Born in Suffolk, Virginia, this singer’s adolescence largely revolved around the church his family raised him within. “It was a very small country church—very old-school,” he states on his upbringing. “My mom couldn’t wear makeup or pants, I couldn’t go to movies, play any sports or watch TV.” Beyond his own father’s lead guitar playing in the congregation, this extended to his knowledge of popular music as well: “I didn’t know until later on that my dad was influenced by Prince and Jimi Hendrix.”

“I was the rebellious one that always had questions,” he continues while talking about his place in the church—and that rebelliousness eventually led him to be cast away at the age of 15, at which point he decamped to New York to pursue making music professionally. Hard work eventually led to signing a record deal with Eleven Seven Label Group, with Episode I’s four tracks coming from various recording sessions with Dave “Sluggo” Katz (Katy Perry, Neon Trees) over the past year. “I always say I have voices in my head where I collect sound,” Just Loud says while talking about the recording sessions. “I was using sound and music, not just one particular artist. The atmosphere that Dave and I created came so organically.”

Indeed, this album is the sound of Just Loud finding himself and who he wants to be—for himself, yes, but also for all those out there who find themselves without a voice, wishing they could finally get the courage to speak up. “I’m starting a riot,” he states passionately. “It’s time for all the people who have been manipulated, victimized, and challenged—I’m calling everyone together, back to the surface. Everyone tries to be so fucking cool, and I got sick and tired of trying to fit in. I want to tell people that you don’t have to do it alone. If I was able to discover my voice, you can do the same.” What’s more inspiring than that?