Nz Music Month 2013: Justin Warren

Here at RUBY we love local music, so it's no surprise that we're excited about this year's New Zealand Music Month. With NZMM starting yesterday, we spoke to the rad Justin Warren, one of the majors in New Zealand music promotion right now, about some of his favourite acts.

Hey I’m Justin Warren, Promotions Director at New Zealand’s favourite major label, Universal Music. I have a small but noble team who manipulate media for the purpose of promoting our artists. I’d love to say that the music blog commentators are right (with all the major labels “chewing up” and “spitting out” of artists etc), but we are passionate about our artists, and we love going into battle for them. Besides, if I go to all the effort of chewing something up, I’m going to swallow it – It’s ‘eating 101’.


Image by Garth Badger

What song do you currently have playing on repeat?

I currently have ‘Still Into You’ by Paramore, ‘Uncover’ by Zara Larrson and ‘22’ by Taylor Swift on repeat. Plus I recently discovered ‘The Winners Takes It All’ by ABBA and it’s been getting a bit of a thrashing lately to be honest.

How will you be celebrating May Music Month?

I’m saving all my NZMM energy for Lorde’s first official sold out show on May 9th. (We missed out on tickets, boo!)

What are your top 5 favourite New Zealand artists and your favourite song of theirs?

1. Watercolours ‘Pazzida’

2. Split Enz ‘Message To My Girl’.

3. Street Chant ‘Pen Song'

4. Frase + Bri ‘8 Hour Crush’

5. Lorde ‘Bravado’


Chelsea Jade Metcalf of Watercolours

What's your best industry story that you can share with us?

When we took Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez to dinner at Cocoro, there was a really lovely family with two teenage kids seated across from us. The Mother eventually came over and very politely asked if Justin would say hi to her daughter (it was her birthday). Justin sat with the family for a while, took selfies on their camera and chatted to the girl. Then when the cake came out he stood up and lead the restaurant in a rendition of Happy Birthday. It was really cool. Then when the family left Justin yelled out “Hey, do you want a lemon?”, and threw the girl a lemon – it was so weird.

Which album release are you excited about this year?

Particularly excited to see what Lorde delivers us later this year. I’m also looking forward to albums from French Montana & Trinidad James, plus the new one from Drake.


Ella Yelich-O'Connor of Lorde. Image by Garth Badger

Must-see New Zealand concerts this year?

Rihanna. All three shows.