If you were a record company executive ? or even a pretty sussed music fan ? and you could dream up an artist with a real shot at global success, chances are it would be a young, gorgeous looking, hugely talented songwriter and guitarist who came with a voice of striking proportions.
Well, Justin Bergh is proof positive that dreams can come true.
A 22-year-old from South Africa?s city of the moment, Cape Town, Justin (as he?s simply known) is that rare thing in the enormously competitive music world: a genuinely ? some might say precociously ? talented musician who has simply everything it takes to make it. Huge.
The cautionary amongst you might be whispering under your breath ?well hey claims like these are made all the time, especially in artist biogs?. But in Justin?s case, casting him as a real contender in the worldwide music ring, is more than warranted.
When Justin turned up at BMG Africa?s offices armed with a demo, it didn?t take long for a ripple of excitement to spread throughout the Gauteng building. Not only did Justin possess the looks of a rock star (a minor point we know but hey it counts), but the handful of songs presented to BMG revealed that the boy could pen a song. And then some. Songs that rest on melodies that instantly captivate, hooks that immediately penetrate and lyrics that speak right to the heart of anyone who?s ever loved and lossed and lived. Justin?s ability to propel each song forward with some skilled guitar work was also on dazzling display as was his vocal prowess which recalled early Bryan Adams, Bon Jovi and Aerosmith ? yet remained wholly distinctive. The fact that Justin sent his original demos to London?s Abbey Road Studios for mastering also clearly signaled his serious intent.
And, indeed, so weighty is Justin?s potential to pierce the often unyielding skin of the international music market, that he spent a month in New York as a guest of RCA, working on his music, singing and guitar playing in a studio with a producer (eventually producing three new tracks, not included on the album), with a view to a more concrete relationship further down the line.
Mid-2000, saw the release of Justin?s debut solo album, LOVE THE SINNER.
Produced and mixed by Peter ?Reggie? Bowman at his Thunderbox Studios in Australia, the 14-track album showcases 12 Justin Bergh originals and two covers, including the album?s title track, a Brian Howes-penned rocker that starts off slow and then effortlessly thunders into classic rock territory and is the album?s first single. Another superb track off the album is ?No Ordinary World?, written by Stephen Allen Davis and Lars Anderson, this sure-fire hit features a colossal hook with some swelling guitars.
Virtually every one of the album?s tracks has ?radio single? written all over it ? including ?So Satisfied?, a self-penned song that?s a gentle, lilting rock ride that displays Justin?s achingly beautiful voice is astonishing form. ?It?s kind of a happy song about thinking about a girl and feeling just so satisfied when she?s with you.?
According to Justin, much of what he writes lyric-wise comes from his own life experiences and at other times, can be from his observations of other people?s lives.
Justin says he?s been preparing for a music career for the past ten years and has always had his heart set on becoming an international music star. ?I was about 11 when I first picked up a guitar, mostly because both my dad and my brother played socially and I wanted to join in.?
But it was obvious from the beginning that Justin?s musical ability was far more than just ?social?. At the age of 14 and 15, he began to write his first songs, which he describes as ?pretty similar to what you hear on the album?. ?I wasn?t obviously writing as much but the feel was the same. In fact one of the songs on the album, ?Free From The Pain?, I wrote when I was 16. The song changed a fair bit when I went to record in Australia, mostly because the original version of the song was a little too long for an album, and for radio play. Reggie guided me a lot in these ways. I mean he?s very experienced and he taught me a lot of news things.?
A prolific songwriter (he can write three a week in a good week), Justin says like most South African artists he?s aiming towards an international market, he?s not na?ve about the hard work required to make an impact.
Driven, talented, and blessed with a multitude of skills, Justin?s destined for the big time.