Justin Klump
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Justin Klump

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TAKING A ROCKY ROAD
By Matt Wastradowski
Columbian staff writer

Monday, August 4, 2008, Section: Life, Page d1

Two years ago, Vancouver singer-songwriter Justin Klump decided to pursue his dream of being a professional musician.

While many musicians work day jobs to pay the bills, Klump decided to leave his position as an entertainment booker for Saint Martin's University in Lacey and devote himself entirely to music.

Since then, Klump has performed at theaters, colleges and festivals throughout the country, blending personal lyrics and intricate guitar-playing for fans from Vancouver to Philadelphia.

On Tuesday, he will take the stage at Pioneer Courthouse Square. The show, part of Portland radio station KINK-FM's Noon Tunes Summer Concert Series, will be his largest headlining concert to date in Portland.

Many of the Noon Tunes audiences are made up of employees in downtown Portland on their lunch breaks, so Klump sees an opportunity to attract new fans. "Hopefully, by the end of the set, we can convert them and make them believers," he said.

Fans are what Klump needs.

The road to achieve rock stardom hasn't been smooth for the 25-year-old Mountain View High School graduate.

Without the safety net of a full-time job outside of his music, Klump spends up to 60 hours each week shuffling between gigs, writing songs and lining up shows. Klump estimates that up to 50 hours of that is spent trying to line up shows. He hopes to play 100 this year, up from 70 in 2007.

But booking cuts into Klump's rehearsal time. He guesses that he only writes music and rehearses about eight to 10 hours each week.

Even so, Klump has resolved that the lack of rehearsal time won't prevent him from recording his first full-length album, which he hopes to release in November.

In a recent interview, Klump, a self-described introvert, talked about his two years as a full-time musician and how he keeps it together on stage. The interview has been edited for space and clarity.

You remember the exact date you quit your job to pursue music full time - June 14, 2006. Why do you remember that date?

It felt really freeing. I was scared to death, but I felt like I wasn't doing what I was supposed to be doing. When I decided to quit, I thought I would be a lot more scared, but actually, a huge burden was lifted. It was really exciting.

What's changed in two years?

It's really hard. There are days where I'm really successful and I feel like I'm moving forward, and there are days when, emotionally, it's really difficult. Talent and love for music is only a piece of it.
I feel like I'm progressing. I feel like things are moving forward, but I still have a long ways to go.

How have the two years been different than what you expected?

The emotional aspect of it has been really taxing from time to time. I'm constantly questioning myself: Should I be focusing on music half-time and then doing something else, like trying to do a back-up plan?
I look around at a lot of my friends, and they're moving forward with life. So it's hard not to get trapped in the social norms of where society tells you where you should be.
It's easy when you're a kid. People tell you, "You need to pursue your dreams, and you need to follow your passion." But when you're 24 or almost 25, and you're going to be a rock star when you grow up, a lot of people look at you as sort of weird.

What are some of the highlights that confirm your decision to pursue music full time?

My band and I went into KINK-FM's studio for the Live Performance Lounge radio show and performed there in April. From there, we drove up to a show in Tacoma. In that whole week, we had four shows.
There are times like that where you feel really on top of the world, and things are really progressing. Then you have weeks when you're sitting in the office, plugging away, not getting responses from people that you've e-mailed.
So there's a constant pull of feeling really good about where things are going and feeling frustrated.

How do you define success?

I want to get to a point where I can tour eight to 10 months of the year and play constantly. I love performing.

You're a self-described introvert. How do you balance that when you're performing in front of crowds?

I don't know. I shut my eyes a lot when I'm singing. Between songs, I tell stupid stories and make fun of myself.
When you feel really good about what you're putting out there and what people are giving back to you, that's a wonderful payoff. That is what makes all those frustrating feelings worth it. But it's taken me awhile to get comfortable on stage.

- The Columbian


HUMP WITH KLUMP
Musician and PLU graduate returns to campus for an hour-long set in the Cave

By Alex Paterno, Mast A & E Reporter

Every now and then, you sit in on an act that makes you think to yourself, "This kid's going somewhere." Justin Klump's performance in The Cave Oct. 5 was just that. A former PLU student, Klump nearly packed The Cave to capacity for HUMP.

Sitting on a barstool with his Taylor acoustic guitar, Justin dove into his first song with next to no warning. Listening to Justin play through the first song, I couldn't help but think of John Mayer's early albums, specifically "Inside Wants Out." There was also a slight hint of Jason Mraz's sound.

Admittedly, this act has been done, but it has not been done quite like this. And for a self-taught guitarist, Klump was astonishingly good.

