "Bad Mind." The Cliffside Park, New Jersey native has been praised by the likes of notable musicians and producers like Nicki Minaj, Alicia Keys, Jermaine Dupri and more. Along with Justin's quick rise to fame, he has excelled in co-writing for many of the world's top acts, including the 2016 smash hit "Focus" by H.E.R.
Love opened up to PopDust about his journey as a musician, his artistic vision, and how God had a hand in getting him together to work with H.E.R.:
What was the creative process like for the "Runaway" and "Bad Mind" music videos? Was there a specific story you wanted to tell with each of these visuals?
So as an artist, we like to really tap into our personal and emotional side. In "Runway," I really wanted to make a point that I was running away from all the negativity in my life and towards a better, happier place, whether that be getting away from toxic people or getting away from a toxic environment. I'm from New Jersey and about a year ago I moved to Los Angeles and "Runaway" pretty much sums that experience up. I really wanted to make a point in the visual that I was in a dark place and that I'm just moving on to bigger and better things.
What was it like to work with producer Shy Boogs on "Runaway?"
So Shy and I work together every so often and every time we work together we work very fast. We just kinda tap into whatever experience we're feeling. He just started making a beat, and as he was making the beat, it was kinda screaming the melody. It felt very true and I wanted to stay true to who I am personally and I wanted to give something to my fans that felt personal.
Was the creative process for "Bad Mind" different or similar to your experience with "Runaway?"
I feel like "Bad Mind" and "Runaway" were both pretty similar when it came to tapping into a more personal experience. As I made "Bad Mind" I was going through a very recent breakup and I truly felt that the girl was just in her "bad mind." She was doing things that she wouldn't normally do and it really inspired the whole song and the visual. In the video, you can see that she ends up talking to someone else and we get into a little fight and I feel like there was a lot more that I went through personally but I kept it simple and to the point as far as visuals go. I was just really excited to work with Ronald Reid! I had been dying to work with him and he was the one that directed the whole video. I was just so excited to see what he could add to the picture.
That's awesome! How did y'all meet each other?
He was actually working with a couple of people that I had worked with before, like Justina Valentine and IV.JAY. After looking at their visuals I was like, "Damn, we definitely have to work together." I did reach out to him via social media on Instagram and we just kept in touch ever since.
How does it feel to go from performing in malls in New Jersey and becoming a local celebrity, to making that big move to LA and taking on a much larger audience and scene?
So it was definitely a big change, but I love the challenge. The challenge of having to make it all over again is just a thrill. I get a thrill out of working. I work really hard. In the space where I was at, I didn't see much happening further than what I was already doing, so I felt like I had to make a name for myself elsewhere. That's where I'm at right now and where I've been at for a while. It's taking some time, but I'm getting a kick out of the ride itself.
What have been some of the struggles and successes that you've experienced while trying to make a name for yourself in a new environment?
Definitely meeting new people. When you move across the country, it's a new environment, so becoming accustomed to the new environment and the people and getting to know who your new circle is and what it can become and just getting comfortable. It's really hard to get comfortable when you just move somewhere else. But I work hard, I think my work ethic is undeniable. I do question some of the people I surround myself with sometimes. It's hard to trust people, especially since I've been in a bad deal before. I finally found a great team that I feel comfortable with. I love those guys. It's really just about finding your team and who you're gonna work with. Who's gonna help you keep your head on your shoulders. Us creatives, we go crazy if we don't feel like we're doing enough or we're working so hard but we don't see enough happening.
Could you shed some light on how your work ethic has paid off? I know you've been able to work with H.E.R on her single "Focus," can you tell me about the experience? How did that happen?
I'm gonna tell you this right now, it was God.
It was God??
I blame God for that. I wasn't in the right mental headspace at the time. I was so mentally stressed and I went to New York City for the day. I was talking to a homeless man and I continued walking and what not, and then I hear my name being called in the distance and someone was yelling, "Justin! Justin! Justin!" It was someone from H.E.R.'s management team that actually stopped me and told me that she was upstairs and recording. At that time she wasn't H.E.R., she was going by another name and the woman from her management told me "Oh she's upstairs. You should come up and check out some of her stuff." As I said, I wasn't even doing anything that day. I was just stressed as hell. I went upstairs and listened to her and she was just amazing so the next day we scheduled a session and we went into the session and wrote two or three records that day. I actually found a photo today as I was looking through my photos, I actually wrote the song on a piece of paper and I found the paper that I took a photo of. It was so amazing. We wrote two or three songs that day, "Focus" being one of the three and before I knew it the song was on the radio and—man. I had a good feeling about the song, but I never knew it would become what it became. Just working with H.E.R was amazing. She's definitely god-gifted.
Is there anybody else that you'd like to work with in the future?
Chris Brown, Justin Beiber, Miguel, Usher. I have a few more people just off the top of my head. Ty Dolla $ign, Jeremiah. Female artist wise I'd love to work with Ella Mai and Beyonce for sure! Cardi B would really cool too. I feel like we'd have really good chemistry.
Are there any last words you want to share about what you hope fans take away from the music videos? Is there anything you'd like to say about where you hope your career goes from here?
My final words. Here is some inspiration. Don't focus on any of the hate. If you're focused on your career path, then you need to focus on what you need to do next. You need to focus on your work and what you're doing. Don't change what you're doing for anyone. That's one. As far as where my career is heading, my career is heading to a more truthful place.
What do you mean by that?
I used to create just to create and I would say anything and create anything. Now I'm starting to understand my brand and understand where I want my career to go. It's going to go to a more genuine place within the next three to four months and I want to create with more intention.
Check out Justin Love's latest music video for "Bad Mind" below!
Justin Love - Bad Mind www.youtube.com