The acclaimed Canadian artist, Justin Nozuka is today sharing his new EP, then, now & again, out via Post 1988/Black Box. Complex featured the EP, dubbing it “the perfect project to spin whether you’re feeling good, bad, or comme ci comme ça.” The full EP follows the release of recent singles, “summer night o8” (tipped at Clash and Ones To Watch) and the Mahalia-featuring track, “No One But You”, which amassed over 3.6 million streams late last year, as well as support from Complex and SPIN.
The 32-year old New York-born, Toronto-raised and world-travelled Nozuka has been a mainstay of contemporary pop, folk and alternative R&B since he released his first album Holly at the age of 17. He comes by those influences honestly, following the lead of his four musical brothers. His first obsession was Lauryn Hill’s 1998 masterpiece The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. That album was the gateway to late 90’s/early 2000’s R&B and 1970’s-era singer/songwriters that have coalesced to define Nozuka’s sound. This sound, even more distinguished, even more refined with the release of his 2020 comeback single, “No One But You”, featuring the incomparable British songstress Mahalia.
“I’m confidently getting back to the roots and music that taught me how to sing and educated me on songwriting in general,” Justin remarks of his new material. “Contemporary R&B music with a keen ear for ‘70’s era recording sounds and techniques. I think R&B melodies and music has an innate quality of deep passion, pain and love. There’s a nostalgia for 90s and 2000s R&B that I crave right now. I also feel recording techniques and sounds from the 70s have an unbeaten richness to them. Those two elements together, make for what I believe is damn good, nourishing music.”
Thematically, this new body of work delves into Nozuka’s emotions and experiences with romance and relationships. It details the devastating sadness that comes with break-ups as well as the bright, vibrant optimism that arrives with forging new relationships. Sonically it brings about nostalgic tones with syrupy R&B and down-tempo soul, enveloping his vocals into layers of warm-hued textures and aesthetics. The first single, “No One But You”, which featured the tipped British artist, Mahalia, explored new romance and the boisterous excitement which can come with such beginnings. “summer night o8”, which found Nozuka writing alongside his friend and collaborator, Mitch Reed, as well as recruiting Alex Sowinski of BadBadNotGood on percussion, harkened back to psilocybin-fuelled summertime adventures whilst further mining this narrative of love with Justin exploring all the exciting feelings that come with new romantic ventures.