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FEATURE Elena Buckley SDUN Editorial Assistant

Kansas transplant and singer/ songwriter Justin Henderson has accomplished a lot to be proud of in the few months that he’s been living in Hillcrest. On May 17, he released his first album, “Street- light” with Tate Music

Group (TMG), a national, inde- pendent record label.

The eight-track album covers

every aspect of Henderson’s life—from various struggles, to love and heartbreak to what you think about in those moments when you’re all alone with your own thoughts.

Henderson explained that he moved to San Diego because pursuing a career in music simply isn’t done in Kansas.

“Where I was original-

ly from was an economi- cally depressed area,” Henderson said. “People there just do not make a lot of money. It’s hard to leave the area if you live there; it’s hard to get ahead if you don’t have certain things, and most of the people who live there work in factories [and] make minimum wage, if not much more than that.” Henderson began working on the music that would eventu- ally make up “Streetlight” five years ago, and with encourage- ment from his sister he began vo- raciously promoting his music via the Internet, accruing 10,000 fans nationwide. After responding to a call for artists, Henderson signed with TMG about a year ago and began the production process. “’Streetlight’ was tracked in one month, and then Justin came in to record some guitar and all

of his vocals the next month,” Houston Green, the album’s producer said. “I was in charge of getting all of his music tracked according to how he wanted it. I tracked and engineered all of the instruments on the album except for the two songs with Justin’s classical guitar.”

Henderson describes the sound of the album as a mix of al- ternative, jazz, folk and a little bit of Southern influence, because as he put it, “You can’t live in Kansas for 10 years and get away with that.” The songs are slightly remi-

San Diego Uptown News | June 10–23, 2011


New musical artist emerges in Hillcrest Justin Henderson celebrates the release of ‘Streetlight’

niscent of some of Henderson’s favorite artists—early Dave Mat- thews Band, Jack Johnson and David Grey—’though he said that his music isn’t directly influenced by any one group or individual. “When I would sit down to write I would just play,” Hender- son said. “If something caught my ear and it really just mirrored what I was feeling inside, I would go with it. I would just write. Usu- ally the words would come right with the music; it wasn’t really a complicated process.”

Although most of the sound

is very stripped down, showcas- ing only Henderson and acoustic guitar, the album also features bass guitar, piano, a touch of synthesizer and electric guitar. Elizabeth Parks, Henderson’s manager, explained that it was difficult for them to put the album into one category because the sound produced is so diverse. Although partial to playing classical guitar, Henderson has experience and training in mul- tiple other instruments. Having

see Album, page 20

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