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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UA troubadour breaks away from the band

    	Kevin Brost / Arizona Daily Wildcat

	Justin Fanus, UA troubadour

    Kevin Brost / Arizona Daily Wildcat

    Justin Fanus, UA troubadour

    A stands for attitude

    R stands for rough

    T stands for talent, have you got the right stuff

    I’s imagination

    S is stimulation

    T is transformation

    Can you feel the vibration?

    Justin Fanus’s song “Artist,” as he croons it smoothly using only vocals and a guitar, describes everything he is as an artist. Fanus has been writing songs since he was five years old and picked up guitar upon entering high school. When he joined his first band, “The Daily Special,” he was admittedly not that good, but his shortcomings didn’t stop him. He continued writing until he found his niche in a band called “Diver City.”

    Diver City formed in 2009 and consisted of Fanus, Hector Sanchez, Dashiell Albrecht and Daniel Millstone. They chose the name “Diver City” because of their different backgrounds in life and in music. Their musical inspirations couldn’t be further apart, however — as Fanus described it, “one liked R&B, one liked metal and another liked more bro-type music.” Their goal was to make a new sound — something different, something Tucson had never heard before. And with that, they began recording an eight song EP titled Slipstream, in fall of 2010.

    The process was long and grueling, but slowly the guitar, drums and bass were recorded. The vocals, Fanus’ forte, took a little longer.

    He described himself as a perfectionist and said he wanted every note to be just right. In May 2011, while vocals and mastering of the album was still in the works, Sanchez died in a car accident. Although Sanchez was gone, the band still had a piece of him. As one of Hector’s friends put it, “We are so lucky his portion had already been recorded.”

    “After Hector passed away, you realize the fragility of human existence,” Fanus said. The EP was released on March 30, 2012, but the blow of Sanchez’s loss was too much for the band, and the members decided to go their separate ways.

    Fanus said he stopped writing music for about a year after Sanchez’s passing. Then, when the one-year anniversary of Sanchez’s death approached, Fanus said he was inspired to write a song just for him.

    But Fanus didn’t stop there.

    He realized that he had six years worth of music waiting to be recorded and released. He had compiled quite a few songs over the years that weren’t right for “Diver City,” and he had kept them to himself. Currently he’s working to release these songs on an album titled Before I’m Gone.

    “ ‘Before I’m Gone’ is going to be a collection of everything,” Fanus explains. “All the songs I wrote that had meaning for me, they were really connected to the things I was going through — from prom night to just being angsty.”

    He said his biggest inspiration has been Craig David, an R&B artist, but he finds inspiration in all genres. His sound is similar to Jason Mraz, as a lot of the time it’s just him and his guitar. It’s simple and beautiful, yet simultaneously deep and memorable.

    Though his solo work is a departure from the material he wrote for Diver City, he’s still the same musician underneath. “It’s different than Diver City’s sound. A lot of it is just me and my guitar, just like it always has been.”

    Follow us on Twitter @wildcatarts and follow Paige @WriteItPaige.

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