Justin Michael biography
‘Underage in the underground’ is where it all began for Justin Michael. During the early 1990s, when most 15 year olds were hitting the books, this Billboard-charting artist and native Angeleno was earning his stripes hitting the decks in underground Californian clubs. The fake IDs and security escorts necessary back then may now be just a memory, but Justin Michael is anything but.
The proud Californian born-and-raised artist has long been a favourite in clubs for his soulful, melodic and vocal house productions released on the finest labels in the world. 2010, however, has seen Justin continue to widen his musical repertoire and, in doing so, emerge as a producer of choice for established and emerging artists both inside and outside the electronic music realm. Having recently been commissioned by major labels Warner, Jive and Atlantic for remixes of Jason Derulo’s chart-topping ‘Ridin’ Solo’, Ludacris and Ciara’s ‘Ride’ and Toni Braxton’s ‘Make My Heart’, Justin’s penchant for producing credible, catchy music - regardless of genre – is gaining attention worldwide.
The past 12 months have seen him complete production work for former Pussycat Doll Carmit Bachar and Taiwanese Mandopop singer Elva Hsiao, as well as turn in a remix of J Scott G’s (formerly of “Deepsky”) collaboration with American Idol runner up Adam Lambert. This, in addition to numerous collaborations with current ‘it’ artist and friend Bruno Mars (of ‘Billionaire’, ‘Nothin’ On You’ and current hit ‘Just The Way You Are’ fame) – including production work with Asian pop star Vanness Wu - further demonstrate that, while the house scene will forever claim him as one of their own, Justin is now straddling the boundaries between underground credibility and commercial accessibility.
This tireless supporter of the underground scene is not turning his back on his house roots, however, and remains a high-profile Ultra Records artist alongside the likes of Deadmau5, Kaskade, Tiesto and David Guetta. His third single on Ultra – ‘Her World Goes On’ featuring Bruno Mars – is proof: the single is being hyped as his best work yet and has already chalked up over a million views on YouTube, in addition to receiving widespread radio play and peer support. Hot on its heels is Justin’s recently-released fourth single – ‘Trouble’ featuring Heather Bright – which is doing similar damage in clubs worldwide.
All this success seems a lifetime ago from the 1990s, when Justin started his career DJing in and around Los Angeles. Booked as a fresh-faced teenager at some of the City Of Angels’ finest clubs, the underage attraction learned the art of working a crowd at an early age and, by the time he was 18, had established himself as one of the most promising DJs in LA. His first residency at club night RED lasted six years and saw him routinely headline to crowds of thousands as well as support some of the world’s greatest DJs. Progressing from the decks to the studio from 2002, early releases saw Justin quickly cement his name amongst the global house music scene’s elite.
‘Everything’ – his debut 2007 album featuring Rock, Pop, Hip Hop and R&B influences – was lauded by critics on both sides of the Atlantic. Choice house cuts released on Miguel Migs’ Salted Music, London’s MN2S, Jamie Lewis’ Purple Music and Justin’s own Hermosa Recordings have all since followed and wowed clubbers.
Justin’s forthcoming remix work - much of it completed with long-time friend and collaborator Kemal – continues to be dancefloor-oriented but is accessible to a much wider demographic. His remix of friend and label-mate Kaskade’s ‘Don’t Stop Dancing’, his interpretation of progressive house mainstay Nadia Ali’s ‘People’ and his hot new mixes of Dave Dresden’s (formerly of Gabriel & Dresden) ‘Redhead’ and ‘That Day’ - both collaborations with Dresden’s production partner Johnston - are keeping his name in the minds of musicians seeking a unique but balanced sound.
Indeed, the demand for Justin’s production and remix work is matched only by the demand for his tight DJ sets. With 15 years experience behind the decks, Justin is routinely booked to tour throughout the United States and to house hot-spots including London, Amsterdam, Taipei, Bali, Singapore, Hong Kong and emerging eastern European scenes in Hungary and Romania.
As 2011 approached, Justin’s sound is increasingly hard to pigeonhole and immune from cultural, geographic and language barriers. Rather, his ability to speak the universal language that is music is seeing his name roll off the tongue of music lovers and tastemakers alike. In today’s digital world where it’s more difficult than ever to sort the musical contenders from the pretenders, this multi-talented DJ, producer, remixer and engineer is letting his music speak for itself, and the world is listening - and loving - what they hear.