Justin Champagne

Born and raised in south Louisiana, Justin Champagne makes genre-bending music rooted in the sounds, stories, and swampy swagger of his home turf. It's a soundtrack for Louisiana's small towns and muddy backroads — a gumbo of hip-hop, country, hook-heavy pop, and hard rock, glued together by a hometown hero who raps and sings not only about his own experience, but also about the country lifestyles of his neighbors in the Deep South and beyond.

Years before viral hits like "BackRoads" and "Sun Goes Down" racked up millions of streams, Justin grew up in New Iberia, Louisiana. His father passed away when he was six years old, leaving his mother to juggle two different jobs to help provide for the family. Her tireless work ethic inspired Justin, who started recording his first songs as a teenager. Meanwhile, the loss of his father — an amateur musician who played and sang guitar — shaped his own approach to music. Determined to chase down the creative milestones that would have made his Dad proud, Justin began making music that was diverse and driven, collaborating with multi-platinum rapper Kevin Gates one minute and recording his own pop-influenced songs the next. 

Everything changed in 2016, when Justin Champagne wrote "Sun Goes Down." A breakup anthem filled with hip-hop beats, countrified guitar riffs, soaring vocal hooks, and rhythmic rapping, "Sun Goes Down" was the first song to embrace the full range of Justin's musical tastes. By combining a variety of different sounds together, he created something new: a boundary-breaking genre that showcased not only the depth of his influences, but also his versatility as a songwriter, storyteller, vocalist, and rapper. Unsurprisingly, the song became a hit, earning more than a million listens on Spotify and laying the foundation for a unique, trendsetting career. 

"Why do people need to stick to just one genre?" Justin asks. "I want to do it all at once, writing country songs with pop hooks where I can rap. I just put everything into one big pot and start cooking. People call it 'country-rap,' but it's just music, man. I wouldn't want to call it anything else."

Champagne's full-length debut, Small Town Sentiments, was released in 2018. Tracks like "Beers" and "In Them Jeans" became fan favorites, introducing a growing audience to Justin's sound. Things accelerated once again in 2019, when Justin teamed up with hip-hop artist Gabe G to record the wildly-popular "BackRoads." A tribute to rural living and the great outdoors, "BackRoads" earned Justin a dedicated following not only on Spotify, but also on YouTube, where the song's music video — shot in the mud bogs, fields, lakes, and country lanes of his home state — amassed 5 million views during its first year. The song was an anthem for small-town residents across America, but it was personal, too, grounded in the experience of a musician who has always preferred country roads to city streets.  

"There's always something to do here, especially if you head to the outskirts of town," says Justin, who still lives in southern Louisiana. "I grew up four-wheel riding, fishing, and being outside. There's a lot of country out there, and that's why my songs sound the way I do."

He may be sticking to the backroads, but Louisiana's newest export is going places. "Lasso" is a stomping single built for dance floors. "God Damn" is a hard-hitting juggernaut with a hip-hop beat and a rock & roll chorus. "Number to Heaven" — inspired by Justin's father, whose death decades ago left a permanent hole in his son's life — is a bare-boned ballad about loss and love, accompanied by a video that's every bit as moving as the song itself. One of the most emotional songs in his catalog, "Number to Heaven" shines a spotlight on Justin Champagne's voice, proving that his slower songs pack just as hefty a punch as his revved-up bangers.

"Since I was a kid, music is all I've wanted to do," says Justin. "I know my dad had the music in him, too. I want to be something special for him, and for me. I want to live the life he envisioned for me."

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