Philadelphia native and American Idol season one runner up Justin Guarini is currently one of TV Guide Network's resident hosts. In addition to seeing him on the red carpet for TV Guide during Award Season covering The Oscars, The Grammys, The Emmys and more, Justin also hosts their movie premiere and junket specials.
Since starring on American Idol, Guarini participated in the national Idols Live! Tour performing for sold out audiences across the country and continues to tour nationally performing all over the U.S. & abroad. He has also released two albums.
Justin's formal music education began at the age of four with the Atlanta Boys Choir and continued with the Philadelphia Arch-Diocese Choir. After concentrating on his classical and spiritual music background, he went on to study vocal performance, dance, theatrical arts, and film and television acting at The University of The Arts in Philadelphia.
A strong believer in music education, Justin has lobbied on Capitol Hill on behalf of The International Music Products Association, which seeks to curb the slashing of music education, and has spoken before the NAACP regarding the importance of music in schools. Justin is currently involved with the ETM-LA (Education Through Music LA) which funds music programs in disadvantaged areas.
Luna talks with Justin Guarini
Luna: Music is much more than entertainment – it can educate, inspire…what is it you hope to say with your music?
Justin: A big part of my career has been spent discovering who I am as a person and an artist...amid the whirlwind of fame, fortune, and success/lack of success. I hope that I can inspire people to find something they love, to stick with it (through the up's and down's), and to ultimately discover (or rediscover) themselves through the process.
Luna: How did being the 1st runner up on the biggest show in history (American Idol) change your life?
Justin: How did it not change my life is the better question. Instant fame, recognition for my talent, money, the ability to inspire/give back to, and influence people all over the world. A huge life lesson 9 years and running. A heap of experience that will help guide me for the rest of my life and career.
Luna: An artist's music is usually a reflection of who they are & their life. Can you tell us a little more about yourself (where you were
raised, your musical influences, etc.) Also share a little about your ethnicity, and how it colors your music.
Justin: I was raised in a bi-racial family (African-American, Italian) in the South(GA), as well as the North (PA). My musical influences are as varied as the stars...from Gospel every Sunday morning, to Jazz, to R&B, to Pop...my parents listened to everything and I soaked it in. Fortunately my parents recognized early that I had a knack for the vocal arts and they put me in the Atlanta Boy Choir at age 5. My ethnicity doesn't really come in to play, other than the fact that I really don't identify with one or the other...I float in-between and that's just fine with me. I'm a lover of unique rhythms...so I usually let that guide my writing and music.
Luna: Your music appears to have matured over time and you sound better than ever. To what do you attribute this and what makes your particular style of music unique?
Justin: Practice, practice, practice. Through the repeated doing of a thing, I find myself in it, and in turn it finds a home in me. I just let go and have fun...that's when my best stuff comes to me. I used to think I had to muscle it in, to force myself to write...but that's like trying to force a river through a straw. I relax pick up the guitar, practice my exercises, and then open myself up to any possibility (even for the music to be awful) that way I can catch that good lick or progression as it's lazily coming downstream.
Luna: Justin, you married your childhood sweetheart and are a dad. What's that been like?
Justin: I've become so much more of a realized person. I've grown and written songs about my experience of life with another person (2 other persons) and it's been inspirational...as well as educational.
Luna:Please share with our readers a little about the Oracle Eclipse and why you like it?
Justin:The biggest attribute in my mind is the ease of play. The neck profile is slimmer than the traditional acoustic guitar, and the action is easy on the hands. The Oracle Eclipse is a great rhythm guitar that has a warm sound.
Luna: Many artist talk about how music helped put them on a good path. If it did, how did music "save" you in your formative years?
Justin: I was a kid that nowadays would be referred to as ADD. Music helped me focus, learn math, reading and social skills. Also came in handy when I was trying to impress girls. Music was and will always be my first love.
Luna: We love your songs. Tell us a little about your songwriting process.
Justin: The process begins with the beat for me, the progressions follow, then I ask myself 'What is this song about?'. I let the music guide me to where it want's to go (subject-wise) then I take the reins and pen the lyrics.
Luna: Is there anything you would like to share with our readers about what is currently happening in your life?
Justin: I'm very proud to be a part of the Luna family, and am currently gearing up to go into the studio for my 3rd album.
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Justin Guarini's Official Website