Keep and honor all of your promises. Never make a promise you can’t keep. People in the entertainment business will remember and it will hurt your reputation. Always make a promise you can deliver. In the beginning of my career, I had people promise me things that they couldn’t keep, and now I know who they are. I also learned who keeps promises and I keep them in my inner circle.
I had the pleasure to interview composer, pianist, lead singer and vivacious front-woman, Justine Glaser, of Blue Midnight. Blue Midnight’s sound is iridescent in its sensually hard-hitting drumlines, heavily distorted guitar solos, operatic vocals and classical string section. Justine is a heavy metal woman on a mission. With only 23-years of life experience under her chainlink belt, she has accomplished more in the music world than most dream of… self-booking Blue Midnight for 11 shows in just one year of forming the band. With the sound, drive and ambition of a bona-fide Rockstar, Justine takes it up a notch by designing her own clothes, writing and composing her own music and stepping up as a female role model by inspiring women around the world to go after their dreams. This fall, Blue Midnight will be performing at Aftershock and this will pave the way for an enticing glimpse of what to expect from their new album, Dream Chaser. Inspired by fantasy, self-exploration and introspection; the music will be a fusion of melodic sounds with driving irresistible drums and fantastical elements to transport listeners into the Dream Metal galaxy. Stay tuned for the release of their first Dream Chaser single, titled Spell Bound, Justine says, “We’re still in the writing process for all the songs and this takes time because we want to develop the best music we can make.” Aftershock Festival takes place in Sacramento, California from October 11–13, 2019. Blue Midnight performs on Sunday, October 13th, alongside legendary bands Tool and Korn.
Thank you so much for joining us Justine! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I came back to Los Angeles when I was 19 years old. I enrolled myself into fashion school because I had left music school. However, while I was a fashion student I felt like there was something missing from my life. I realized that thing that was missing from my life was music. I wanted to pursue it so badly that I started out playing coffee shops, singing at karaoke bars, and I even played open mic nights. I always had a vision of making the music that I wanted to make, and it took me a long time to make this happen, but everything I did to form Blue Midnight was worth it because the history and the story is beautiful.
Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your music career?
When I was just starting out and recording my demo with my cousin, Sam, we decided to take a night off and go see Evanescence in concert. Sam had this really funny idea of giving Amy Lee my demo so he burned a CD and put my phone number on the CD. I asked how we were going to get the demo to Evanescence because they were at the Greek Theater and that place is heavily guarded, and we couldn’t get access to the backstage passes. We ended up getting to the venue super early and we tried to get people who were going backstage to sell their passes for some cash, but no one would budge. It’s amazing how loyal their fans are. We then realized that whenever a band comes to Los Angeles at the Greek Theater, they always have an after party at the venue. However, we did not have passes to the after party and the entrance was a red-carpet entrance. We were denied right at the door. We decided to leave the venue and walk around, and we found an alley of tour busses on the side of the street. We knew that the party had to be through that alley because that would logically be the easiest exit. My cousin and I ran through the alley, past the guards, and I ended up flashing a concert ticket in a way that made it look like we had an authorized pass to be there and they let us through. I ended up giving Amy my demo. I think that’s when I knew that I would do anything for my music. Regardless of if she ever listened to it or not, I knew that the universe wanted me to have the experience of working hard to meet a goal because I would have to do that a lot in my career. I never gave up.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I am very excited to announce that the guys and I are in the writing phase for our second album called Dream Chaser. It is going to be a new sound and its really going to push the idea of Dream Metal further. There is going to be a mix of electronic drums and real drums, heavy guitar, synthesizer bass, regular bass, electric violin, and ethereal vocals. The music is going to be heavily inspired by Nightwish and Dream Theater. We are in the very early stages for this and we are just starting to write the songs. We are also playing an awesome music festival called Aftershock in Sacramento!
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
Oh yeah! One of my favorite people that I met was Doc Coyle (Bad Wolves). Doc was awesome. He stopped by a gig I was playing in Tarzana and we watched basketball live after I got off stage.
Another favorite person I met was Diamante. We met because she was doing an exclusive Live Nation show and I was there. It’s funny because we had a lot in common when we spoke. The obvious thing being we both have blue hair and front rock bands, but we talked hair dye and our love for the color blue, and how our rooms were similar when we were kids. It was random and super cool to meet someone doing something similar to what I am doing!
Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?
