Junior Mesa's Anti-Pop Prose is Infectious  [Q&A]


Bakersfield, CA singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Junior Mesa is one of a kind. His musical influences range from Wes Montgomery to Jimi Hendrix to Sly and the Family Stone. You would expect a twenty year old with that taste in music to get it from his family members but no. Like all Gen Z-ers, he grew up on the internet so he his Youtube search history for most of his exposure to old school music.

When he was fifteen, he taught himself how to play guitar by learning how to play Nirvana's "Lithium" and he never looked back after that. As you can see from his musical influences, Mesa has an eclectic taste and the music he makes represents that to the fullest. "I'm trying to bring together seventies, alternative, funk, soul, indie, rock, and old school jazz." He does so, successfully. His affective anti-pop prose helped him garner the attention of Ricky Reed's Nice Life Records, which is also the home of Lizzo.

Mesa just released a two pack of singles, "Losing My Grip/Creep." We caught up with Mesa recently to talk about some of his inspirations, teaching himself instruments, some of his favorite sad songs that make people feel good, and more. Listen to "Losing My Grip/Creep" below and read our interview below.

Ones To Watch: I read that YouTube was your main channel for discovering music, what were some of the first classic songs that inspired you?

Junior Mesa: “Hey Joe” by Jimi Hendrix, “Dreamin” by Mac Demarco, and “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” by The Beatles

How has the pandemic affected your life as an artist?

I've become a lot healthier physically but it has also made me more depressed at times.

You once said, "A sad song can make you feel good". What are some of those sad songs from other artists that make you feel good?

“Alone Again” by Gilbert O'Sullivan, “Heart of Glass” by Blondie, “always see your face” by Love

You taught yourself how to play guitar by learning how to play Nirvana's Lithium, did you also teach yourself how to play piano, bass, and drums?

Yea “lithium” was the first song I learned and Bass came natural because of its similarities with guitar and I've been teaching myself drums and piano for about 2 years now.

If so, what songs did you use to learn those?

I would jam on a lot of Jimi Hendrix, Beatles, Sly and the Family Stone songs for drums and piano. I would also learn a lot of Tyler the creator songs

Releasing your first project is a hard task. How did you know when you were finished with Peace and ready to put it out?

I knew I wanted to put out an EP so I was just making songs and as soon as I had six I was happy with, we put it all together.

You've mentioned "wanting to build a world with your music" and that's why you play all the instruments and write all of the lyrics. Can you describe this world and if you had to name it, what would you call it?

The world’s name would probably be big blue. Low gravity and lots of water

What's the first thing you're going to do to feel "normal" once the world opens back up again?

I'll probably go to a go kart track. I feel the most happy when I'm in a go kart

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