Originating from the Bay Area, Justin Llamas first emerged online in 2010 when he started uploading covers to YouTube. In only a few years he gained over 2 million video views and a loyal fan following. His most popular video to date, a cover of Sia’s “Chandelier,” gained so much attention that it was even shared by the original artist on most of her social sites, gaining over 700,000 views. Justin even caught the eye of Vena Brewer, previous manager of Grammy-nominated artist Keyshia Cole.
Now, Justin is releasing his debut EP entitled “Gold”. The EP’s title song features vocals from multi-platinum artist Amina Harris, while the EP’s title itself was inspired by the California Gold Rush and the “journey” those make to follow their dreams – something he considers a necessary step in his own life.
“Gold” blends the most immediate instrumental and lyrical details with an elaborate web of elegantly balanced musical roots dripping in pop. The result is a fully realized collection of songs that take you on an artful journey, with the highest of highs. On the surface, someone looking for a casual listen could just ease into some of these gorgeous melodies and enjoy, but why would you leave it there? Even the deceptively simpler songs have unexpected joy for the most jaded listener.
As a lover of words, lyrics can be the absolute cincher for me. Once I started hearing these songs, there was no going back. A literal free-fall of swooning ensued. Justin Llamas tackles relationship concepts that are not new and could easily slip into the ordinary in less skilled hands, but with Justin they never do. The simple, straightforward lyrics take these themes and bring them straight to the soul, and close enough to touch.
The slick beats and sparkling production are par for the course, as Justin comes out with a winner of an EP. There so many good songs on here and each one is a potential great single. His voice is strong, with so much emotion while also showing his tender side, like on the soaring ballad “Figure Things Out”.
But right from the opening track, “Got It Out For Me”, Justin shows that he is a jewel in the pop music crown. These songs are generally introspective, yet we can all relate to what they are saying, mainly due to the way Justin communicates them. His vocal abilities amaze with his range and perfect control, even on a simple mid-tempo melodic song like “Last In Line”.
However this EP surpassed all my expectations when the opening bars of “Tile Floor” kicked off. Justin’s voice, the lyrics and the music, blend in an incredible edgy pop mix that complements each other to perfection. This of course totally prepared me for the EP’s lead single, and title track, “Gold” featuring Amina Harris. The bouncing beat and catching chorus will have you nodding your head and tapping your toes.
No doubt Justin Llamas really and truly knocks it out of the park with his debut release. He will make you groove, shake your butt, nod your head, hum, smile, and lift you higher…and you’re going to love every second of it! Watching the pop artistry of Justin Llamas expand and mature is going to be a privilege, but right now, “Gold” presents us with 5 brilliant, emotionally-driven and melodically soaring pop songs which are not to be missed!
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