Queen Elizabeth I is the historical figure I look up to most. Actually, a fun fact: she inspires my costumes that I wear on stage.
There are many qualities that I admire in her as a historical figure. She was tenacious and resolved conflicts in very effective ways. She also was very calculated and made decisions based on the best interest of her country. She ruled alone for 45 years and valued advice from all of her closest friends and advisors.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I am using Blue Midnight’s platform to empower young girls and young women from around the world. My goal is to show young girls that they can do anything and be anything they want and that the future is female. In general, I really care about all of my listeners and I love helping my fans.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I am really encouraging parents to bring their kids to my shows. I do this for many reasons. The first reason is that I want to inspire a generation of young rockers. The second reason is that I want to be a role model and I want to model hard work and dedication. I want to show these kids that they can become anything they want if they put their mind to it. I wouldn’t be where I am today without seeing the bands I loved when I was in middle school. I hope someone in a future generation says that they look up to me and that I inspired them to become an artist. I would be humbled, and I would listen to as much new music as I can.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I think it’s about being honest with yourself and truly assessing where you are. It’s very easy to get burned out in the music industry because some days are more demanding than others. However, I think the key is to always make a list that reminds you about how far you’ve come. Make a list of what you’ve accomplished and what you want to accomplish and then figure out how to get those done. Celebrate the successes even if they are small.
Also, people get burned out for many reason. It’s important to figure out what the reason is. Change can’t happen without acknowledgement.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Not everyone is as consistent as you. When you’re working hard at something it’s very hard to get people to match your level of passion, hard work and determination. You have to sell people on it. You have to show you have all of those things through your actions. People have agreed to book me because they have heard stories about how I go out of my way to pack venues. I message every single person individually on Facebook. At one point, I even handed out flyers in the pouring rain.
- Keep and honor all of your promises. Never make a promise you can’t keep. People in the entertainment business will remember and it will hurt your reputation. Always make a promise you can deliver. In the beginning of my career, I had people promise me things that they couldn’t keep, and now I know who they are. I also learned who keeps promises and I keep them in my inner circle.
- The word “no” can actually open up a dialogue. It’s not a rejection. In the entertainment business, if someone takes the time and energy to tell you no, it means you struck a chord with them. It actually hurts more to never hear back. I once asked to play a venue, and the promoter emailed me back and said no thanks. This promoter told me no over and over again for months and I never understood why, and then it finally hit me. I needed to know why he was telling me no. I reached back out and I asked him why. It opened up a dialogue and it opened up me getting a show date. It’s never crazy to ask anyone to reconsider. It’s never crazy to go after what you want.
- This is a huge one for me. The entertainment industry has a lot of games and politics. Don’t play them, focus on your craft. I had moments where I was caught up in going to events and handling the business side of my music that I lost sight of making music. I was stressed and miserable. I hated the pressure and the noise. My mentor pulled me aside and reminded me that I am an artist at my core, and that’s what I need to be before anything else. The industry, the meetings, all of it is just noise. It’s about the music, the vision, being on stage, and caring for the fans.
- Not everyone is going to like you. I always tried to please everyone when I was just starting out. I wanted people to like me and I felt this pressure to be perfect and to be everyone’s friend because I wanted shows and I wanted to get myself out there. In general, I am a really agreeable person. I come from a really large Jewish family which means I know hospitality and I have a very warm and open upbringing. I have this desire to be awesome to everyone and I do bend over backwards. There was this one person where no matter what I did or how much I offered to help them, it just wasn’t working. I was emotionally bent out of shape because I felt like I was just doing everything wrong and I felt horrible. However, over time I realized that I just can’t please everyone. What I have to focus on are the people in my life who are genuine to me and who have earned a place in my life. I learned that respect works both ways and friendships are two-way streets. If someone doesn’t want to invest in a relationship, then don’t invest and don’t take it personally. Focus on the good energy.
We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she just might see this, especially if we tag them :-)
JK Rowling is definitely who I would pick. I admire her for so many reasons. I admire her tenacity, her imagination, her inability to accept defeat every time a publisher told her no. Her story is just so incredible. She’s really someone I have always looked up to. I always grew up reading her books and watching the movies. She wrote characters that I really understood. If I could just sit down with her for even 5 minutes, I would be so humbled! Please tag JK Rowling!!! JK Rowling if you’re reading this, lunch is on me!!!!
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