The New York-born, Toronto-raised singer-songwriter Justin Nozuka boasts an entertainment-world pedigree that will perhaps forever haunt him in blurbs such as this. His mother, Holly Sedgwick, is sister of actress Kyra -- which makes Kevin Bacon his uncle, and Edie Sedgwick a cousin. His brother, Phillip is an actor, and brother, George, is an R&B singer. So it's no surprise that as a kid, Justin dabbled in musical theater at various high-profile performing arts schools. But, in love with classic soulful sounds from an early age, Nozuka knew music was his true passion. "I think I was about 15 or so when I decided that I was going to pursue music and I was going to quit everything else," says Nozuka, now 20 years old.
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Starting out on a more traditional R&B route, Nozuka worked with a series of producers -- until he discovered Ben Harper. "I really looked up to him at the time and saw how he handled his career, compared to how the R&B cats handled their careers," he says. "I just wanted to do my thing and just be me." Indeed, Harper fans will dig Nozuka's guitar-driven "acoustic soul," built on feel-good melodies with real vocal chops behind them. And while many songs are, as you would expect, autobiographical, Nozuka also possesses a mature flair for narrative. Songs like "Down in a Cold Dirty Well" and "Criminal" take unexpected darker turns, sung from the shadier corners of Nozuka's sunny musical world.
Justin Nozuka. with Missy Higgins and Lenka. Wednesday, February 25. Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Hwy., Ft. Lauderdale. Show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $18 in advance. All ages. 954-564-1074; www.cultureroom.net