Local singer-songwriter Justin Fancy talks his ‘Long Time Comin’ solo project, collaboration with a local reality star and writing music from the heart
From a top 200 finish in the wildly popular Canadian Idol, to becoming a familiar voice in the local music community through tireless gigging and trad group Eastern Passage, Justin Fancy has taken a long road to his debut solo album.
With an aimed release for summer 2020, Fancy’s debut country music single Long Time Comin’ is prophetic of the distance from his early roots to the polished and confident artist we see today.
The Herald sat down with Fancy to talk his new career focus, collaboration with Big Brother Canada’s Samantha Picco, and writing from the heart.
Long Time Comin’ is an appropriate representation of your solo work. How long in the planning has this new direction been?
I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. I’ve got a lot of music written over years. Obviously, life gets in the way, things get in the way. And my whole point of this project is to tell that story and make the songs relatable for people so they can understand and relate to my music.
That was my number one goal when I started this. As I said, I’ve been trying to do this for a long time. And Long Time Comin’, it suits the reason why I’m doing all of this.
Take me through bringing Samantha Picco from Big Brother Canada on-board for the Think About You music video. How did that collaboration come together?
She’s phenomenal. Phenomenal. I mean, she’s a natural born star. In my opinion, she deserves all the credit she got on Big Brother.
I grew up with Sam. I went to school with her all the way up through and we’re in the same network of friends, really. I bounced the idea off her and she was all over it. I just messaged her one day and said “Sam, how do you feel about being in a music video? I think you’d be perfect for it.” She was all over it.
But I mean, in terms of her commitment to my craft, she loves my music, always has. And she was more than willing to step up and get involved.
You placed in the top 200 in Canadian Idol in 2008. How much did that experience impact your career moving forward?
I would have never played a professional gig if it wasn’t for Canadian Idol. I really don’t think I had that confidence. I always played campfires, shed parties, wherever there was a gathering I would sing songs. So this Idol thing put me in a different mode altogether.
When I got back from Idol, I obviously got a bit of media attention, and the bars and pubs started calling me for gigs. I wasn’t really prepared for that, but I wanted to give it a go. So what ended up happening was I got into the George Street scene and I started playing in bars and pubs six, seven nights a week for about five or six years.
What I did learn and understand was that there’s two types in this business. There’s the recording artist where you can record music and become a singer songwriter. Or you can be in live entertainment and do these live gigs five, six, seven nights a week. Some artists are doing both, and I’ll continue to do both, just not as much as I was doing it before.
Your songwriting tends to steer towards the personal side. How much of your own life do you draw into your music?
When I write a song, it always comes from the heart no matter what. It’s about my experiences, what I’ve been through, and I’m really trying to connect and hone in on what’s realistic to people. This latest single Think About You is about a relationship that went sour. We got back together, went sour again. It’s what people can relate to. People go through rough patches in relationships and breakups and all this kind of stuff. So that song is really opening up my heart to the music world. That’s what I find really connects with people that want to listen to your music. They’re looking for that kind of connection.
What are your thoughts on your solo material and this direction of your career moving forward? It feels like this is the musical direction you were meant for.
This is absolutely where I was meant to be. I always envisioned a sound that I wanted, a country music sound. The crying steel guitars and the honky tonk Telecaster and all this kind of stuff. I feel like I’ve got that now.
So it’s given me a lot more motivation and confidence that I can actually do this thing now. The songs are going to come from the heart. The songs are gonna make you cry, make you laugh, and make you dance. And that’s what I want to see as a result of this.
Fancy aims to release his debut solo album on August 31st, his 34th birthday. The new single Think About You is available to stream April 16th. Visit justinfancymusic.ca for more!