One21music, in our quest to find the best up and coming Christian musicians, is featuring the bands from the Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase. The Cornerstone New Band Showcase has launched many huge careers for Christian musicians including P.O.D., Sixpence None The Richer and Over The Rhine. The Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase features sixteen bands who will be performing on the Cornerstone Main Stage from Thursday, June 30th through Sunday, July 3rd. In the two weeks leading up to Cornerstone 2011, One21music will be featuring interviews with 11 of the showcase bands and a 10 song free music sampler, which will be available, exclusively on One21music.com on Wednesday, June 22.
We continue the Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase interview series with Josiah James. This young, but seasoned singer/songwriter is wrapping up an ambituous EP trilogy project over the past year which has grown his audience and revealed more of the depth of his musical talent.
Josiah James is a multi-instrumental Christian artist who was called to his singer/songwriter career at the age of only 14. Boasting natural vocal talents as well as advanced skills as a guitar and piano player, Josiah released his first full-length CD, Alive in the Studio at the age of 16. In the two years to follow, at only 18 years old, Josiah James delivered his second project, Awaiting the Morning. Josiah’s faith and talent are catalysts to his unique ability to write songs that connect with his audience on a highly personal level.
In Spring 2009, Josiah James released his debut full length/full band CD, The Morning Light. Produced and recorded by Cobly Wedgeworth (Lybecker, Bidwell, Ten After Two), the CD features a side to Josiah many hadn’t heard before. The Morning Light marries the intimacy of Josiah’s singer-songwriter abilities and the dynamic sound a full band possesses.
Josiah James has now stepped up to the plate with a new project in mind. A series of three concept EP’s all set to release, one at a time, over the span of one year. Each EP will feature an elemental theme (Air, Water, Fire), a new full band single and several acoustic songs. These EP’s are a glimpse of what to expect of his next full length set to release Summer 2011.
On May 11th, 2010 Chasing The Wind (Air), the first installment for the trilogy of EP’s was released, blending acoustic versions of some old Josiah James favorites and introducing new songs as well to catch your ears attention.. The title track of the album displayed a more mature, piano driven rock side to Josiah.
Months of more touring across the country and writing since his last release, Josiah James had accumulated several songs and headed back into the studio once again. Teaming up with producer, Ralph Stover (The Reel, Natalie Grant, Point of Grace), Oceans (Water) came into conception. With the intention of sharing his fans with something recognizably different, Josiah James opens the EP with “Rain”, a driving rock, electronica single that swiftly is followed by a series of acoustic/piano songs. The lyrical content on Oceans hits at a deep and honest level, speaking of the struggles and shortcomings we all have to face from our daily demons.
Interview with Christian Musician Josiah James
O21: Tell us what we need to know about Josiah James that is not in your bio.
Josiah: I’m just a normal dude, that’s made of the same stuff as everyone else. I’ve been touring constantly since 2008 and love to share about Jesus’ love with the Church and the world. But I don’t want to, and will not, compromise the art in music to make a song simply to sell it.
O21:How would you describe your sound? What artists influenced you?
Josiah: I guess alternative/indie/acoustic/rock. Is that too many? Haha. I would have to say Caedmon’s Call, Coldplay, Derek Webb, Jon Foreman, and Keith Green.
O21: Tell us about your recordings? What is your favorite Josiah James song?
Josiah: I’ve been recording music since about 2006, I released two raw acoustic cd’s called “Alive In The Studio” & “Awaiting The Morning”. In 2009 I released my first full length CD, “The Morning Light”, independently. The CD features 11 full band songs with an acoustic edge to it all. Spring 2010 I release an acoustic EP featuring a new single, “Chasing The Wind”, and 6 old and new songs of live in studio acoustic performances. Fall 2010 I released my 2nd EP, “Oceans”, of this EP series. “Oceans” features 8 songs, with more of a piano driven feel. Spring of 2011, I released a new single called “Open Your Eyes” on itunes about the fight against human sex trafficking. All money made from itunes sales will be donated toward organizations against human trafficking.
Out of all the songs I’ve written, my top 3 favorite songs I’ve written have to be “Send Your Heart Down”, “Open Your Eyes”, and a new tune called “Catch Me When I Fall”. “Catch Me When I Fall” will be one of the singles off of the final EP, which will be released sometime later this year.
O21:What is the best thing about making music?
Josiah: I would have to say being able to do a ministry of something I love and have a passion for. Being able to change peoples lives through song and give them a fresh picture of who Jesus is.
O21: How does your faith influence you musically and lyrically?
Josiah: My faith is mostly all I write about. I never write a song about something that’s not going on with me, or that I’ve at least been thinking about alot. If I try to write song something that I am not feeling, it comes out as crap. I love writing music when I feeling highly blessed or majorly in need of Jesus.
O21:What is your view of Christian music?
Josiah: I feel like it’s hard to find good, original, and challenging music in the Christian world. There are some bands that go against the flow of whats going on the radio, and I love that. But I personally want to hear a new song. I want to write a new song!
O21: How do you think the general public and the mainstream music industry view faith based music?
Josiah: Honestly I believe that people see it as just a cheap rip off of the mainstream world.
O21:How do you think that will impact your career?
Josiah: I am hoping that it won’t ever suck me into that flow of things. I never want to be that guy that’s just writing something to sell. But writing something I feel and to get a message across that is tangible.
O21:What responsibility do you think an artist/performer has to its listeners?
Josiah: I believe every artist should not just put on a show. But write music that moves people. Music’s the greatest tool for that. For the Christian band/artist I would say the same and not to further a name of a band or act. But to further the name of Jesus. A name will fade away in moments, but God won’t!
O21:In today’s music scene, with the demise of record companies and mySpace, how does an artist develop a large enough following to sustain a career?
Josiah: Touring, touring, touring! No band can survive as a band if they’re not touring. You can be the best band in the world, but very very rarely will you end up going anywhere with music if you don’t work for it. Be smart, organized, connect with fans, write the best music you can and don’t be lazy. Take some chances!
O21:What is your best memory of your career so far?
Josiah: I think it was growing up as a kid and seeing some of my favorite bands on this stage at a big California music festival, and then being able to play that same stage 5 years later.
O21: What are your road traditions?
Josiah: Every time I go to Portland, OR I have to get Voodoo Donuts at 2am-4am. Seattle, WA I have to go to Pikes Place and get the mini donuts. For Denver, CO, I go to a rad 24 coffee shop called Leela’s.
O21:What do you love about music?
Josiah: I love the variety of emotions and thoughts it provokes. I love how it’s such a great tool to helping others.
13) What is your favorite song?
Josiah: Gosh, I dunno what my all time favorite song is. That’s a tough one. I’d have to say for the sake of answering the question “Sing It Out” by Switchfoot.
O21:What is the best live show you have ever seen?
O21: What is one thing people don’t understand about your music?
Josiah: I dunno, most of my songs are an open book. But I guess that they’re all about the story of my life. What I’ve gone through and dealt. I would have to EVERY single one is about my walk with God and life.
Thank you Josiah. You have already had an impressive career and you are just getting started.. I look forward to catching your show at Cornerstone 2011.
If you just want a taste of Josiah James music check out “Chasing The Wind” from the One21music Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase sampler that will be released on One21music on June 22nd.
Josiah James will be playing the Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase on Sunday, July 3rd at noon. See you there!