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A Local Teen Looks Ahead to Music Stardom [Interview]

Justin Magnaye
Justin Magnaye

Justin Magnaye is a pretty typical high school freshman at High School South in Toms River. He’s involved in extracurricular activities and likes to participate in school theater productions. Oh yeah and, at only 14, he just released his debut album on iTunes.


As Justin gets ready to play “Patsy” in South’s production of “Spamalot” this weekend, I had a chance to chat with him about his budding music career:


When did you start to sing?

At the age of two, I was already singing “Summer of ’69″ by Bryan Adams and “To be With You” by Mr. Big.


At what point did you know that it was something that you wanted to do for a living?

I knew after performing a mini-solo song called “Only You” during our 4th grade chorus concert in Pine Beach Elementary School.


Was there one instance that you can think of that made you think that, rather than just for fun, this might be something that you could make a career out of?

When I won first place in Tween Idol when I was in 5th grade, I felt more encouraged to do singing and songwriting, simply because I enjoyed performing in front of the audiences. Connecting with the audience is something I am very proud of.

You also do theater at school, how did you get involved in that as well?

I got involved in theatre in elementary school when I scored my very first role as a prince in “Bullying Once Upon A Time” which was about fairy tale characters teaching kids that bullying is wrong at Pine Beach Elementary School.


Do you have a favorite show or role that you’ve done?

My favorite role by far is probably playing the role of Aladdin in “Aladdin” at Toms River Intermediate South. I absolutely loved performing on stage singing “A Whole New World”.


You mentioned to me that you’ve done some local talent competitions, do you plan to try out for some of the big national shows like American Idol or The Voice some day?

I am looking forward to auditioning in The Voice! Hopefully, next season.


You have an EP of your music on iTunes that was just released, how and when did you record the album?

I submitted one of my videos to American Anthem Records. A couple of weeks later, last August, I got a call back. Since I knew I was going to be busy in school, we paid a visit to St. Louis, MO and recorded my songs last September. I spent three days recording three original songs and a song cover from Green Day.


Do you write your own material?

Yes, I wrote the original songs on my EP when I was between 13-14 years old. Mostly expressing myself as a teenager. I want to express my feelings to the audience and so I write my own songs and arrangements. My producer tweaked it a little bit by putting other instruments in it and couple of wordings, but I did have the final say on if it’s good or not.


That’s pretty cool! How did you get signed to a record label?

I guess by luck. There are so many applicants and luckily, the producer liked my sound. He said I have a unique tone.


Who are some of your musical idols?

Bruno Mars is my number one idol. I also like Michael Jackson and Michael Bublé.


Looking ahead to, say, 10 years from now, where do you see yourself?

I’m hoping I’ll be a famous singer songwriter! I really would love to connect to people with my songs. Use it as their inspiration to bring positive vibes into their lives. If I can make it into someone’s heart with music, I know I have reached my goal!


That’s great! Good luck! Tell us a little about “Spamalot”, playing at South this weekend

There’s a show tonight at 8pm, and tomorrow (March 1), showtimes are 2pm and 8pm Tickets are $7.00 each available at the gate in Toms River High School South Cafeteria.


Spamalot Cast
Toms River South “Spamalot” Cast – Front row (L-R) Tiffany Thompson, Padraic McAtee Justin Magnaye. Back row (L-R) Matthew Sycle, Roland Lucas, Mark Schlepper


Great! Thanks for your time, Justin and good luck with your music career! Keep in touch with us and let us know how it’s going!

If you’d like to check out Justin’s EP on iTunes, just click here.

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