Performer remembers mom’s influence

Although being involved in music was initially something Astoria resident Justin Bohr was “forced” to do, he now wants to do it “whole heartedly.”

“My mom plays the piano and I guess I always sang around the house because it just seemed right,” said Bohr, who grew up in New Jersey.

Bohr said that his mom made him sing in church and join a community theater group. His sister was also involved, so he said in a way he was also following in her footsteps.

“I was forced into all that stuff and I ended up liking all of it after I realized it could help me with the ladies,” he joked. “But that took me a long time.”

Bohr, who got his first guitar when he was 12, played in bands. He and his band mates in Sly Caps were on MTV’s “Made,” a show that uses coaches to help others try to reach their goals. Their coach worked with them to prepare for a battle of the bands contest.

The band was on the show again last summer as coaches assisting a girl who wanted to be a singer/songwriter.

After Sly Caps broke up, Bohr began focusing on being a songwriter. He eventually enrolled in the songwriting program at Berklee College of Music.

As a member of a group, Bohr felt he was “riding on the coattails” of others since he wasn’t really writing more than a couple of songs at that time. He said he wanted to express himself through his songs.

Although Bohr said “there’s nothing cooler than having an audience member be with you in that moment” while performing a song, he said he wants people to take away what they feel from the song, and not necessarily what he’s feeling.

“I’m a storyteller kind of guy,” Bohr said of his songwriting, which he has been doing for about eight years now.

Bohr, who also plays the harmonica, now performs in cafes in Queens and Manhattan. Recently, he was a finalist in the Waltz-Astoria’s Ultimate Singer Songwriter Contest.

Some of Bohr’s songs can be found on iTunes. However, he has his sights set on doing a full-length album, which he hopes to record over the summer and release next year. Before he does that, Bohr has some steps he wants to take.

“I still think I’m figuring out what I really sound like,” Bohr said. “I think I’m hitting on it now.”

Bohr, who also writes for children’s theater, also said he needs to come up with a “strong package of songs.”

“I need to be able to play music for people and sustain my life on it,” Bohr said.

Creating the album isn’t all Bohr is interested in doing. When it comes to Bohr’s ideal job, he said it he would love to be involved with a show that would let him combine his many interests, ranging from writing kids’ music to making puppets to building sets.

“I like to be creative in many different ways,” he explained.

On Tuesday, March 1, Bohr will perform at Googies in Manhattan at 9:30 p.m.

For more information on Bohr and his music, find him on Facebook.com.


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