Article and photos by Rene Maritz
Joshua Grierson went on a recent tour to Johannesburg and the next stop was Durban.
I caught up with him to find out specifically how his trip went. To stoke my curiosity about his career, I thought I would ask him a couple of intimate questions that don’t often get answered. Joshua was happy to oblige this curious cat.
⦁ What brought about your tour?
In late December, through a turn of serendipity, singer-songwriter Louise Day and I ran into each other at a gig in Stanford. We got talking about some form of new collaboration and once we were back in Cape Town, we started rehearsing for said idea. We wanted to partner the idea with the established performing arts organization, City Soiree and after a meeting with their founding member, Gerhard Maree, we embarked on a series of house-concerts in Gauteng and Durban in late March. Unfortunately due to work commitments, Louise could not attend the tour but I decided to do the tour alone and see what happens.
⦁ What did you gain from this experience – did you gain new connections and how was the response from the audience?
With each tour one hopes to make new fans and meet longstanding ones and through my shows in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban, I was able to do just that.
The response to my music was exceptional and I walked away feeling vindicated. The week outside of Cape Town, also gave me an opportunity to let my (proverbial) hair down and do some necessary reflection on where it is I want to be by 2015.
It also happened that I got to meet fellow singer-songwriter Naas Veld, as he supported me in Johannesburg and Pretoria and suffice to say, I am a new big fan.
⦁ I heard that there is a possibility of an overseas tour, is this true and if so, when and where?
It is most certainly on the cards for 2015. My initial hope was for later this year but due to the need of another album first and funds to still be generated, it has had to be put on ice for now.
⦁ Is there a new album on the horizon?
Yes. My 2nd studio album, Strange Heart (A Suburban Short Story), will be released in either June or July of this year.
⦁ What music are you currently listening to?
Nat King Cole, the new Beck (Morning Phase), Vance Joy, Stone Jets, Naas Veld, the new St. Vincent (St. Vincent) and a lot of older stuff I grew up with.
⦁ You host your own radio show weekly on Assembly Radio, namely The Rising Gold. Which has opened my heart and mind personally to so many new artists and artists that I had never heard of before. Tell us more about this initiative and elaborate why it is so uniquely different to other stations in the country?
For as long as I can remember, I always had aspirations to be a radio DJ but most stations dont allow the DJ to decide what he would play. Long gone are the days where DJ’s garnered listeners based on what they had to say. So with my show and thanks to Assembly Radio, I was given a rare opportunity to have complete carte blanche on what I play and say. I try and run a slick show with something new for everyone and love focusing on the local musicians that make this city exciting. We regularly have a ‘Absolutely-Fabulous-In-Studio-Live-Artist’ and with the artist, I discuss their career, they play a couple songs live-on-air and we feature some of their studio recordings. My show aint the exception to the rule but certainly an alternative to a lot of other shows out there.
⦁ Which artists do you admire and look up to and who would you personally like to work with if you were granted the opportunity?
Locally I would love to work with Josie Field, Laudo Liebenberg and Given Nkanyane. I have had the good fortune of working with some of the finest talent this country but really admire Rian Malan, Gary Thomas and Guy Buttery. Internationally: The list is as long as a dream.
⦁ What is the importance of connecting with other artists?
I cannot stress it enough: Working with other artists in your community, is the reason why you been given the gift of music in the first place. We all benefit from it. Step out of your comfort zone and get involved.
⦁ You recently performed at Kirstenbosch Gardens for the CT Folk Festival, how did this experience affect you as an artist?
It satisfied my heart and soul indefinitely, to be part of such a line-up. All the years of hard work paid off for me to play those 8 minutes on such a stage.
⦁ What other new developments or projects are in the pipeline for the fans?
A 3rd studio album early 2015. Later this year, my side-project Big Exit will release its first EP. More collaborations with Simon Van Gend, Louise Day and others. A new side of myself – Jak Tomas – to come out in 2015.
⦁ When you hear a new song that you can relate to, does it inspire you to get busy writing?
⦁ Being an incredible lyricist do you have the urge to write a book one day and if so, what would you want to write about?
I have stopped counting the books I have started. I am distracted far too easily but one day it will arrive on your doorstep. The kind of work I would produce, would be a mixture of fact and fiction.
⦁ You are a very versatile artist, what is your favorite genre so to speak?
I have not got one. It’s just got to make me either smile, cry or dance.
⦁ What does music mean to you personally?
A complete abandonment from a rational life/moment.
⦁ Do you sometimes get lost in your music?
⦁ If you had any personal advice to give someone starting out, what would it be?
Make sure that this is what you want to do for the rest of your life. Once decided, don’t stop for anyone or anything.
⦁ Would you ever consider doing a road trip from town to town?
⦁ Are there people out there that take advantage of artists in a bad way?
⦁ What is one of the most moving comments you have had from a fan?
“You touched parts of my soul, that I never knew was there”
⦁ As listeners we often feel that music moves us to the point that our hearts beat faster and emotions get the better of us – does this ever happen to you as the artist – watching other artists, and when playing your own music?
Definitely. Music is like an ocean. It’s unpredictable and always changing.
⦁ Just for the fun – share what your favorite food is and do you have a favorite hang out?
Finely prepared seafood. I love The Power & The Glory.
Thank you for indulging my curiosity Josh. As a loyal fan I look forward with anticipation to see what the future holds for you. My personal belief – the best is yet to come.
To find out more about Joshua and all his events, follow him on his facebook page –
Listen to some of his tracks here:
His double-disk album recorded live at the Alma Cafe can be purchased here http://joshuagrierson.bandcamp.com/album/joshua-grierson-friends-live-at-the-alma-cafe