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The maturity of Justin Nozuka's music, a soulful blend of R&B and pensive singer/songwriter folk that recalls both Nick Drake and Lauryn Hill, belies his tender years: Nozuka was only 18 when his debut album was released. The son of a Japanese father and American mother (actress Holly Sedgwick, who coincidentally happens to be Kyra Sedgwick's sister), Nozuka was born in New York City in 1988, the sixth of seven children. Nozuka's older brothers were musicians -- George Nozuka, three years Justin's senior, released his debut dance-pop album, Believe, in 2006 -- and after the family moved from New York City to Toronto, Ontario after his parents' divorce, he began to explore music himself. Learning to play guitar from a classmate at boarding school, Nozuka began writing the songs that would make up his debut album when he was only 15. Playing gigs on Toronto's active folk and singer/songwriter circuit while still in high school, Nozuka attracted the attention of the British indie label Outcaste Records (Joss Stone, KT Tunstall), which signed the youngster for his 2006 debut album, Holly. You I Wind Land and Sea followed in 2010. Looking to further develop his sound, Nozuka built a home studio and took his time writing and self-producing his spare, elegant third album Ulysees, which was released in early 2014.
Justin Tokimitsu Nozuka (born September 29, 1988) is a Canadian-American singer and songwriter. His debut album Holly has been released in Europe, Canada, Japan and the United States. He has licensed the album to indie label Coalition Entertainment Records, distributed by Warner Music in Canada, Outcaste Records in the UK/EU distributed by EMI and Glassnote Records in the US distributed by RED.
Justin was born one of seven children to American Canadian mother Holly Sedgwick and Japanese father Hiromitsu Nozuka. Sedgwick raised Nozuka and his six siblings as a single mother. He is the brother of musician George Nozuka, musician Henry Nozuka, and actor Philip Nozuka. Other family members include Christian, another musician and two sisters, Margaret and Sandra (Sandy). His mother's half-sister is actress Kyra Sedgwick and his first cousin twice removed is Edie Sedgwick.
Nozuka began writing his own songs at age 12. The earliest of his songs on Holly, "Supposed to Grow Old" and "I'm in Peace," were written when he was 15. While attending St. Andrews College, an international boarding school in Aurora, Ontario, Justin learned to play guitar from classmates. He then went on to the Etobicoke School of the Arts, where he graduated from in 2007. His musical influences stem from artists such as Lauryn Hill and Marvin Gaye.
With help from a fellow Canadian artist, Damhnait Doyle, whom he met at a song writing workshop, Nozuka was introduced to Universal Records talent scout, Allan Reid. He recorded three tracks through Universal with Bill Bell as producer, leading Universal to request that Nozuka sign with their label. However, he decided he wanted to "record an album on (his) own, with (his) own freedom".
In 2007, Nozuka released his debut album Holly. The album is named after his mother who helped and supported his chosen career in music. The album has eleven songs to it and includes a hidden track following the final listed song "If I Gave You My Life". Many of Justin's songs deal with mature themes such as the song "Save Him", which is a fictional account of a woman abused by her husband. Another track, "Down in a Cold Dirty Well", is about his perspective being stuck in a well, watching his life flash before his eyes. "Criminal" describes the story of a drunken man facing the consequences of throwing a bottle into a street "where children play with bare feet", and suffers from the overwhelming guilt. In February 2008, Justin was nominated for a Juno award in the category of "New Artist of the Year", following the commercial and critical success of his debut album.
Since then, Nozuka has played at such venues as the Green room stage at the Irish music festival Oxegen and T in the Park in 2007. Nozuka's song "After Tonight" has also been featured in a commercial for Scott Baio Is 46...and Pregnant on VH1, as well as on mtvU's The Freshman. Nozuka has also traveled to Austin, Texas to take part in the SXSW Music Festival as well as being interviewed by many radio stations in the area.
In 2008, Nozuka toured with Marié Digby and Eric Hutchinson. From August 2008 through November 2008, Nozuka toured all around the United States with Gabe Dixon Band & Jay Nash as well as in parts of Europe. In the beginning of 2009, he toured the United States again, this time co-headlining with Missy Higgins and with special guest, Lenka. He also toured in France to heavily promote the Holly album for its re-release.
In the summer of 2009, Nozuka began working on his second studio album, while touring and playing live shows in Europe. The result was his second album titled You I Wind Land and Sea. The album was released in the US on April 13, 2010 and debuted at Number 118 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart. The album receive positive reviews, similar to his first album.
On February 18, 2010, Nozuka lent his vocals alongside 50 of Canada's best and brightest artists on a reworked version of K'naan's "Wavin' Flag." The song was reworked in order to inspire help for Haiti after it was hit by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake. Other singers involved included K'naan, Nelly Furtado, Kardinal Offishall, Avril Lavigne, Lights, Drake, Fefe Dobson, Esthero, Jacob Hoggard and Justin Bieber, among others. It was released on iTunes Friday March 12, 2010 for purchase with all proceeds going to designated charities: World Vision, Free the Children and War Child.
Nozuka collaborated with the musical group The Slakadeliqs on their single "Love Controls the Sun" in November 2011. The song is part of the group's debut album The Other Side of Tomorrow. The group released a music video for the song featuring Justin and Slakah the Beatchild riding their bicycles on a rural road and partying.
Nozuka has performed the song "Gone" in his live shows but has yet to record it for an album. Wu-Tang Clan member RZA came across the song and decided to sample it. RZA, joined by Kobra Khan, James Black and Justin, released the song, also titled "Gone," in October 2011 as a tribute to former Wu-Tang Clan member the late Ol' Dirty Bastard. The group filmed a music video for the single featuring clips of Ol' Dirty Bastard. The single is available on iTunes.
Nozuka has also had various acting roles, including an appearance on Degrassi: The Next Generation as Chuck Hosoda, the fictional brother to recurring character Chester, played by Justin's real-life brother Philip Nozuka. Their brother George Nozuka also shared a small role in the same episode playing the third brother, Chad.
In April 2014, Nozuka released his third studio album, Ulysees. After spending 2010 touring, Nozuka took a break and started self-producing the album himself, resulting in a four-year gap between albums. The album features a soothing, calm tone which is significantly different from his previous albums, and is backed by the singles "Right By You", "Sweet Lover" and "Iulius".Justin Nozuka | New Music And Songs | MTV Famous uncle, Backstreet mentor inspire popster George http://www.cbc.ca/sunday/2008/05/051108_10.html "Justin Nozuka | Music Videos, News, Photos, Tour Dates, Ringtones, and Lyrics". MTV. Retrieved 2011-03-03. "Famous uncle, Backstreet mentor inspire popster George". .canada.com. 2006-11-08. Retrieved 2011-03-03. Interview with FaceCulture Retrieved on April 1, 2008 Official Biography from justinnozuka.co.uk Retrieved on July 15, 2007 Interview with TeenSpot.com Retrieved on July 15, 2007 Official lyrics page Retrieved on April 1, 2008 http://bamalovesoul.com/2011/11/17/the-slakadeliqs-love-controls-the-sun-ft-justin-nozuka-download/ http://www.channelapa.com/2011/10/gone-by-justin-nozuka-x-rza-x-kobra-khan-x-james-black.html