"I taught myself guitar by learning Dave Matthew's Band," Klump said.
The fact that he taught himself his instrument was not evident during the set. One instrumental piece in particular, "Judas", showcased a certain mastery of the acoustic guitar.

Students commented that Klump had “fingers like fire”. Throughout the show, he maintained the entertainment with playful banter between songs and during tunings. He used five different tunings and plenty of capo (for changing keys) throughout the set.

Having graduated from PLU, Klump was nervous about playing a show at a place he once considered to be home.

“I was pretty anxious all day and I don’t know why.” Klump said. “I think it’s because it’s PLU and I like you guys.”

Lucky for us (well, for me at least), he also brought some copies of his EP “Something for September.” Most of the songs were featured during the set, but the CD sports a full band behind Klump’s guitar and voice, which puts a new spin on it.

Klump’s lyrics are emotionally open and connecting. Rather than wrap-up his songs in metaphors, he takes a very heart-on-sleeve approach. This intimacy with his music is refreshing.
“I love music,” Klump said. “And I love playing it.”

Just by watching the show, it was apparent that Klump was into his music, with body movement and an emotional voice (which made for a slight imbalance with guitar and vocals). Overall, it really helped to make the show.

After about an hour, it was time for things to wind down. Luckily, the crowd managed to get not one, but two encores.

“I had a lot of fun,” Klump said. “It felt pretty cool to get encored twice.”
The show ran smoothly. Klump’s short, between-song monologues ranged from the wonders of the shuffle function on iPods to the origins of his songs. The small conversations he had with the crowd were fairly humorous and a bit esoteric.

Overall, Klump put on a good one-man show. The songs were fantastic both lyrically and musically. If acoustic folk-rock is your thing, it would be wise to check out Justin Klump.

- The Mast


ENTERTAINMENT WORLD ALBUM REVIEW OF ‘SOMETHING FOR SEPTEMBER EP’
By Geoff Dellinger

November 7, 2006

Here's a young man whose voice and guitar play will knock your socks off. "Suspicion" is a lyrically moving tune which delivers a heartfelt message. The simple and light drums with the acoustic guitar are simply phenomenal. Keeping thing simple and down to earth he continues his journey of light drums, acoustic guitar and adds in some bass play and a fantastic female voice on "Actually". "Silhouette" simply takes the cake, the guitar work is mesmerizing. The lyrics are real and many can relate too. The female voice returns adding some flavor to the emotional track.
This guy has a set of pipes on him and the mellow sound to him will have women swooning in no time.

- Entertainment World


January 28, 2009 - Justin Klump performs live in the Kink Local Music Spotlight.

The grandson of a Symphony conductor, Justin was raised with a respect for music, and a love for performing that is undeniable when watching him in concert. Whether playing solo, or with his band, at the core of Justin’s live show is a “certain mastery of the guitar”. Portland Classic Guitar declared Justin’s show to be “Stunning” and “Unforgettable!” and Entertainment World exclaimed “Here’s a young man whose voice and guitar play will knock your socks off!”

At the heart of these performances is a 25 year-old who is earning the respect of audiences across the country. Having played such venues as Qwest Arena in Boise, Hotel Café in Los Angeles and Aladdin Theater and Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Justin is distinguishing himself as a musician worth paying attention to. Logging thousands of miles driving and flying throughout the country, he has shared the stage with such notable acts as Everclear and Matt Nathanson.

In favor of a self-diagnosed need to perform, Justin has no intention of stopping anytime soon. “I want to get to a point where I can tour eight to ten months of the year and play constantly,” he says. “I love performing”. Not content with waiting on anyone else to build his career for him, Justin has built his career on his own because of a dream that originated when he started playing the guitar at 15. “Music has always been in my family, it’s such a part of who I am. I’d done music since I was born, but when I started playing the guitar and writing songs, the pieces fit. I knew what I had to do with my life.”

“The industry is hard, but when you’re on stage and you feel really good about what you’re putting out there and what people are giving back to you, it’s a wonderful payoff. It’s what makes all the frustrating feelings worth it.” On the brink of releasing his first full-length album, it’s clear that Justin is doing what he’s supposed to with his life. But, if you were to ask him, he’d tell you he’s doing it because he has to.

Official Website: www.justinklump.com - KINK 101.9 fm


Justin Klump

http://www.justinklump.com
http://www.myspace.com/justinklump

Main Guitar: Taylor 714ce
K & K Equipment: Pure Western Mini pickup system, Pure XLR PreAmp

In 2000 and 2001, Justin Klump won the WMEA Regional Guitar competition, and in 2003 he was named as one of the “Top 21 Artists/Bands under 21” by the Seattle P.I. He has opened for artists, including Ari Hest (Columbia), Matt Nathanson (Vanguard), Tyrone Wells (Universal Republic), Ernie Halter (Rockridge) and HyperStatic Union (RKT). This fall, Justin will be heading out on a nationwide tour.

