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.
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.
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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