How does the chain of connections start? Well, Connections.Media picks someone we feel drawn to hold space for. Like anything, it is a feeling in your gut, something you just have to reach out and begin. Then we follow the journey from there, as one person picks the next, based on the conversation that took place on that day, in that moment. After 5 conversations a theme reveals itself, and a chain is complete.
Follow this theme of "COMMUNITY"
Town of Birth: Florence, SC
Occupation/Job/Life Purpose Work: My band, SUSTO, that I started in 2013. It’s my full time thing. I love every part of it, making & performing music, traveling, and planning. It’s a small business that I love running and never feels like work. Even when it’s tough, there’s always a silver lining somewhere because it’s rock-n-roll.
“I look forward to stepping out on stage because as soon as you walk out, and you hear the roar of the crowd, and you hit the first note, you’re just IN it then. And you may have some issues - you may break a string or something - or you MAY play the best show of your life - but you’re in it. And you can’t get out until it’s over.”
Becca and I have been friends, and collaborators, for a while now. I think she knows that I’m always interested to try a new thing or participate in a new project. I also think she cares about what I do and believes in me. I’m glad she did and honored to be a part of it, and be the starting point.
“I’ve found a really great community here because I’ve found a way to use what I can bring to the table to help my friends, when I can. BUT that also that happens vice-versa to me ALL the time. People like Wolfgang - who’s one of my great friends and our producer - knew that I didn’t have a lot of money, but invested his time in me and was like ‘okay, we can work out a deal.’ And John Kenney at the Royal American - whenever we’d finally get a CD recorded, he would play it all the time. And then, whenever I was like ‘man, I need to start touring,’ he was like ‘you go do your thing, we’ll take care of you. When you come back we’ll give you shifts.’ It’s just love between people and neighbors. It’s important to try and find that. Equally important is to also try and BUILD it.”
Justin Osborne defies stereotypes. He was raised in a Christian family in a small town in the South, but has since moved to Cuba and back, considered giving up on his music career, questioned his religion, and gotten married. In his own words, he is “part goth, part redneck, part atheist gospel singer, part stoner, part road warrior, part beach bum, all sh*thead.”
This wide variety of identities finds a cohesive voice in his music, and cultivates a community around him that finds wholehearted acceptance in his presence. His music is a place for people to feel heard, as different types of people can relate to each side of him.
The acceptance he gives off is not limited to his fans - despite his position as the lead singer of a successful band, he has a healthy appreciation for his friends and the community of people who helped him in the beginning. He makes a point of being there for them in return and acknowledging them at every opportunity.
“Sometimes people expect me to have some answers - and I don’t really have answers; I have problems just like they do. I’ll be in these situations where somebody will say something to me, and it’ll be something heavy, and I wish I had more, I wish I had answers... but a lot of times all you can do is just listen to a person, and give long hugs.
If you know somebody’s going through something really dark, or trying to make sense of something that just doesn't make sense, all I can do is embrace you and let you know that I hear you. I feel you. I’m hurting with you in that moment. Even if I don’t have any answers, or anything to say. I am here.”
What did you want to be when you were younger?
For awhile, I wanted to work in construction like my dad. But, even since I was a kid, I wanted to be a singer too.
Who is your greatest hero?
Chan Marshall (Cat Power) is my hero. I love her music, but also her heart for people all over the world.
When was the last time you were hopelessly lost? And what happened?
Just before I met my wife, I was in a spiral. She pulled me out of it. She gave me confidence to be better, and to BELIEVE in my own success. I don’t know if I’d be doing music at the level I am now, were it not for her.
What's your best story from your wedding?
My wedding was an incredible day all around. It was a whirlwind, so it’s hard to pick one memory, but I’d have to say walking out of the chapel with my wife, immediately after our vows. There were so many people we love there. My close friends were playing Mendelssohn’s wedding march on Electric Guitar & Rock Organ. It’s my favorite part.
What is the most adventurous thing you've ever done?
I once went skydiving. I’ll never do that again, if I can help it.
“So often you’re spending a lot of time doing your own thing, and following your own path. So, whenever I get in the situation where I can connect for a common goal - whether it’s a cause or creative project - it’s really special. I think you may not even realize sometimes how much you’re in need of some connectivity. But once you get it, you’re like ‘ah, man, that was incredible…”
James Hynes. James knows everybody, and he’s an interesting guy. I figure y’all will have some fun chatting. I also know that he’ll lead you to some other interesting characters.
“Sometimes you’ve got to go out and find yourself. It’s good to figure out who you are. And then go back to where you’re from. Because you have more to give at that point.”
Editor in Chief: Becca Finley
Article: Caralie Byrnes
Photos: Caitlin Billard
Stay tuned for the ‘Connections’ book coming out January 22, complete with all 55 Connections, and how they fit into the Charleston community. Brand new pics + quotes.