Interview: Joshua Radin | Living North

Interview: Joshua Radin

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Joshua Radin
We chat to the American singer-songwriter ahead of his upcoming shows in London

How are you feeling about journeying across the pond again?
I love it so much! Actually, London is probably one of the top three cities for me to play in the world. 

Alongside which other two cities?
Probably New York and Los Angeles, and that’s really just because that’s where most of my friends live. I love London so much; it was one of the first cities outside America that really embraced my music years ago, so I’ve loved it forever. The fans there are so amazing and loyal, respectful and kind. I was just in London during the World Cup actually, for all the Football’s Coming Home madness! 

Are you working on a new album at the moment?
Yeah, I am. I’m always writing, but I feel like I’m being a little more discerning this past year. I’ve written a bunch of songs but then I sit back and think: ok, which ones do I really need to record and release? I’ve got some now – I’ll probably test a few of them out at the London shows because it’s such a great city to test out new material and really see which ones will make the cut for the album. 

You’ve said that your last album, The Fall, was your most honest. Has that changed your approach to making new music now?
I don’t think so in terms of writing, maybe in terms of production. But the two processes are so different for me. It’s funny, I’ve been writing songs for maybe 13 or 14 years. It’s an amazing thing, I thought it would change but it hasn’t: the minute I finish writing a song, first of all, it’s the best feeling I ever have. But it’s also the worst, because I feel like I’ll never be able to write another song again. I’ve felt that way after every single song that I’ve ever written. It’s strange and I don’t know why it is that way. But I never feel like I can write another song until another song comes up. 

Who or what most inspires you?
I’d say it’s a combination of two different things. Sometimes it’s a person I meet. I would say, a lot of times, it’s a person I have amorous feelings for! Sort of like a wooing song. That’s just old school poetry, I guess, that’s why writers back in the day wrote poetry – to win the love of someone! But then, musically, I’d say that sometimes I just hear a song on the radio and I’ll love it and want to write a song like it. That really goes back to an old quote I remember hearing long ago from Keith Richards, who said: “the best songwriters are the writers who have the best record collection.” Which I think is very true, certainly for me. I’ll just hear something – it might be a melody, it might be a lyric, it might be a drum beat, the way the cello comes in, it might be the way a duet works, it’s a million different factors – but I’ll just hear it and listen to it over and over again and think: ok, I’ve got to write a song like this. 

Who are you enjoying listening to at the moment?
I recently heard an old Sam Cooke song that someone sent me – I love Sam Cooke so much and he’s one of my biggest inspirations, but someone sent me a song and I was like: God, I really want to write a song that’s like that! 

Who would you most like to work with that you haven’t already? 
Unfortunately Tom Petty has passed away, that would’ve always been a dream of mine, to write a song with Tom Petty. Most of my heroes have passed away. Paul Simon’s still alive, that would be so fun. He’s one of the greatest songwriter’s ever – he’s my Dad’s favourite songwriter. and obviously, one of mine. I think anyone can probably hear, if you listen to my music, the influence Paul Simon’s had. 

What’s next for you after the tour?
I never stop! I’m either writing, recording or touring, or all three at the same time! Well, no actually, I took this summer off and I’ve been travelling around. In fact, if anyone follows my social media they’ll think, “has he just retired?! What a man of leisure!” But that’s not just a thing that I do – travel around and see amazing places in this world to just have a laugh – it’s how I write. At least that’s what I tell myself! That was a business trip, that trip to Ibiza! 

Joshua Radin will be playing at Nell’s Jazz and Blues in London between 11th–13th October, his only three shows in the UK this year.  

www.nellsjazzandblues.uk

Published in: August 2018

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