As the founder and CEO of State Steal Music, Justin Higgins his heart and soul has always had been dedicated to the love of music and TV. Just like every other teenager, Higgins was yet to find his true passion but little did he know one summer would change everything about him as a person and make him the star that he is today.
Sadly, his father passed away when he was only in his early teens. It was no doubt a depressing time for this young boy. His mother insisted that he spend the summer away from their home in Alabama. Justin’s journey began when he went to stay with his brother who was working on creating music videos in New York City. It wasn’t long before he found himself completely beady-eyed on his older brother’s work and wanted to give it a shot himself.
He managed to get his hands on his first-ever music-related paid internship as a production assistant on the set of the music video for the song “Y’all Can’t Deny It” — a collaboration between rapper Fabolous and Nate Dogg. It would be safe to say that the young man hit a jackpot right off the bat. This is the point in his journey when he realized he had discovered his life’s zeal and fell in love with the idea of making music and entertainment. What a magical, magical moment in his life!
From that time on, Higgins went on to take multiple summer internships in the music industry where he learned everything from top to bottom about the inner workings of some pretty well-known record labels. During these internships, he worked alongside producers that are prominent in the industry which helped him quickly adapt to the environment and the nature of the field he has given his heart to. Although the man has a wide range of the names of eminent producers and record labels penned down on his resume. Background Records – at the time, home to Aaliyah, Timabaland, Magoo and Toni Braxton – and TVT Records prove to be the ones that shine through the most.
For those of you who do not know, the last one on our list was actually the largest independent record label of the entire United States at the time. Several famous artists called this label their home including Lil Jon and The East Side Boyz, Yin Yang Twins, Jackie O, 2.1.3 and who does not know Pitbull? Justin was not just lucky enough to get to wherever he went; it was his talent, skills and curiosity that led him to what he has become today. It must have taken time, patience, courage and a lot of learning but he kept on going every single day; working and trying.
The then aspiring producer from Alabama then packed his bags and left for Atlanta to intern at BME Recordings which was the company owned by Lil Jon. His workplace at the time had Trillville, Lil Scrappy and Crime Mob making hits after hits under the same roof, but this was only until he went to work with the Grammy award winning songwriter and music producer Bryan Michael Cox. As mentioned above, this was not only sheer luck; he was and still is one of the most talented people in the industry because of his hard work and dedication towards his passion. His experiences only added on to the talents he has and gave him a good level of insight he still carries with himself today.
Justin refused to stop just at the internships. Starting out as an ordinary intern, he gradually yet surely became a music business executive; not only that, he also earned himself a big name in the industry. He saw success early on in his career when he signed as a producer in his very own music publishing company and they made a strike on their very first track – the remix of “Ain’t I” by Yung LA, T.I and Young Dro became a top 50 hit in the year 2009. The track spent a good 19 weeks on the Hot Billboard charts, peaking at #47 on US Billboard Hot 100 which is not so bad for his debut as a producer but that is certainly not all. It was at a whopping #7 on the Billboards R&B/Hip Hop Songs Chart. Now that’s what we call doing the most on the very first attempt! How cool is that? Also after the success of this track, he has been acing the latter ones as well.
The man is a firm believer in expanding one’s horizons. For that reason, Higgins did not only excel in the music side of entertainment. He also went on to dig the flag of his success in the television part, going on to engrave his name on the big screens as a state manager and a go-to person for networks such as Netflix, VH1, FOX, TBS, BET, CBS, CMT and MTV. With that, he has shown his skills at high profile events like the VMAs. He really proved he is the jack of all trades when he came up with the solution to the complaints of people about a need for cost effective music scenes for stage performances. That is where State Steal Music Library came into being and saved the day for many events!
State Steal Music Group currently provides urban music for the film, TV and advertising industries. Moreover, it has over 25 composers making innovative music under its name. Justin’s job is to license their creations out on a non-exclusive basis, splitting royalties with producers when their music is synced. Their placements include WETV, MTV, ESPN and more. Music for content can be downloaded RIGHT NOW from their website with this link: www.statestealmusic.com
Now, he has been a part of both the worlds for over 20 years. He never stopped learning, did not believe in giving up and always gave himself room to grow. At one point, he even merged the best of music and TV together to create something bigger and better when he saw the need. Justin Higgins’s story will always be an inspiration for many. From a regular old teenager working as an intern to a one-of-a-kind business executive, he showed the world that there are endless possibilities out there when you are willing to try. The entrepreneurial spirit within him was always clear, but to go on and actually achieve what he has is something worth talking about!
Edited by Brandy Spears @theebeelee