Music Interview: Justin Serrao – Perfect Stranger, Or Going To The Country

December 10, 2019

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Singer-songwriter Justin Serrao recently released a video for his song Perfect Stranger.



“Influence” is a loaded, often misunderstood concept. An artist may sound similar to another but have no knowledge of them, or be a super-fan of someone whose output is completely different to their own. Who or what was the artist, album, song, era or scene that initially mapped out the road to you becoming a musician?

I’d say my first inspirations would be Dashboard Confessional, Blink 182 and Elvis.


Has that changed over the years? If so, how and why, and what are you currently exploring?

It definitely has changed. As I’ve gotten older I’ve found influences in country music and Americana. These styles are honest songs and it’s a cleaner music, with more room for hooks.

Name one song you wish you’d written (or, if you’re not a writer, one you’d like to be know as the definitive interpreter of). What makes that song so important?

Bad Days by David Ramirez.


Which aspects of your music do you prioritise? For you, would you rather have that your lyrics, your melodies, or your vocals or instrumental work are the are the most memorable parts of your songs?

This is the constant battle of balance and perfection. Musically, I like to have intricacies in the music that keeps us as musicians entertained, while finding the right words that touch listeners’ hearts. If you get this right, the song pops.

The music industry is no longer a single-narrative operation. For you, what is the best way to get your music from your head to potential listeners? Please comment on digital means (from social media to full streaming and download distribution), playing live (how often; where; to whom), being a cottage industry (e.g. selling CDs from a box in your car) and any other creative channels you’ve explored.

It’s all about radio, even today. It’s still the biggest market. Otherwise, you can keep in touch with your true fanbase via email and then talk to your followers on social media. The real way to turn fans is a great live performance – the real essence of music.

In terms of the above, is there a gap between what you envisioned and what you are experiencing now? Does it matter, and if so, how do you close that gap?

Radio is different in each region and for me country music is not the biggest scene in South Africa, so I’m targeting the playlists on Spotify and Apple Music to get my music across.

What is the story behind Perfect Stranger – the genesis of the song, the people involved, the muse behind its creation?

It’s a song about love lost, and not settling for the next available candidate to walk down the aisle with. I worked with the amazing Mark Beling on this song and we wrote it together. I’m really excited about the huge sound of this song.

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