Hi! Josh, congratulations on your JUNO nomination. How does it feel to be recognized for ‘To Be Loved, Vol. 1’?

A: It feels quite unlike any experience I’ve had before in my career. Truly surreal and something I don’t think I’ll ever get over!

Can you share the moment you decided to release ‘To Be Loved, Vol. 1’ on streaming platforms?

A: The moment I decided to release this album was actually one of the most stressful moments I’ve ever had in my career! After releasing some of the songs as singles, I got a notice from Spotify saying that these songs were already released on Spotify, and as a result, I was essentially having them “black-listed” when I put them out. It turns out that this guy from New York had gotten access to my files, and gone and released them under his own name. He kept my voice on them and everything. I made a TikTok about this (as people my age do), and it went mega-viral, which then led to essentially a virtual manhunt for this fellow. Long story short, he was banned from ever releasing music on any streaming platforms again (as he’s done this same thing to more than just me). I unfortunately lost a lot of potential streams because of the algorithms thinking that I was releasing previously released songs, but social media helped get my streams back up.

What inspired you to dedicate this album to your wife and explore marital emotions through music?

A: I initially just wanted her to have a “private” album that was for her ears only. Songs that were very personal and intimate that nobody else necessarily needed to hear. A friend of mine worked for a company called MusicBed and said that these songs would do really well in wedding videos. So, with my wife’s blessing, I uploaded them to this website for people to buy licenses to use (this is how the guy in the previous question was able to download the files by the way). These songs have now brought in more income than my entire discography combined. My wife is grateful for that as you can imagine.

How do you feel your music, especially songs from this album, connecting with listeners globally?

A: I feel so honored and excited to have had these songs used in hundreds of wedding videos around the world. It’s truly so cool to me to have a song I wrote in my basement being used in one of the most important and memorable moments of a couple’s life together.

Could you describe the creative process behind translating deep, personal love into universally resonant songs?

A: I think the challenging (and exciting) part for me is coming up with new ways to put words to very universal emotions. Everyone has heard someone sing “I’ll always love you”, but it definitely catches your ear more when someone says “Take me to your heart, for its there that I belong” (Elvis Presley – Love Me Tender). I definitely am always looking for ways to say something commonly said, in a more uncommon way. It adds a level of depth that can really make a song go from good to great.

With ‘Crazy’, you explore vulnerability in love. How does this single complement the themes of your album?

A: “Crazy” is in many ways a descriptor of that “early phase” of the relationship. Feelings of anxiety and infatuation over somebody you have strong feelings for, because you don’t know if those feelings are reciprocated. It’s almost like the “First Act” of the album, which then dives a lot deeper later on.

Your music has been featured on major platforms and shows. How has this visibility impacted your career?

A: Having my shows used in film & tv has truly been a game changer for me. I’ve gotten amazing opportunities from having these placements, and I’ve made a lot of fans who have heard my songs in these popular tv shows as well. All in all, it’s just allowed me to continue to write for film & tv and get bigger and better placements every time I do it.

Performing on stages worldwide, how do you ensure your live performances convey the emotional depth of your album?

A: I do this by storytelling. I tell a story before almost every song in my set, and if a song doesn’t have a good story, I usually don’t add it to my set. This usually sets people up for what to expect, and then the song has a better chance of getting the emotion I’m wanting. I also switch things up a lot. I perform a lot with a band, but also just as much solo with just my guitar. I’ve played so many shows now in both settings that it’s become very intuitive for me to achieve this result in both scenarios.

How has the transition from songs intended for film and TV to a JUNO-nominated album influenced your artistic journey?

A: Honestly, it hasn’t all that much. I think there’s something beautiful about the fact that my most unsuspecting album was the one to be nominated. My 2021 album Mellowdrama was the one that I’d always thought would get the nominations, because I wrote it with commercial success very much in mind. But for To Be Loved to be my first nominated project, shows me that I just need to keep being authentic and releasing music that is fully “me”, rather than music that tries to fulfill a specific purpose.

Looking forward, how do you see your sound evolving, and are there any new themes you’re eager to explore?

A: Seeing as my wife and I are expecting our first child in May, I have a strong feeling there will be a lot of music inspired by having a daughter coming up very soon. In fact, I’ve already started writing To Be Loved Vol II, and there’s already 2 songs about my daughter. I think becoming a dad is going to unlock a depth of emotion that I didn’t even know was possible to have. I’m very excited to explore what this looks like with my songwriting.