Because of You
Justin Jeffre is famous internationally as a member of the Grammy-nominated American adult contemporary boy band 98 Degrees, along with brothers Nick and Drew Lachey, and Jeff Timmons. They have sold more than 10 million records and enjoyed major hits with songs like “Because of You,” “The Hardest Thing,” “This Gift” and “Give Me Just One Night” (Una Noche). They received their Grammy nomination for the song “Thank God I Found You,” a collaboration with Mariah Carey and Joe. Previously, Jeffrey and his group had a popular duet single called “True to Your Heart,” with Stevie Wonder. Locally, Cincinnati, Ohio-based Jeffre is known for his political activism and participation on independent media projects. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Cincinnati in 2005, and in 2007, the supporter of the Southwest Ohio Green Party entered the race for Cincinnati City Council, but only received 1.7% of votes cast. He is the co-founder of The Cincinnati Beacon, a long standing political blog in Cincinnati that recently made the switch to a news paper.
Childhood and Family:
Justin Paul Jeffre was born on February 25, 1973, in Mount Clemens, Michigan. He was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, along with future bandmates Nick and Drew Lachey, and attended the School for Creative and Performing Arts, where he discovered a love for music. After high school, he enrolled at the University of Cincinnati, in which he majored in History and Political Science.
Justin Jeffre is known by the nicknames droopy, Big J and JJ.
Candidate of Mayor of Cincinnati
Justin Juffre, who once worked as a busboy, a dishwasher and a valet, started performing with Nick Lachey in high school, but did not considered a career in entertainment until at college. Together with Nick, he sang in a band called The Avenue during college before joining Jeff Timmons in a newly-formed group called 98 Degrees, after getting a call from Nick. Another member is Nick's brother, Drew.
After struggling for a year in Los Angeles, 98 Degrees scored a contract with Motown records, during the time the group made distinction for being the only second white group to be signed in the history of the legendary label, and released a self-titled debut in 1997. Thanks to the gold song “Invisible Man” and the second single “Was It Something I Didn't Say,” the album went gold and subsequently boosted the group's popularity abroad.
Juffre with his three bandmates next left Motown for its parent company, Universal Records. Their second album, “98 Degrees and Rising,” was released in 1998 and gained the four boys major prominence when it was certified 4x platinum by RIAA. “Because of You” became the group's first major hit and received platinum certification. The next single “The Hardest Thing” went gold and peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. The group also achieved additional fame with their appearance in the 1998 animated movie “Mulan” and by performing a duet with labelmate Stevie Wonder in the song “True to Your Heart.”
Their mounting career was further established in the following year with the release of the Christmas album “This Christmas,” which produced the Top 40 single “This Gift” and went platinum a month after its release. They collaborated with Mariah Carey and Joe in the single “Thank God I Found You,” which became a No. 1 hit on Billboard Hot 100 and stayed on the position for a week. The song also brought 98 Degrees a Grammy nomination in the category of Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.
A new album called “Revelation” was launched in September 2000, after the first single “Give Me Just One Night” (Una Noche) reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and went gold. The album earned double-platinum certification and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. The album also spawned the top 40 singles “My Everything” and “The Way You Want Me To.” Following an appearance at Madison Square Garden in part of show to celebrate Michael Jackson's 30 years as a solo artist in 2001, 98 Degrees released “The Collection” in 2002, a compilation album with the new single “Why (Are We Still Friends)”. It was also in 2002 that the group decided to take hiatus. At that point, the group had sold more than 10 million records and scored 12 singles. They reunited in 2004 to sing on Nick & Jessica's “Family Christmas” TV special.
During the break, Jeffre returned to Cincinnati, Ohio, and started getting more involved in his community. In 2005, he independently ran for mayor of Cincinnati, but only collected one and a half percent of the total votes. In September, 2005, 98 Degrees rejoined and performed together at Club Purgatory in Over-the-Rhine to support Jeffre. Jeffre is an advocate of campaign finance reform, instant-runoff voting, and proportional representation, and actively participates in the Southwest Ohio Green Party.
Along with citizen watchdog and council candidate Michael Earl Patton and fellow activist Jason Haap (aka The Dean of Cincinnati”), Jeffre established the Cincinnati Beacon, a grassroots multi-media project that now includes a monthly print paper. The Beacon features investigative reporting, video interviews with local politicians, work news and alternative views of what is happening around Cincinnati. With the Beacon, Jeffre has assisted to re-invent protagonism journalism for the 21st century. In addition, Jeffre has had important role in organizing the NAACP's broad coalition to put the jail tax on the ballot.