Baton Rouge R&B singer Justin Garner has been living his dream, starting with his iTunes Japan chart-topping album “I Am.”
Pegging him as one of that country’s biggest pop stars, his success continues in Japan and at home. Recently, Garner was selected as a contestant for the new MTV series “Copycat,” was flown to Los Angeles, treated like a star and will soon be on national television.
Hosted by Jonathan Bennett (“Mean Girls”), “Copycat” is a closed-ended episodic series that features young singers competing to win over the studio audience in a sound-a-like competition.
While Garner is unable to disclose which celebrity singer he will be copying, he said it’s someone he’s always compared to and admires very much.
“I was very nervous about being on TV, but all of my nervousness always leaves me the minute I hit the stage,” he said. “I’ve been performing and singing all of my life, so to have the opportunity to sing in front of millions is a once in a lifetime moment.”
Gratitude aside, Garner said being a contestant on “Copycat” has changed his life, from being invited to perform with some of his favorite artists to planning trips around the world to celebrate. All of this gives him the opportunity to prove that he isn’t just good at mimicking famous R&B crooners — he’s also an original artist who writes his own songs.
Future plans have Garner reading scripts for upcoming films, traveling the United States and returning to Japan to celebrate his album’s success. Before Garner leaves town, he will give Baton Rouge fans a chance to send him off properly with a farewell concert July 10 called “The Justin Garner Experience.”
“The show will be comparable to a world tour performance from my music idols,” Garner said. “The audience will actually get the chance to be a part of the show in an immersive concert experience with live music, dancers and special effects. Since this will be my last show in Baton Rouge for a while, I want to go out with a bang and I’m pulling out all the stops!”
And that’s not all.
Leading up to his big goodbye, the video hosting service Vevo will document his life, music and rise to prominence with “The Road to L.A.,” a behind-the-scenes video series.
“Viewers (will) get to see me in the rawest form,” he said. “I explain my sound, my journey and what I feel separates me from others in the music industry. It’s not about the smoke and mirrors or gimmicks with me — it’s strictly about making great music.”
Garner started his career at home on his computer posting YouTube videos of himself singing to the nearly defunct social media website Myspace.com. After such humble beginnings, he’s satisfied with the result of years of work to gain success in the crowded music business.
“I deserve it,” he said. “I deserve it.”