Justin Bernardez will make you rethink everything you think you know about music


To be honest, I know what music I like, and I don’t often take music suggestions from others. I like what I like, and it’s always worked for me. Very rarely have I ever felt that I was “missing out” on a singer or recently released music, but maybe I have been running too fast from the idea of stepping out of my comfort zone to enjoy the experience of a rising star, a voice who is new in town, if you will.

Justin Bernardez.

Like I said, I was fine with my music playlist before– it was like the John Mulaney of playlists; each listen is personal and individual, and you never feel like you’re lacking. But like a long lost friend who you’d forget the importance of, discovery and open-mindedness are aspects of music I had forgotten about. Leave it to Bernardez to force me to adventure down a trail I had very much preferred to avoid at all costs, only to end up on the coast of something stunning.

To start, Bernardez contrasts my typical favorite artists by having a completely different style and approach to music. I prefer pump-up music that only adds dashes of diversity into my playlists on occasion; you can pretty much bet that my playlists mainly consist of a Maggie Rogers vibe: a retro feel with poem-like lyrics and songs that paint a picture of quiet midnights by the lake.

But, Bernardez is anything but a peaceful view. He brings his all to every track through the passion that laces his voice and the heat behind the lyrics. It is obvious that I have overlooked the idea of emotion sustaining in the face of what you would call “rap music,” or as Bernardez describes it, “a mix between pop [and] R&B, with a little bit of turn-up in there.” It appears as if I was too stuck staring at the stars and sitting by my lakeside to realize that the sunset behind me is every bit as alluring.

That brings us to Bernardez’s most recent single, “Situations.” While his other music displays hints of Spanish, this track remains cut and dry with nothing left but his clear hard work and dedication. If you’re like me and tend to overlook music because it sounds more hardcore than you are on your worst day, then maybe you too have just happened to miss the messages that truly lie behind music like Bernardez’s.

According to Bernardez, “the inspiration for ‘Situations’ c[a]me from a group of negative people who believed my success would be non-existent or very short lived. I wrote this song as a reminder that my positivity and hard work will always take me straight to the top.”

Even though expressed in a way that I might have originally swiped past, his music maintains the same reliability that many often feel. And if his lyrics were not convincing enough of the passion that lies within his heart, his personality will instantly win you over. Lightheaded and joy-filled, he puts heart behind the lyrics, and a personality filled with passion that gives an entirely fresh meaning to the mind behind the artist.

Starting out in third grade, then to a high school band, then moving onto going solo and accumulating 41.4k on Instagram and over 30,000+ monthly listeners on Spotify, Bernardez is quite literally the definition of a “star on the rise.” And with music to back the voice and a personality that is purely delightful, he puts a whole new perspective on artists that are automatically written off as “too rigid.” In fact, when it comes down to it, he wants the same thing every artist wants: his fans to know how much he loves them and their support as well as to freely express himself. Both he already does with ease, and to that, I say kudos to him.

Following in line with Bernardez’s previously explained individuality is how talented of a singer he actually is. It appears as if I have been limited in the amount of “R&B” music I listen to because hearing his smooth voice on such an upbeat track truly took me aback. His voice is even more beguilingly displayed in his covers such as “Sucker” by Jonas Brothers featured on his Instagram. The diversity of his voice and musical abilities from genre to genre is obvious and speaks loud enough to his talent alone.

And for an artist that is just now receiving attention, his lyrics are far too superior. I’m sure we have all heard our fair share of lyrics that have been stretched so far you can see right through them. But what remains awing about Bernardez is his lyrics are clear cut with a clean line of thought.

Now, getting back to “Situations.” The song kicks off with an intro showcasing ominous single beats, only to drop when his voice abruptly cuts in with a pointed rhetorical question, “Why don’t you just give me a good reason?” The same beat from the beginning follows with his voice along the track, creating an echo effect occasionally to add emphasis on independent lines.

With a short transition from chorus to a verse that highlights his vibrato, swinging right back into his chorus—with even more force than the last time—he accomplishes a strong hitting performance in just the first two minutes.

Bernardez’s perfectly crafted witty lyrics roll one after another, creating a never-dulling effect throughout the entire song.

Ending with the same “tick tock” of a beat disappearing into the distance, Bernardez finishes his most recent single on a metaphorically high note and literally an impactful one. Adding yet another single to his growing list, we can only hope that this upcoming star will not be left out of the starlight.

To say the least, I’ll admit that I have been too quick to judge music that is “out of my realm.” It took someone like Justin Bernardez to sing his way into my heart and to prove that sometimes, the better view really is behind you.