With two tours and over 250 performances under his belt, GOAT, born Justin Griffith, has been relentlessly building an independent movement since 2005. This elementary music teacher hails from Dallas, Texas, and represents “The Intelligent South”, bringing soulful indie music laced with melodic and poetic lyricism. PegasusNews.com states, “Each of his songs takes on its own distinct flavor, pulling from varied musical and lyrical sources.” When writing and recording, GOAT (Grades Of Absolute Truth) is a focused musician carefully crafting each phrase to perfection. On stage, he immediately attracts his audience with an inviting, endless energy by combining singing with rhyming, instruments with live looping, and multi-media visuals. Some refer to him as the illegitimate child of promiscuous genres. Some name him one of Dallas’ top independent artists. After checking out his credentials, no one can deny the work ethic of GOAT. Past releases include We Rise Up (2011), Mileage: Retuned (2011), Mileage (2009), The Four Track Sessions: Volume 1 (2009), Dallas Got Next: The Mixtape (2007), and Absolute Truth (2006). He is currently in the studio recording an extremely insightful project entitled senseLESS, which highlights the abuse of our five senses.
IAA: What is your musical background?
GOAT: I started playing guitar when I was 12, so my journey into creating music started there. For years, I played guitar, bass, and sang backup vocals in rock, blues, and metal bands. After several of my groups split up, I began experimenting with producing my own music and built a small home studio set-up. Then I began focusing on more complex rhyme schemes in my poetry and lyrics, which evolved towards hip hop. Since I knew I wanted to build a career in music, I desired to learn more. I studied audio engineering and music production at The Recording Workshop in Chillicothe, Ohio. Then I studied Classical Voice at The University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, where I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Music. After I developed my sound by independently releasing projects and performing constantly, I realized that my material had elements of multiple genres due to my love for various types of music.
IAA: Why do you want to record and release your own music?
GOAT: I don’t want to record and release music; I HAVE to. I would go so far as to say I’m addicted to it and would go through a constant withdrawal if I put it down. It’s a form of therapy for me, a needed outlet to help me cope with my thoughts. That’s my selfish answer. My selfless answer is this: I believe that my calling is to influence people’s lives in a positive way and make people think deeper, so I accomplish that through music.
IAA: What are your songs about?
GOAT: My life experiences, your life experiences, struggle, confusion, relationships, hunger, anger, frustration, hypocrisy, partying, making mistakes – I could go on, but let’s just say it covers a lot of ground. With each project, I like to have a good balance of content, so you can’t get bored.
IAA: Who is your fan base directed towards?
GOAT: I’ve seen 4 year olds singing my hooks and I’ve had 60 year olds buy a CD from me, so the age range is wide. My music attracts listeners that like to dig deeper than the surface, people that enjoy hearing musical stories with messages. At the same time, the catchy melodies can get stuck in anyone’s head.
IAA: Who are your musical influences?
GOAT: I’ve been influenced by everyone from Lupe Fiasco to Chamillionaire to Brandon Boyd (Incubus) to Stevie Ray Vaughan to Trace Adkins to Edgar Allan Poe. At this particular moment, my main lyrical influences are Brother Ali, Cee-lo, and Grieves. Brother Ali is one of my favorite humans on the planet. His lyrics speak to me like no one else’s and I appreciate the genuine truth that he speaks and maintains in his music. Cee-lo is quite possibly my favorite artist of all time. His versatility is untouchable by anyone else and for an artist like me, that’s important. Grieves is one of my favorite writers and I admire his independent work ethic.
IAA: How would you describe your music to people?
GOAT: It’s soulful indie hip hop – meaningful and insightful lyrics, live instrumentation with a homegrown feel from “The Intelligent South”. My music is the illegitimate child of promiscuous genres.
IAA: What makes you stand out from other artists?
GOAT: You can’t stuff me into a box. I’m not afraid of blurring boundaries and I don’t believe in fitting into a category. You never know what to expect with me. At performances, you may see me rock with instrumentals or just an acoustic guitar and mic. You may experience visuals, a live band backing me, or a live looping set with multiple instruments and toys. One second I’m aggressively rapping and the next I’m singing a soulful melody. I’ll do what the music calls for.
IAA: What are some upcoming projects you are currently working on?
GOAT: I’m finishing up the writing process for my upcoming release senseLESS. It’s a project that I’ve been working on with producer, musician, and long-time friend – Justin “Double J” Jones. All of the songs are based on the abuse of your 5 senses – sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch, but there’s a lot more to it than that. To build a bank of inspiration to write lyrics from, I decided to design and put myself through a 40-day cleanse. I did obvious things like not drink any alcohol and diet restrictions, but I also documented how many times I visually admire women, didn’t allow myself to hug people, watch movies, listen to the radio or CDs, and some other wild stuff. If you wanna see how I did, I graded myself here – http://musicbygoat.com/senseless-cleanse-overall-success/ Then I designed five 48 hour experiments to deprive my senses – I attempted to drown out 1 sense at a time. For example, I blindfolded myself for 48 hours during the sight experiment. I documented the whole thing here – http://musicbygoat.com/phase-2-of-the-senseless-cleanse/ I’ve decided to wait to complete the final and most difficult experiment closer to the release – more details to come.
IAA: What are your career goals? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
GOAT: My ultimate goal has always been to make a living from music. In a sense, I’ve accomplished that through teaching and income from releases and performing. I intend to continue stepping up that ladder of success by building a larger regional and national following through regular performances and creative releases. In the next 10 years, I have goals of national touring, product placement, songwriting for specific purposes (for example: movie soundtracks, educational songs), and building an indie label that houses artists that I believe in. I also see 2 of my endeavors building a huge amount of momentum and gaining attention from sponsors/media. One of those things is a non-profit organization I started in 2008 called H4, which stand for Hip Hop Helps Heal. We throw two benefit shows annually to aid specific concerns of the community. At this point, we’ve already raised and contributed thousands of dollars to organizations, such as the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Genesis Women’s Shelter, Toys For Tots, American Lung Association, and National Breast Cancer Foundation. The other movement that I’m involved in is DFW Cypher, which sheds light on the lyrical talent we have in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex.
IAA: How can your fans access your music and contact you?
GOAT: You can find out more about my music, videos, and show calendar at musicbygoat.com. Sign up on my newsletter to receive info on upcoming events, free downloads, and exclusive offers. If you want to drop me a line, ask a specific question, or book me for an event or house concert, send a message through the contact page of my site.