Most recently, Justin has been recording an EP in Los Angeles with a cellist by the name of Matt Fish (Matt Nathanson, Alejandro Escovedo). In May, Awarestore.com released a compilation CD which contains Justin's song “Silhouette” – 25,000 copies were pressed and distributed. In June, KINK 101.9 FM in Portland ran a Local Music Spotlight feature on Justin's music.

Press:
“Here's a young man whose voice and guitar play will knock your socks off.”
Geoff Dellinger, Entertainment World

"Acoustic guitar and heart-on-sleeve lyrics will make you wish you'd never stopped keeping that personal journal."
D. Parvaz, Seattle P.I.

“With his classical guitar background and simple and personal lyrics, Klump pens nice pop numbers that are catchy and deep. Klump's sound is familiar but at the same time, it's got a noticable distinction from the rest of the stuff you usually hear in the pop world.”
Matt Perez, Music Emissions

“Klump looks into people's hearts and souls, and he manages to put some of the most conflicting feelings into words.”
Jennifer Layton, IndieMusic.com

“Six years is all that it's taken for solo artist Justin Klump to master the acoustic guitar.”
Erin Thomas, The Daily Evergreen

"23 year-old singer-songwriter Justin Klump made some very wise investment choices as a very young man...obviously earning some artistic capital in the process. Like John Mayer, Hootie & the Blowfish and Dashboard Confessional, there's an intellectual maturity to his brand of radio-ready pop."
Alan Fark, Minor 7th Acoustic Guitar Magazine - K & K Sound


Justin Klump: local artist, future star

Wow. In a word. Here's an extremely talented local musician playing right around the corner and he is easily on his way up the ladder.
We invited Justin Klump into the KINK studios recently and he was gracious enough to allow us to post a couple of songs on our website for your enjoyment. Take a listen and let us know what you think.

As much as we liked his performance at KINK, you owe it to yourself to visit his website and listen to the latest tracks he has recorded. Very sweet.

For more on Justin and where he is playing next, check his website: www.justinklump.com - KINK 101.9 fm


Justin Klump is a singer, guitarist/songwriter based in the Portland area and Something For September is his newest EP. With his classical guitar background and simple and personal lyrics, Klump pens nice pop numbers that are catchy and deep. Klump's sound is familiar but at the same time, it's got a noticable distinction from the rest of the stuff you usually hear in the pop world.

The CD opens with possibly his best song, "Suspicion". The instrumentation is impressive and keeps you interested throughout. The built-up bridge is both the best part of the song but also a highlight of the whole album. The best parts of his songs are usually when Klump effectively uses his falsetto voice. Though it's not used as much as it should be, whenever he does use it, it's always fantastic. The next two songs, "Not Your Own" and "Actually", are leftovers from some of his previous CD's. These are the weakest tracks on the record as they have repetetive song structures and feel boring throughout. It's obvious Klump has developed as a songwriter after these two songs. The song "Silhouette" isn't a bad song, but some parts are undesirable to listen to while others drag on for too long. "Flood" is a great listen that features a good piano part and nice lyrics that build throughout the song. It's easy to see that the final song on the EP, "Painter's Son", is Klump's most emotional. It's a fine piano ballad which builds to a fantastic outro.

Something For September is a very exciting EP because we can hear an artist developing into a great songwriter. The future looks bright for Justin Klump. - Music Emissions


"Something for September," 2006

23 year-old singer-songwriter Justin Klump made some very wise investment choices as a very young man. He took a road less-traveled for a teen, immersing himself in the rigors of classical guitar study and obviously earning some artistic capital in the process. Like John Mayer, Hootie & the Blowfish and Dashboard Confessional, there's an intellectual maturity to his brand of radio-ready pop which is the Holy Grail sought by every teenager with a guitar. - Minor 7th Acoustic Guitar Magazine


Justin Klump isn’t the type of musician to sit around and wait for things to happen. A little more than 2 years ago, the Portland-based singer-songwriter quit his job to pursue music full-time. After 2 years of developing his career on his own, he is on the cusp of releasing his first full-length album Thousand Mile Dream. Built around his sophisticated guitar playing and acoustic folk-pop tendencies, the 11-song album is filled with solid musicianship, honest lyrics and refined songwriting.

