We had the good fortune of connecting with Justin Martyr and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Justin, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I actually started two businesses and both of them are music related. I started my Record Label “Verbal Renaissance” LLC in order to take my music career to the next level. I also started the label in order to elevate other artists, musicians, producers and talented individuals in the music industry that I believe in. A label is a great platform to gain notoriety and visibility. I’ve been signed to a few labels in the past and I took many mental notes and made observations while signed knowing that one day I would create my own label and sign artists.

We currently have 4 artists signed to the label, a booking manager, business advisors, a board and a lawyer. I also started the label in order to be taken more seriously as an artist, and there are also tax benefits and legal protections that come when you create a legitimate business as an artist. When people seek to book you and discover you are signed to a label and have some muscle behind what you do musically; they treat you with much more respect. When you start a business as a musician you can avoid putting your social security number on split sheets, contracts and other paperwork since you get an EIN (Employee Identification Number). I also started businesses because I always wanted to be my own boss.

I was mainly inspired to be my own boss and an entrepreneur by my dad. He has always been and still is his own boss. All my life he has been a Pastor, he traded stocks in the Stock Market and he owns multiple Real Estate Properties and manages many of them. The second business I started was a Production Company called “Justin-Credible Productions” LLC which is the business that I sell beats and instrumentals under to various brands and businesses such as ESPN, TNT and other companies.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a Christian Hip-Hop artist and musician with music that also has elements of Gospel, Reggae, Jazz and Soul in it as well. I think my diverse style, upper echelon lyricism and syllabic acrobatics set me a part. The combination of musical influences I have are not often fused together. Hip-hop, Gospel, Reggae, Jazz and Soul do not always come together and there are also elements of Rock in my music as well. I grew up in church as a musician and young preacher playing the drums with Gospel as the main style but my parents are both Jamaican and it was a primarily Jamaican church so we also sang alot of reggae, ska and calypso songs. I was born and raised in Miami with hip-hop as the main genre I listened to. However Miami is a Caribbean majority city so at a young age I was introduced to Latin music such as salsa, merengue, bachata and Haitian kompa.

Although my music is often biblical and I do not hide that; I also have mainstream music that is relatable to even the non-religious. I’ve also had the blessing to perform in clubs and venues in different states and countries in and out of both Christian and mainstream circles. I am most proud of the message of the Gospel in my music and the quality of the music. I produce the majority of my music and it makes me proud that what you hear usually came from my mind from start to finish! I write, record and produce the vast majority of my music and it has been that way my entire career.

The journey has not been easy but it has not been incredibly difficult either. God really blessed me to always have supportive people around me. I also experienced success at a young age as a teenager. By the age of 19, I’d already been on TV, heard one of my songs on the radio, been covered in newspapers and performed in many places in and outside of the United States including a performance in Kenya to a crowd of about 100,000 people! My faith in Christ and support from family and friends helped to push me to continue although I never contemplated giving up!

Lessons I’ve learned include that you should keep God first, have a solid team around you and remain honest with yourself. Do not surround yourself with “Yes Men.” Always have people in your circle that are not afraid to disagree with you or tell you when you are wrong. I want the world to find hope and truth through my music!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m born and raised in Miami, FL but I’ve lived in Chicago for the last ten years so I will make this about Chicago. I would take them to Lou Malnati’s Deep Dish Pizza for the best pizza on planet earth, Jibarito’s y Mas, Portillos and Harold’s Chicken, Going downtown is another great thing to do!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My big shout out would first go to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and after that; my next shout out would go to my immediate family who always believed in and supported me! I start with my Father and Mother James and Edna Francis, my sisters Sharice and Crystal and my big brother James Jr! My entire family always supported whatever I did musically and in general and they continue to support me now 20 years later!

Each member of my family played a distinct role in developing me into the musician, artist, minister and entrepreneur that I am today. As I said previously; my Father modeled being a boss for me and he paid for my first studio time, production program, drum set, saxophone and trumpet and he got me on some of my largest shows! My Mother always told me I could achieve whatever I wanted to as long as I kept God first. Sharice (my oldest sister) introduced me to much of the influential music in my childhood and came to many of my events and always has and continues to support me. Crystal (my second sister) also came to many of my events and continues to support me to this day. She has spread my music to many of her friends as well. My brother is my best friend and always encouraged and supported my music. He did most of my graphics early on and and even recently. He also was my hype man at one point. Each and every person in my family has been a part of the entire 20 year journey of me in music!

My Wife Aasha also supports me and deserves a shout out! She is also an incredible artist and we have collaborated on many songs and projects. It is a great strength to have someone who can relate to what it is like and understand some of the unique facets of being an artist and musician. We continue to push each other to be the best artist we can be.

Website: https://justinmartyr305.com/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/justinmartyr305.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/justinmartyr305.com/

Facebook: https://facebook.com/justinmartyr305.com/

Youtube: https://youtube.com/justinmartyr305.com/

Image Credits
Emmanuel Williams @kingzson

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