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St. Joe High School teen in the spotlight as both student and aspiring country musician

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The future is looking bright for a local teen who's aspiring to become a famous country musician.

He just signed an emerging artist contract with a record company in Nashville.

McCormick was born and raised in South Bend and is now a junior at St. Joe High School.

He hopes to build on the musical roots he’s formed as he works to develop his talent in Nashville’s country music scene.

As a student and aspiring musician, Justin McCormick is working hard to keep up his grades in the classroom, while also keeping his guitar and song skills sharp.

“It can be tough,” said McCormick. “Sometimes when I come home from Nashville it will be like 3 a.m and I’ll have to come to school the next morning, so it’s obviously hard, but it’s all worth it.”

His song “Running Back To You” will be on his EP released this spring.

Music has always been a family affair for Justin.

When he was little, he would spend a lot of time with his grandpa, who played steel guitar in a local band.

“After doing some basement sessions with him, he started taking me to clubs with him and I’d perform in between his band sets.”>

That’s when a dream of becoming a musician was born, but outside support hasn’t always been there.

He says he was bullied in grade school and was told he couldn’t become a singer. That only fueled his desire.

He’s now an emerging artist with PCG Universal, spending a couple days each month developing his style in Nashville.

“To really pursue a career in music, it’s not just about being able to sing or able to write songs -- it’s really about being able to relate to people and just be able to give them a good time and let them forget about their problems when I come to your show or even listen to your music," said McCormick.

Justin just recorded all of the instruments on his first single.

It was extra special because his grandpa was there to play the steel track for it. He is one of Justin’s biggest fans.

“Me and him joke around that are used to help him bring his equipment into gigs and now he’s my roadie,” said McCormick.

Justin is under contract for the better part of this year.

He hopes to grow as an artist as much as he can, so he can reach his ultimate goal one day.

“I saw Garth Brooks perform at Notre Dame,” said McCormick. “I was sitting in the stands I could literally feel the energy coming off the stage so I know one day I want to come back and sell out Notre Dame Stadium, too.”

McCormick will perform at Smith’s in downtown Mishawaka this Friday night at 7 p.m.

This summer, McCormick will be opening for Dylan Scott and the Josh Abbott Band.

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