Possessed by a love for Los Angeles, musician Justin Chart embarked on a mission to create a definitive anthem for his native city — one worthy of the beauty and vibrancy he saw. Thus, after its conception and over 11 million YouTube views later, “Los Angeles the Song” has become a tribute that will withstand the test of time.
Accompanied by picturesque shots of the city’s beaches and a twangy guitar intro, Chart’s song erupts into a hymn of admiration for Los Angeles, “We are a winning team. Stars and the silver screen. We come from near and far. To be with the best. We’re Los Angeles. Los Angeles.”
Since the record’s release in 2012, Chart has created six more versions of the song, each accompanied by unique music videos featuring a wide array of musicians: “Los Angeles La Cancion,” “Los Angeles Dance Angeles,” Los Angeles Latin,” “Los Angeles Word,” “Los Angeles Voice of The World” and “Los Angeles A City Alive.”
In “Los Angeles Voice of The World,” Chart performs alongside 40 singers and three rappers hailing from all of Los Angeles’ 25 sister cities and three friendship cities around the globe. The cast sings in 28 different languages spanning six continents, spurring cross-cultural friendships and strengthening the city’s global relationships.
People who have heard the song — Angeleno or not — are moved by the powerful, positive message of the song and Chart’s irrefutable love for his city.
“I get comments from all over the world who see this video who see the video and think, ‘I want to come to L.A.,” Chart said. “I don’t show the darker side of L.A.; I don’t show gangs or any of that. I’m trying to pump up an uplifting image of Los Angeles.”
Chart, a singer-songwriter and music producer by trade, was born in Los Angeles to a musical family. Growing up, he played the piano, clarinet and saxophone and went on to study music at The School of Performing Arts in London.
Since its release, “Los Angeles the Song” has garnered widespread public praise and received numerous awards from high-ranking officials. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti presented Chart with an Artisan Appreciation Award in July 2014 and lauded his ability to capture “through song for people to enjoy and understand this passion for the city we all call home.”
Chart has also been recognized by City Council President Herb Wesson, Councilmen Jose Huizar, Tom La Bonge and Gil Cedillo. In February 2016, he was flown out to Washington, D.C. to receive a Statement of Accomplishment from U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. Most recently, the city council adopted his composition as an official part of Los Angeles’ history in May 2017.
“It’s been a great road and I’ve had a lot of people who have been very positive about [what I’m doing],” Chart said. “I’m going to continue on and make this song a part of our city.”
Currently, Chart is partnering with music director Tony Wilkins to produce “Los Angeles The Vision,” a new project that will consolidate some of the most powerful voices in Los Angeles in a unified message of pride, power and passion for the city.
With a total of 300 voices present, the song will feature three local gospel choirs from the First American Methodist Episcopal Church, the Los Angeles Mass Choir and West Angeles Church. “Los Angeles The Vision” will mark the seventh distinct version of Chart’s song and is set for release in time for the holiday season.
In the long term, Chart envisions a version of the song that will welcome global patrons at the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
To him, the recognition and positive support he has received mean more than money ever could.
“I’m doing this because I’m a native and I love the city and I want to do something good,” Chart said.