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Interview With Joshua Ingram

Your music seems to encompass a blend of various genres and styles. Could you share a bit about your creative process and how you navigate the challenge of combining different musical elements?

Joshua: I’m not sure if I would use the word challenge. Part of the joy of creating music is finding cord structures, rhythms, and melodies that communicate the idea. While being influenced by a variety of styles, I draw from them to combine what I know and what I feel into a complete package. Most of the time, the message of the song will lend itself to certain styles that feel appropriate. I consider the reaction I’m intending to evoke in the listener. As far as the process, it’s not static from song to song but it usually begins with some sort of lyrical message that I want to use the music to support. Happy songs lend themselves to upbeat tempo, more major cords, and more of a repetitive structure. Sad songs tend to be slower with more minor cords and aren’t as rigid. 

Press head shot of singer-songwriter Joshua Ingram.

You mentioned that Paul Simon, Neil Diamond, and Billy Joel are among your influences. How have these artists specifically shaped your songwriting and musical approach?

Joshua: All three of these artists approach a wide variety of topics, from relationships to life in their world to stories about others. They have inspired me not to limit myself to only writing about certain topics, but to be more organic and wholistic about how I approach writing songs. They have all written a variety of styles that encourages me to engage in diverse creation. Billy Joel writes jazz, doo-wop, rock, and ballads. Paul Simon, with roots in folk, isn’t limited to the folk style in songs like “Late in the Evening.” Neil Diamond was the voice of commercial rock and roll when he started and became one of the world’s most well-known balladeers. I appreciate artists who don’t sound the same on every song, and I try to follow suit.

When drawing inspiration from personal experiences and people, how do you translate those emotions and stories into your music? Is there a specific approach you take to capture those moments effectively?

Joshua: When I’m trying to communicate an emotion from the standpoint of one who felt it, I try to remember specific situations and take in the sights, smells, sounds, and overall feeling of the moment to find the words that best afford the listener a glimpse into that time. I avoid using names in hopes that the listener can relate it to an experience in their own life and therein share the experience with me.

Counting Crows has been a significant influence on your music. If you were to collaborate with them, what kind of musical direction would you envision for such a collaboration?

Joshua: First, it would take me a while to wrap my mind around the idea that I would be working with people I hold in such high regard. There would probably be some fanboy moments I would have to fight through to get to work. After that, I’m sure I would be taking a lot of direction from these guys who have been where I’m trying to get. I would love to hear their stories, share some of my ideas, and find our common ground on which to begin the process. Then I’d do my best to open my heart and be responsive to the magic I’m sure they would bring. One can only hope.

Your upcoming EP, From The Road, revolves around the theme of being separated from loved ones while on the road. How do you use your music to convey the emotions and challenges associated with distance and longing?

Joshua: Everyone knows what it feels like to miss someone or to lose someone. I take that into account every time I write a song like that, so I can tell my story, but the listener can hear something familiar and they can understand we both have felt this way. You can write a lot of space in songs with words like “road” or “sky” that convey distance and everyone understands.

"Dreams" is a song you mentioned as being challenging to write. Could you elaborate on the emotions and experiences that led to the creation of this song, and how you are working to refine it before release?

Joshua: "Dreams” is still very much in its infantile stages. It was born in a dreary cabin hundreds of miles away from who I love the most, which makes it painful to work on so I have to take my time. It can’t sound trite or unimportant, but also can’t be so specific that it’s irrelevant to the listener. I’m still working on changes and turn of phrase to make sure it says exactly what I want it to say. Stay tuned because it’s gonna be a good one.

"Look (Stacey's Song)" is a favourite among both you and your audience. Could you delve into the story behind this song and what makes it so relatable to people who have experienced love?

Joshua: I was sitting next to a friend who had just returned from a long work trip. He missed his girl, and I understood how he felt. He asked me about writing songs and wondered if I ever thought about writing about the physical characteristics of the person I love when I’m away from them. As he spoke about his feelings, I jotted down some ideas which eventually became the lyrics to “Look.” His girl’s name is Stacey.

As an artist, performing live is a unique experience. Are there any specific moments or interactions with the audience that stand out to you during your live performances of "Round Here" by Counting Crows?

Joshua: I see people mouth, “I love this song.” I also watch them close their eyes and sing along. It serves as a bit of an anthem to those who grew up in the ‘90s. Nothing specific comes to mind, but I always have a little bit of excitement before I play it because I know the audience is going to love it.

Red Rocks in Colorado is your dream performance venue. What is it about this particular location that holds such significance for you, and how do you imagine your music resonating within that space?

Joshua: I would only have to answer this question for someone who hasn’t been there. It’s beautiful. I think I would look forward to hearing how my songs sound in that wide-open environment and the natural acoustics amplifying the words and melodies I’ve had in my heart for years.

With your current schedule of multiple solo shows each week and plans for a fully-produced album and tour, how do you manage the balance between your creative endeavours and the practical aspects of being an independent artist?

Joshua: I go to sleep late, and I get up early. I also have incredible help from my wife and a good local fan base to keep me charged up. There are always details to sort out, emails to read, phone calls to return, and shows to promote. The only way to do it is to do it constantly. It’s a lot of work, but it’s work I love.

Looking ahead, as you continue to build your musical career, are there any new directions or experiments you're excited to explore in your music? Are there any collaborations or projects on the horizon that you'd like to tease for your fans?

Joshua: I’m looking at what it would take to invest more in my production skills. I’m also curious about the possibility of running a music venue in the future. I’m always on the lookout for young artists so I can help move their career forward. I imagine a future where I’m not playing five shows a week, but instead have a multilevel investment in the local music scene.

In the context of your music, what role do you believe technology and social media play in reaching and connecting with your audience? How do you strike a balance between maintaining an authentic connection and utilizing these platforms effectively?

Joshua: That’s the million-dollar question. I come from an age when promotion was handing out fliers and music distribution was selling CDs at a show. The social media platforms have expanded so rapidly that it’s hard for someone like me to keep up. My wife and I do our research and try to stay vigilant to keep our content accurate, current, and interesting. We’ve learned to streamline our processes and get the best out of each platform and what it offers. And as soon as you read this, something has probably changed and we're retooling our approach!

Is there anything you'd like to say before you go today?

Joshua: Thank you to Crucial Rhythm for the opportunity to talk about my music. In a world where there are so many options for every listener, I appreciate this chance to pull the curtain back on how I go about working in this crazy business. I hope if anyone reads this interview and has a dream like mine, that they will be inspired to go ahead and get started. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions and thank you for your time.

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