Justin Heskett started out in music the same way a lot of people do. The real difference is what he’s done with it. “I just started playing in church,” he says. “My preacher knew some guitar, and he taught me how to play. I’ve just been doing it ever since.” After high school he decided to see how far music would take him, and it got him all the way to Nashville. “I had some friends who lived in Nashville and told me I
should come down,” says Heskett. “I was like, ‘Hey, maybe I can move here and make some money and not have to get a real job like everybody else.’ ”
After moving to Music City he was quickly hired on to sing at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge on Broadway and was able to focus on music full time. When he wasn’t performing for tourists downtown, he’d be playing the songwriter’s nights at Tootsie’s in the Nashville airport or the bar’s Panama Beach location. While he was in Nashville, he tried to take his music further, but Music Row can be a difficult place to make a name for yourself.
“You’ve got to have somebody with a little bit of money that has high hopes for you that’ll push you, and I was just going off of me being the only one doing everything,” Heskett says. “I never got anything recorded in Nashville, but I did a lot of songwriting with a bunch of friends that I met down there.”
And though he was able to make a living playing music at full time like he wanted, playing in the same three places became repetitive after a few years, so Heskett moved back home to Campbell, Mo. He’s formed a band, The Justin Heskett Band, and together they’ve been playing throughout the state and have begun work on their debut record.
Until the album is complete, Heskett is happy just to be writing, performing and building a fan base in his home state. “We’re writing as many new songs as we can and sending them out to anybody who will listen to see if we can sell some songs or see if we can get some shows,” he says.
“We’re just getting out in the state, throwing our name out there and our songs and hoping that people will like them.”
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