Being honest is sometimes a lot easier said than done. Joshua Radin has made a career of being honest and thoughtful in his lyrics and his live performances. Since 2004, Joshua has been making music for himself, his fans and shows like Scrubs. You may have seen Joshua perform on The Ellen Degeneres Show, The Tonight Show and Conan as well. Before he had chart-topping album releases and world-tours though, he preferred being behind-the-scenes of his creative projects. He started his career as a film writer and quickly evolved into a songwriter and performer.
“It took a good year of touring before I was really comfortable on stage. Now it’s a second home,” Joshua described the transition from being behind-the-scenes to center stage.
His newest album, The Fall is his seventh studio album to-date but his first self-produced. Joshua caught up with DuJour to discuss his fans, favorite venues and his most recent vinyl purchases.
How would you describe your sound?
I went through a period of music adolescence after my first couple of records. Most kids growing up got to do the whole “garage-band” thing where they just made a bunch of noise and experimented. I never really went through that so it was a natural progression that after I released a couple of records of essentially lullabies, I would try my hand at the electric guitar and a full band. As much fun as I had with that, I noticed that my fans longed for a more soothing sound from me. I realized that I can play rock and roll in the comfort of my own home with my friends. I don’t need to push it on m fans if that’s not what they want from me.
This past year I played my first solo shows ever. It was really fun but a bit lonely on the road. The shows themselves were really well received. I had complete freedom on stage so I made them as intimate as possible. I talked to the audiences and answered questions. The goal of that was to leave the stage and have the fans know me as well as they possibly could in that setting.
When did you start communicating with your audiences like that?
Ever since I started, really. I’ve always tried to keep a real open atmosphere with my audience. I try to write back on social media and all of that. I think my fans respond to my songs but also to me, as an honest person. They respond to the honest lyrics I write.
Are there any songs of yours that surprise you as being fan-favorites?
The biggest shocker I had came in Madrid, Spain. I played a song that was off my last album and it happened to be a song that I wrote for my ex. It was her favorite off the album. I was playing it for her that night in Madrid because I knew how much she loved it. All of a sudden I realized that everyone in the audience was singing the words. I was in total shock. Now I try and play that song more often!
Where do you find inspiration for your songs?
I take inspiration from my life. I write what I know. I generally inspired by stories of love- falling in love and falling out of love. I don’t ever set out to write a song. I just live my life and I spend a lot of time on the couch with the guitar, just chilling. I am about as chill as a person gets. I lead a very sedentary life. I love café culture, sitting with a book, people watching or eating and drinking or playing guitar. I’ll generally have a basketball game on mute on the television and I’ll be playing on my guitar.
What drove you to self-produce this album?
I had done six albums before with different producers and I had watched them every time and learned a lot. I thought I could do it and I wanted to try it. There was a lot of pre-production in my head before going into the studio. By the time we got in to record I had all my best friends with me and we were all inspired and ready to go. We made the whole record in five days. If you’ve got the right people in the room, it’s easier to make the right calls.
What is a band or artist that fans would be surprised to hear you listen to?
I don’t know… I know what you’re fishing for… a song that I’m embarrassed to admit I listen to. But, if I’m listening to it I love it and I wouldn’t be embarrassed of it. I do have quite the collection of jazz music and my music is far from jazzy. I’m actually building a vinyl collection now.
What was the most recent vinyl you purchased?
I just bought two. I bought Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall and the other was Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors. When it comes to vinyl, you’re buying classic records.