I was initially drawn to Josh Savage’s music because of his song “Mountains in Hurricanes.” I loved the imagery in the lyrics and the rich clarity in Josh’s voice. The more I listened to the song, the more intrigued I became.
Josh’s music offers a welcome sense of hope. He sees mistakes not as roadblocks but as unique opportunities to grow. For him, failure is a natural and necessary part of learning and exploring. Though he does not shy away from heavy issues, Josh does not tend to leave his listener feeling lost. And if he does, it’s not an unwelcome wandering.
Ethan Weitz: Tell us a little about your childhood. How do those experiences affect the songs you write?
Josh Savage: I grew up in Paris for my first 12 years then moved to Winchester. The culture shock made it tough to fit in at school, and I was an easy target for bullies. I was known as the English guy in Paris and the Frenchy in England, always an outsider.
I grew up learning piano, guitar, trumpet and voice, and used music as a medium to get things off my chest. I still do.
Emily Cardé: You have a diverse musical background that includes a lot of choral singing. How has that influenced your musical style?
Josh: I had an unforgiving choirmaster in Paris who gave me exceptional vocal training, and the choir singing must have influenced my love for melodies.
Emily: Who or what are your biggest inspirations for songwriting, or just for life in general?
Josh: [My music] tends to come from endearing little things I stumble across in everyday life. I make sure I write them down somewhere so I can remember them. Often it’s from my grandpa muttering poetry to himself, the struggles of following your passion, or women.
Ethan: Several of your songs acknowledge failure as a natural part of growth. Is there a specific reason that’s such a prevalent theme in your music?
Josh: Yeah, failing is an important part of learning. People have a huge of fear of failing which is what stops them from pursuing what they love doing. I’ve failed millions of times to be where I am now and got better for it.
Emily: Can you tell us the story behind “Mountains in Hurricanes”?
Josh: Someone close to me had psychosis. Instead of taking medication, they got better by going on spontaneous jogs up St. Catherine’s Hill in Winchester to clear their head. “Mountains in Hurricanes” was a song to say I knew they would get through this on their own but I’d be there for them if they didn’t.
If it’s too much, give me a call
But I doubt that too much will be enough
You can take it all
You can take on mountains in hurricanes
And if you fall…
I’ll give you my bones to break ‘cause I have faith
—Josh Savage, “Mountains in Hurricanes”
Ethan: You’ve traveled a lot, and you seem to really embrace adventure—even when it comes to your musical career. What is the craziest things that you’ve done or that has happened to you?
Josh: Throwing myself to North America for 3 months with a backpack and a guitar probably wins the prize considering I had never been there before. I had no transport and little idea where I was going to go or sleep. I came back having traveled through 15 states and played 33 shows including my dream festival South-by-Southwest. Best thing I’ve ever done.
Emily: How has your approach to songwriting changed over the course of your musical career?
Josh: Before, I had loads of time on my hands and song ideas came to me easily. Now, I have to set time aside to make myself bored in order to write.
Ethan: How did you get involved with Sofar Sounds, and what has been your experience with it?
Josh: I played Sofar Oxford on my first tour that I booked in January 2013 and it was the best show I had ever played. Attentive audiences are hard to come by when you’re an unknown artist playing in bars or pubs and the Sofar Oxford crowd listened to every lyric of my songs. It blew me away.
It gave me hope. I wanted to give hope to other struggling artists I believe in, and Winchester’s music scene needed a kick up the arse anyway. So I set up Sofar Sounds in Winchester and Southampton. I managed it on my own for the first two years and now have a team of wonderful people to keep it going.
Emily: Of all the songs you have written, which is the most meaningful to you—and why?
Josh: “Lost In Paris.” It’s my plan B.
Ethan: What is your next album going to be like?
Josh: I’m writing my debut album at the moment. It’s not something I want to rush so it won’t be out until next year. In the meantime, I will release an EP of songs I’ve written on the piano. The album will probably have elements of all my English EPs.
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