That Juzzie Man
Mullum Music Festival | 14-17 Nov
Byron Bay based musician Juzzie Smith first moved here to study music at Lismore Uni when he was 18 years old and he’s been calling this area home ever since. A troubadour, these days Juzzie shares his music with the world. This gentle-voiced, harmonica-playing blues man is really something to witness.
Where did your passion for music begin?
My passion for music started when I listened to my mum’s love for Elvis. This led me to the blues and all the great artists who inspired Elvis.
Did you grow up in a musical household or did the inspiration to make music your thing come from somewhere else?
My brother was a rock guitarist who was my first guitar teacher. He taught me the three-chord rock songs of AC/DC and The Angels. My mum only knew how to play music from reading the notes. Just before she passed away I taught her how to improvise and make your own song. Very special to see her eyes light up.
You’ve played at Byron Blues Fest, as well as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and you have a huge social media following – what have been some of the highlights of your music career thus far?
I have so many highlights. Music has taken me all around the world. From playing on the streets selling thousands of CDs, to playing on big stages playing to thousands of smiling faces. I remember this one special moment when I was playing in a small hall in the UK; there were about 130 people jammed into this venue, all being so quiet and connected to what I was sharing. Then all of a sudden, this light beamed down on me through the small window from the sun setting. It was like a Blues Brothers moment. You realise that you’re doing something very special. In that moment, I realised how much I love people.
You’re booked to play at this year’s Mullum Music Festival, 14th-17th of November, are you excited about the festival? What can people planning to go to the festival expect from your gig this year?
Mullum is one of my favourite festivals as it shares a huge range of music styles in very cool venues. This year I’ve been growing a lot with my sound. I will be sharing some new songs that are very very cool. Also my friend Joel Salom will join me for a show on Sunday, which will be a real hoot.
What’s on the cards for you for the rest of 2019 and the beginning of 2020? Any news you’d like to share with our readers?
I’m working on a new album, which I’ve released a couple of singles on iTunes and Spotify. I’m planning on doing more small tours around Australia and the world. Also I have a couple of other music projects, which I can’t wait to share.
Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for aspiring young musicians – what are some of the hard lessons you have had to learn to get to where you are today?
Main advice is enjoy what you do. Keep it simple, and learn from others. Hardest lesson is trying to do it all by myself. Do what you’re great at, and get others to do what they’re great at.
Juzzie Smith plays Mullum Music Festival 14-17 Nov. Tix and program info from mullummusicfestival.com