Chances are you’ve cried to one of Josh Radin’s acoustic ballads without even knowing it. Often compared to Elliot Smith and Paul Simon, it comes as no surprise that his soft voice and hushed melodies frequently underscore poignant romantic scenes in popular TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy, One Tree Hill and 90210.
The Ohio native studied drawing and painting at Northwestern University and had stints as both an art teacher and a screenwriter before teaching himself to play music on a guitar gifted to him by his father. His first song ever written, ‘Winter,’ was loved by his college friend Zach Braff and featured on Scrubs. His fan base exploded and has been growing ever since.
Now, ten years later, Radin has released his sixth album, Onward and Sideways which includes a duet with Sheryl Crow. You can catch Joshua Radin tonight at the Corona Theatre.
Q: How do music and drawing or painting compare? Do the mediums play different roles in your artistic expression?
JR: Well I tend to think visually. I also used to write screenplays before getting into playing music and you’re always told to “show don’t tell” when writing a script. So when I approach a song, I tend to picture a scene in my mind and describe the way it appears.
Q: How did you handle the transition to the nomadic musician lifestyle? Are you a homebody or traveler at heart?
JR: I’ve always been a traveler at heart so this kind of lifestyle wasn’t too difficult a transition for me. I love waking up in the tour bus in a new city every day – it’s like you get to completely start over, a clean slate I guess you could say. I love that idea.
Q: Can you explain the meaning of the title Onward and Sideways?
JR: My favorite teacher from high school, Dr. Robert Thomas, used to say that to us every time the class was over. It stuck with me I think because I am a positive person in general but not too positive. It’s a less positive way of saying “onward and upward”. Plus, I wrote the whole album from the bed I’m pictured in on the album cover. So I was literally sideways while I moved onward with my personal life.
Q: How does Onward and Sideways compare to your first five albums?
JR: This is unabashedly a long love letter. I didn’t intend for this to be an album while writing. But in trying to woo a very special lady in my life, I ended up with an entire body of work so I decided to record the songs and put it out.
Listen to Onward and Sideways and chances are you’ll fall for him too.