Behind the Music: Interview with Josh Stevens

‘I don’t look left or right to see what other artists are doing, I just do my own thing.’

Following his recent release ‘Hello Darling’, Los Angeles based singer-songwriter Josh Stevens chatted with Emmie Norton about his songwriting process, the importance of music, and his hopes for a sexism-free future.

Describe the Josh Stevens sound in no more than 5 words: Indie rock-pop classic song writing.

What are the biggest music/non-musical influences that impact your tracks? One of the biggest non-musical influences would have to be author Paulo Coehlo.  He wrote The Alchemist and many other books that I enjoy.

How have your previous experiences in the industry shaped you as a solo artist? Previous experiences have shaped my solo artist career in that I understand I don’t understand everything….. hahah! But to be honest, it has taught me to really just focus on what I am doing in the moment for my own purpose. Don’t look left or right and see what other artists are doing just do my own thing to see how far I can run the race.  

Turning to your new release ‘Hello Darling’, what can you tell us about the writing process and the story behind it? The writing process was done between Ikuma Matsuda and myself in Los Angeles, and the production team in Shibuya, Tokyo at Octave Music via zoom sessions. We then flew to Japan for the recording. I think we wrote the whole song in about an hour! I try to write extremely quickly, that way I don’t lose inspiration or energy. The song itself is about the first year of my daughter’s life and what it is like while traveling as a musician. It also details the hope for a better future without sexism for not only my daughter, but for all young women.

So what do you think people can do to prevent a world full of sexism? Try to adapt a mindset of non-judgment. Not on race, gender, politics or beliefs. Everybody is here for the sole purpose to experience their experience. Life is short, and life is a gift best given as love and understanding. 

With the song being for your daughter, has she heard it and if so, what was her reaction? Yes my daughter has heard the track. She sings along and dances to it while in the car….. haha! 

And what do you think she will take from the song when she is older? Wow that’s a great question. I hope that she takes the understanding to utilise what I have done in my life to help her in whatever she wants to do in her life. To think of it as a possible springboard to pay it forward.

“I try to write songs extremely quickly,
that way I don’t lose inspiration or energy.”

With such an important message in ‘Hello Darling’, do you plan to carry this through to future tracks? Yes I do plan to carry this through to future tracks. I live by the idea that if I’m going to spend time writing music, it has to have a sense of meaning. I don’t like to waste my time or the listeners time. 

So how important do you think it is for music to have real purpose? I think music needs to have real purpose 100%. That doesn’t diminish the business of music, it just sets a level of value that I prefer to bring to listeners. 

What has been the most standout moment of your career to date? It would have to be Hello Darling. Not because of the accolades, not because of the sales, but because it’s about my daughter, and my good friends at Octave Music Records believed in the idea enough to bring it out to the world.

How did the recording session in Japan come about and how did the process differ to your previous releases? The recording in Japan came about when Octave Music Records reached out to me about doing a song for the launch of their new label. I had just finished a campaign for Sapporo Beer as the voice on their 99.99 national TV commercials, so that gave me a little bit of notoriety in Japan. Octave really had no request about what the song needed to be, just that it needed to be something that I was proud of. I am extremely thankful for and proud of Hello Darling.  

How has being involved with music impacted your life? Being in music has impacted my life dramatically. It has taken me around the world, introduced me to world leaders, led to me experiencing many cultures and thus I am always extremely honoured. 

Reflecting on your 2020 – which has been crazy for everyone – what have you achieved musically that you may not have otherwise? What I have achieved the most musically during this time was being able to do a lot more zoom music sessions for TV and film. 

And finally, what are the three albums you couldn’t live without? Bob Marley & The Wailers: Greatest Hits, Kanye West: My Dark Twisted Fantasy and The Beatles: Sergeant Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Thanks Josh Stevens for chatting with Listen to Discover


Find out more about Josh Stevens at:
Guest Writer Track Review: Josh Stevens: Hello Darling

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