North Shore musician performing at Boston Calling after overcoming battle with addiction

BOSTON — A musician who battled drug addiction while growing up on the North Shore of Massachusetts is slated to perform at this weekend’s Boston Calling festival.

Justin Clancy, 29, of Peabody, says his battle with addiction started as a kid and that all of his trials and tribulations led him to this dream gig.

“The first time I ever used a drug, I was probably 12 years old,” Clancy said. “It went from pills, to the harder things. The next thing you know, I’m 18, 19 years old, and I’m an intravenous drug addict.”

Clancy added, “As a kid, I was chronically misunderstood. I think I loved music so much because it spoke for me. You know what I mean? They said those feelings that I was feeling that I couldn’t really put into words. That’s why I started writing my own songs.”

Clancy says his first song was about his father going to prison.

“A lot of the writing came from a place of frustration and depression,” Clancy said. “I remember the feeling of gratification that it gave me, getting that out and putting that on paper.”

Clancy says his song “Slide” is the one that put his name on the map of the musical world.

“I was probably 16 years old at the time. We did a music video for it...I put it out and it got tens of thousands of views,” Clancy said. “I was just a child. Like any rational child, I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to drop out of high school and I’m just going to do this.’ As that progressed so did my addiction.”

Clancy says he lost dozens of friends to addiction, ultimately leading him to the path of soberness. He’s been clean since December 2013.

Clancy has played over 60 shows in two different countries in the last two years but Boston Calling has been his ultimate goal.

“It’s crazy to think that every battle that I’ve fought, every war internally and externally that I’ve had to endure, and all the pain and the pressure, all leads up to this 30-minute set at this festival that I’ve always dreamed of playing in,” Clancy said.

If you’re heading to Day 1 of Boston Calling on Friday, you can catch Clany performing at 4:05 p.m. on the Orange Stage.

You can check out all of Clancy’s work here.

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