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Song You Need to Know: Justin Stewart Cotta, ‘Little Things’

The latest single from creative powerhouse Justin Stewart Cotta, “Little Things” speaks to appreciating the small moments in life.

Sally Flegg*

As Justin Stewart Cotta unveils his latest single, “Little Things”, it’s become clear that even after years at the top of his game as a musician and creative, the best is yet to come.

It’s a little hard down to pin down Justin and categorise him in simplistic terms. A prolific artist, actor, poet, and songwriter, he’s the true definition of a jack of all trades. As a musician though, Justin’s been kicking goals for years. Not only did he serve as a a founding member of Memento, but he’s played in bands such as VAST, and toured with iconic names like Queens of The Stone Age and Ozzy Osbourne. Needless to say, his own musical journey is one that most could only dream of imitating.

In 2021, Justin unveiled his solo album, Melodies for Eulogies, receiving widespread acclaim in the process. Now, he’s back with another solo single, sharing “Little Things” today.

A heartfelt track that speaks to how it’s the titular “little things” that are the most important in both life and relationships, the song also comes accompanied by an equally-powerful music video, directed by Damon Gameau.

“At a time when gadgetry and quick fixes reign supreme, there was an initial temptation to do something slick and catchy with miniaturisation and greenscreen,” Justin says of the story behind the video. “But director and documentarian Damon Gameau (2040: Regeneration, That Sugar Film, Regenerating Australia) conceptualised a treatment I like to refer to as the “anti-video”. The concept? Filming real life couples sharing truthful moments of vulnerability with each other.

“Damon was immediately engaged by the intimacy of the lyrics, and rather than the video becoming an ego project for either of us, he pushed for organic and soulful storytelling. It meant the world for me to have Damon at the helm for the video, as we’ve been best mates for 25 years.”

“As we fragment more and more into isolationism and individualism, it feels as though the final frontier is quite possibly organic human connection,” he adds of the inspiration behind the clip. “Love and hope feel as though they are open acts of rebellion. With the video I’m doubling down on a promise I made to myself… to stop being an apologist for my vulnerability.

“The video is a return to innocence and explores the simple notion that the little things we share with each other end up becoming the most meaningful and memorable things. Like many of us, I’ve lost loved ones in the last couple years, and it’s those simple little moments with them that remain crystallised in my heart.”

Indeed, it’s a video that highlights the importance of the small moments that make up the most memorable times in life, yet it also holds a strong place in Justin’s heart, thanks in part to the level of diversity and representation present within the video.

“It’s no secret that there’s an ongoing struggle for visibility between conservatives and progressives,” Justin explains. “So for me, my favourite aspects of the video are its LGBTQIA+ representation, cultural diversity, and its unadulterated and uncensored vulnerability.

“Politics, as it informs social justice and equality, is never far from the surface for me as a songwriter. How politics cascades and influences personal politics has long been a concept I’m fascinated with. The tenderness in Little Things is as much a political action as taking to the streets. Vulnerability is the new edgy.”

In addition to the video, Justin has also committed to donating 100% of his income for these past two months to the World Central Kitchen, an important charity given the state of the world right now.

“Every cent of my income generated in Feb/March from Little Things will be directly donated to World Central Kitchen,” Justin explains. “This includes pre-order, pre-sales, sales across all platforms, as well as all income generated from streaming and radio play.

“World Central Kitchen are currently stationed in multiple locations along the border of Poland & Ukraine, providing healthy meals for tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees. In addition, WCK are risking their own safety to provide meals within Ukraine itself.”

Justin Stewart Cotta’s “Little Things” is out now.