Musicians Of Queens: Dominic San Juan

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Dominic San Juan’s power and performance comes from his expressive singing. With a soulful vocal delivery and an impressive baritone, he uses his gifted voice to belt out songs about love, heartbreak and his own experiences.

San Juan, who is from Woodside, began singing at the age of 12 and never looked back. As he tried to discover his own voice throughout his life, he found that the answer came from giving his songs a personal touch. By meaning every word that he writes and sings, San Juan always comes off as genuine, no matter if the material is positive or negative.

“I always write from personal experience, and from as honest a point of view as possible. It’s hard to deliver a line if I don’t believe in it,” San Juan said. “I like writing about anything I’m going through, especially if I’m emphatic enough about it in ‘real life.’”

The singer had tried to break into music for years, but struggled with being told “no” at every corner growing up. In 2005, his passion outweighed his doubts and he started to pursue his dream.

“I reached quite a few low points that wound up galvanizing me into just doing it, come what may,” he said.

While San Juan’s songs are always personal and come from the heart, his songwriting process varies. He said he uses the Evernote journal application on his phone to jot down potential lyrics or ideas. In other scenarios, he will start with a pre-produced track and chip away at it until he finds the right feel and words for a song.

These writing methods helped him put together his first EP, “Double Negative.” Although many of the songs he chose for the project focused on darker topics, he said that they ultimately wound up as statements of who he is, what he wants and where he wants to be.

“I wanted it to be honest and intrinsically me,” he said. “’Hypocrite,’ for example, is kind of ironic because I’m negating the idea of personal hypocrisy by owning up to it and concluding with a personal affirmation.”

Growing up in Queens, San Juan lived every day with diversity, which led to a bit of a culture shock when he realized that the rest of the country was not as accepting of the melting pot that is prevalent in the Borough. That realization was part of his struggle to find his own musical identity.

“We assign genres according to ethnotype, and there’s hardly any precedent for someone that looks like me to sound like me. It took me a long time to own my voice,” he said. “I’ve reached my boiling point and regardless of what anybody thinks or says, I’m committed to making music and writing songs.”

San Juan has started performing at songwriter open mics and plans to focus on his performance, working to assemble full sets. To keep up with the latest from the Woodside singer, visit www.dominicsanjuan.com, https://soundcloud.com/dominicsanjuan and www.facebook.com/dominicsanjuan.