Each month our friends at Lowell Arts are celebrating the West Michigan music scene by connecting with different artists. WYCE caught up with April's Featured Artist, Josh Rose.
- Recording and creating music during this year has been different for all parts of the music industry. What challenges and/or possible unexpected breakthroughs have come along in that time for you?
The big challenge for me has been filling a gaping hole in my life. After 17 years of performing and writing for audiences all over the Midwest, the last year has been just a giant void for a hugely meaningful part of my life. I love performing, but even more I love the interactions with friends and fans before and after the show. I love checking out new towns and places to play. Shows, when done right, are magical. It all just evaporated. Live streaming was ok for a while, but it soon proved that nothing can replace the live experience.
I can't wait to be back in front of real people.
That said, one of my pals, Kyle Rasche, started an online songwriting group, called The Songhaul, early in the pandemic. We have ten or so of our musical pals in the group. We perform privately online, bounce ideas off each other, etc. It really helped refocus my writing and I began to crank out 2+ songs per month. That's a rate I haven't accomplished since I was in my late 20s. I am proud of my COVID songs and can't wait to record and start performing them.
- What routines and routes did you take to stay connected to the music community and your regular local community?
I have made so many friends over the years in the Midwest music community. I miss them. I've been trying to check in with them periodically and "like" whatever sorts of projects they have going on. One routine that has become fairly common is small, socially distant campfire gatherings. But they have been very small and not necessarily "routine". It has been really nice to see some of music pals. Honestly, I can't wait to be with them all again, go see some of my friends' shows, and get back to some degree of musical normalcy.
- Why are nonprofit resources like Lowell Arts and noncommercial radio like WYCE important to your community?
LowellArts and WYCE have always been committed to not only supporting the performing arts, but also creating opportunities for performing artists all over West Michigan. I have played on air at WYCE many many times. They are amazing people over there. LowellArts has an amazing gallery that has turned into an important West Michigan music venue. They are amazing people. These organizations just don't "support" bands and artists, they help foster their growth.
- What artists/bands have you discovered or rediscovered in the last year?
My musical influences come from a wide berth of genres and cultures. This past year I really got into chillwave: Brothertiger, Washed Out, and Novo Amour. Yes, a folk artist like me...totally getting into chillwave. Haha.
- What’s ahead for you in 2021 and beyond?
I've started recording again and it feels amazing. My pal, Michael Crittenden, and I are organizing my new record right now. This will be my fourth studio record and I already have a name for it: Foreverland. It's such a tough time for many musicians and artists who still want to create musical output in physical form...albums and CDs. CDs just don't sell anymore and albums are really expensive to manufacture. I believe that my songs are strong products that stand with anything you hear on the radio. It's tough, as this is a competitive business and it's tough to find someone who will advocate for my musical output, when other artists and musicians have their own path to worry about. I am hoping to put out a great record, despite the industry dynamics and other hurdles.
I also hope to play and advocate for more listening shows, where the music is the destination. I can't compete with craft beer. Haha. Just hoping that these COVID numbers go down enough so that music can come alive again. It's been dormant for a while. I think we could all use a hearty dose of live songs ASAP.