Hi Josh, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Been so good! Thanks for having me!
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “This Is A New Song”?
Sure! “This Is A New Song” is the first song off my new album “Growing Up”. It is a four-on-the-floor party song that is written for my parents who inspired me to pursue music as a young kid. I remember writing songs as an elementary school student and making my own albums to put on cassette. I always wanted to be a singer and my parents always reminded me that if I worked hard and practiced, I could do it.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Now that I have two kids of my own, I am reminded of my childhood and how big the world was. I could have been anything I wanted to be and I chose standing on stage in front of an audience. My kids may choose to be a teacher or a doctor and I want to be as supportive as I can whatever they do.
The single comes off your new album Growing Up – what’s the story behind the title?
“Growing Up” is the second chapter in my family music journey. My first album “Young Folk” was a love letter to my kids to document and reflect on the early years of their life. Now a few years down the parenting road, “Growing Up” continues that story but digs a little deeper. The record talks about security, what to do when you’re feeling sad, the importance of loving others and how to say goodbye. Though aimed at the family, it’s a record for all of us, whether you have kids or not.
How was the recording and writing process?
I recorded most of the record at my home in Tennessee as well as in hotel rooms around the world. I ended up writing a lot of this record while on tour with my band NEEDTOBREATHE and would demo the songs on days off. A lot of those early demos turned into the final versions on the record. I played most of the instruments on it and then enlisted a few friends who can play way better than me to put the finishing touches on it. I love producing records and am so proud of how it turned out.
What made you want to seek for a new direction for this new musical endeavor?
I have always had a deep love and respect for family music. I grew up listening to folk music with my family and learned very early on the power of a song. I knew one day I wanted to go back to those early memories and create from that space. When I had kids of my own, it felt like the right time. Today’s music stretches genres and all ages are listening so why not create music intended for everyone, but is intentionally engaging to the youngest of listeners? I love making music for families and am honored to help carry the torch of some of the greats that have made beautiful music before us.
Was Americana always meant to be the genre you would go with or were you drawn into this particular style throughout the brainstorm process for this project?
I have a large poster of Bruce Springsteen in my studio and almost every day, I would walk downstairs and say, “What would Bruce do if he were making family music?” That filter of honesty and heart inspired the songs on this record and also the sound. I’ve always loved music that makes you feel like you can take on anything if you’re willing to pull up your sleeves and get a little dirty. Isn’t that what parenting is all about anyway?
What aspect of family did you get to explore on this record?
As my kids are getting older, I am learning how to express to them that I’ll always love them no matter what. Even if they make mistakes or fail, there’s nothing they can do to take away my love. This feeling of security is so important for anyone but its especially important to young people. We all want to feel loved and protected and I hope these songs are constant reminders to all that you are not alone.
Was family and the concept of growing up meant to be the main focus or it rather evolve into this?
I knew I was making another family album but had no idea it would be about the process of growing up. That is the beautiful thing about making a record. It kinda takes on a life of its own and ends up being what it wants to be. When I finished the songs, I honestly still didn’t know if it all made sense. It was only after months of stepping back and looking at it for what it was that I saw the thread that was woven through the whole project. I see so much of myself and our family’s story in these songs and I hope others will see a part of their story in the songs too.
How much does your own family and personal life serve as a source of inspiration for this album?
I am a very nostalgic person and I tend to look backwards at who I am today through the lens of my past. With my kids, I am able to see more into the future and watch them as they grow and reflect on how I’m growing too. My family is the mirror that allows me to see myself more clearly and keeps me striving to be a better husband, dad, friend, and person in the world.
Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
There is inspiration everywhere. One of the beautiful things about making music for young listeners is their sense of imagination. Everything is possible. It makes it really fun and an absolute honor to write and create in the family music space.
Any plans to hit the road?
I can’t wait to continue doing family shows with this record. It’s always fun to sing and dance with friends!