During a global pandemic it may not seem like the optimum time to release an album but local soca star Antonio Jus D Johnson felt otherwise.
On Saturday, at the stroke of midnight, he dropped his debut album, Other Side. Each track shows a different dimension to the multifaceted artiste.
Though the performer did not initially intend to release the album at this time, he believes now is perfect even in the midst of the current COVID-19 crisis.
“The time was right. I felt it. I am ready to share a body of work from me! It felt like my duty to share my talents in this space. Now is when we will crave music,” he told Bajan Vibes.
In a true representation of the album’s name, he has given his fans a deeper insight into who he is as an artiste with some diverse tracks.
“I would describe my music as infectious. A balanced blend of all types of genres,” he said. Among the mix of tracks there was a tinge of afro beats and some dancehall vibes. But the common denominator is that it will be difficult to get his music out of your head.
Jus D admitted that the production of his album was cathartic saying: “This project helped me too. It kept my mind active during this time. To be honest, it kept me sane.”
Even though quarantine restrictions may have put a damper on some of his plans to promote the music, he and his team revamped and definitely still have a few things planned, all virtual of course. He hinted: “We will roll it all out over the next coming weeks.”
Whenever Jus D creates music, his goal is to cross borders to reach new people.
“I aspire to share my music with everyone. I share to allow them to feel the punctuation of the beats, as my lyrics whisper along, melodically. I aspire to create unmatched vibes in a space for women to feel powerful and independent, with a little added, bringing flair.”
Music permeates through every segment of Jus D’s life and it takes a concerted effort to simply plug out. In addition to being a vocalist, the rapper-turned-soca-artiste is also an avid songwriter who has produced some top songs for some of the island’s premier artistes. He is sure to create a stir with the just-released Independent Girl performed by the reigning Soca Monarch Mikey.
“Everyday life inspires some of my writing. I choose to write about myself and my experiences. It is a plus when people connect with me. It is added value when I learn that my music touches the part of them that only the rhythm can find.”
He is inspired by some of the greatest musicians of our time, but his ultimate focus is to develop his own unique brand while staying true to himself.
“At the moment, I influence myself. I believe that that should be an artiste’s main goal, especially during trying times.”
This project, which was recorded in NYC, and perfected right here at home in Barbados, captures the essence of who Jus D is.
“It took me about two weeks. I’m always making music, so I had a lot of unreleased songs to choose from. While compiling the project, I added in some new tracks to flow with the times.”
Jus D was involved in every aspect of this project, from songwriting straight down to production. He proudly declares: “Only one song on the album was produced by someone else, everything else was in house.”
Credit was extended to bashment soca phenom Mole De Chief with the international vibe being accentuated by Nigerians, producer Killashay and artiste Hoytce. Also on the team was Dev Kutta from the United States and Hannah Herbertson from Sweden. It was all pulled together with his manager Paul Parris at the helm. Some minor challenges that surfaced were expected, like choosing songs and listing order.
“Of course, coming up with a solution to present the project during lockdown arose. However, meetings and discussed ideas among a team will always do the trick,” he assured.
The release of the first single, Boom Bang, gave a clue to the calibre of music to be expected. Since the launch of the album on all major streaming platforms just days ago, the musician has been heartened by the positive feedback he has been receiving.
His goal from the outset was for each fan to take away something different from listening to this work.
“I want them to have their own interpretation of it. And I want to hear! … but that’s why it’s called The Other Side.”
Jus D closed his interview with some sound advice for the new musical generation: “Listen, learn, build nurturing relationships, stay true to yourself and show respect.” (STT)
Take a listen to Jus D’s single Boom Bang here: https://youtu.be/-PQ5ALuTsX8