The grandson of a Symphony conductor, Justin was raised with a respect for music, and a love for performing that is undeniable when watching him in concert. Whether playing solo, or with his band, at the core of Justin’s live show is a “certain mastery of the guitar”. “Music has always been in my family, it’s such a part of who I am. I’d done music since I was born, but when I started playing the guitar and writing songs, the pieces fit. I knew what I had to do with my life.” - Valslist.com


Who: Vancouver, Wash., singer-songwriter and finger-style guitarist. The Washington state native has played guitar since he was 15. In the past six years he has performed at clubs, theaters, festival and colleges across the U.S. and shared stages with such artists as Matt Nathanson, Tyrone Wells and Ari Hest.

Sound: A student of classical guitar, Klump has fused folk, pop and rock with funky beats and soulful melodies, drawing comparisons to Dave Matthews, Damien Rice and Nickel Creek.

News: Klump is featured on the EarSnacks compilation CD. Jason Mraz, John Mayer and Marc Broussard are among the other artists previously featured on EarSnacks CDs. Klump's song "No More Decembers" recently was voted by listeners to be included on KINK-FM's "Plug-in Portland" CD to be released this summer.

Quote: "Some people say I'm quiet as a person and unassuming as a musician; others say that I'm not quiet at all in either respect," Klump says on his Web site. "I think the most important thing for you to know about me right off the bat is that I really love music and believe wholeheartedly in the music that I am creating."

Releases: "All This on my Mind" and "Something for September" Klump recently finished recording several new songs in Los Angeles with producer and cellist Matt Fish, who has worked with Nathanson and Alejandro Escovedo. The songs will be featured on Klump's upcoming album, "Thousand Mile Dream".

Where to Listen: justinklump.com, myspace.com/justinklump and myspace.com/penpadproductions

Next Show: Friday at 9pm, Q Cafe, 3233 15th Ave W. Also performing are Jeff Greer (8pm) and Rory Corbin (8:30pm). Doors open at 7:30pm. Phone: 206-352-2525. Admission: $7. All ages welcome.

- Gene Stout - Seattle Post-Intelligencer


Discography

Thousand Mile Dream LP (2008)
Los Angeles Sessions EP (2007)
Something for September EP (2006)
October Sessions EP (2004)
All This on my Mind LP (2002)

Photos

Bio

Justin Klump isn’t the type of musician to sit around and wait for things to happen. A little more than 2 years ago, the Portland-based singer-songwriter quit his job to pursue music full-time. After 2 years of developing his career on his own, he is on the cusp of releasing his first full-length album Thousand Mile Dream. Built around his sophisticated guitar playing and acoustic folk-pop tendencies, the 11-song album is filled with solid musicianship, honest lyrics and refined songwriting.

Thousand Mile Dream opens with the anthemic “Someday Soon”; whose lyric “don’t try so hard, cause you will find it someday soon” captures the theme of the record, and even more so, of Justin’s life. The song, written following a conversation on an airplane, is a love-song about letting things, as opposed to forcing them to happen. In listening to the album, it’s obvious that as a musician and songwriter, Justin is not forcing anything.

The grandson of a Symphony conductor, Justin was raised with a respect for music, and a love for performing that is undeniable when watching him in concert. Whether playing solo, or with his band, at the core of Justin’s live show is a “certain mastery of the guitar”. Portland Classic Guitar declared Justin’s show to be “Stunning” and “Unforgettable!” and Entertainment World exclaimed “Here’s a young man whose voice and guitar play will knock your socks off!”

At the heart of these performances is a 25 year-old who is earning the respect of audiences across the country. Having played such venues as Qwest Arena in Boise, Hotel Café in Los Angeles and Aladdin Theater and Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Justin is distinguishing himself as a musician worth paying attention to. Logging thousands of miles driving and flying throughout the country, he has shared the stage with such notable acts as Everclear and Matt Nathanson.

In favor of a self-diagnosed need to perform, Justin has no intention of stopping anytime soon. “I want to get to a point where I can tour eight to ten months of the year and play constantly,” he says. “I love performing”. Not content with waiting on anyone else to build his career for him, Justin has built his career on his own because of a dream that originated when he started playing the guitar at 15. “Music has always been in my family, it’s such a part of who I am. I’d done music since I was born, but when I started playing the guitar and writing songs, the pieces fit. I knew what I had to do with my life.”

“The industry is hard, but when you’re on stage and you feel really good about what you’re putting out there and what people are giving back to you, it’s a wonderful payoff. It’s what makes all the frustrating feelings worth it.” On the brink of releasing his first full-length album, it’s clear that Justin is doing what he’s supposed to with his life. And, if you were to ask him, he’d tell you he’s doing it because he has to.