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Justin Nozuka

Justin Nozuka is a Juno-nominated singer/songwriter known for his smooth, soulful vocals and pensive mix of pop, R&B, and folk. He was just a teenager when his 2008 debut album, Holly, was picked up by star-making American label Glassnote Records. His 2010 follow-up, You I Wind Land and Sea, made a decent run at the charts, after which he stretched out on 2014's sparse, experimental standout Ulysees. Nozuka carried on in the latter half of the decade delivering a series of introspective folk-pop releases before transforming himself into a lush bedroom R&B crooner with singles like 2020's "No One But You" and his fifth full-length, 2023's Daydreams & Endless Nights. The son of a Japanese father and American mother (actress Holly Sedgwick, who happens to be Kyra Sedgwick's sister), Nozuka was born in New York City in 1988, the sixth of seven children. His 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 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, he attracted the attention of the British indie label Outcaste Records (Joss Stone, KT Tunstall), which offered him a contract. Nozuka's debut album, Holly, first saw release in the U.K. and Canada, then in 2008 was reissued by American imprint Glassnote. It made a decent showing on a handful of American and European charts and led to Juno nominations for New Artist and Breakthrough Artist of the Year. His 2010 follow-up, You I Wind Land and Sea, fared better, topping Billboard's Heatseekers chart in addition to collecting a Juno nomination for Adult Alternative Album (losing to Neil Young). That year, he also performed the single "My Heart Is Yours" on The Late Show with David Letterman. Looking to further develop his sound, Nozuka built a home studio and took his time writing and self-producing his spare, ethereal third album, Ulysees, which was released in early 2014. He returned to a more direct, folk-minded approach on the EPs High Tide and Low Tide and the 2018 full-length Run to Waters. When Nozuka re-emerged in 2020, it was as a soulful pop crooner playing foil to Jamaican-British singer Mahalia on the romantic duet "No One But You." The song later appeared alongside several other tracks of a similar ilk on Nozuka's April 2021 EP then, now & again, which marked his debut for Black Box Music. The EP now & again (Live from Revolution Recording) followed on the label three months later, and songs like "Nova" and "Closer," both of which appeared later in the year, continued in this lush, bedroom R&B style. He eventually made his full-length Black Box debut in June 2023 with the reflective Daydreams & Endless Nights. Featuring a team of producers that included his brother Henry Nozuka, it was accompanied by a sold-out tour of Europe and North America.
© Stewart Mason /TiVo
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