Behind ever album there is a story. These stories make the album worth so much more to the artist. For this reason, when a bad review is written it’s hard for the artist to understand, why. In light of this, we have created an interview format that will take the artist through each story that brought them to the completion of the album. The goal is to help bring the artist’s fan closer to the artist and hopefully help to make the fan feel the same as the artist when the album succeeds and or fails. Each question is designed to help bring the fans to understand why.
This Album Walk we speak with our Reverbnation contest winner Josh Doyle. Josh is a UK native whom has been making an impression on fans since he was a teenager. Josh has received high praise from everywhere. “According to our ears he could very well be one of those artists that stand by himself musically, a la John Mayer and Josh Groban.” As seen in Billboard Magazine. Josh has also been named one fo the top 20 musicians of 2013 to watch.
Josh’s growing reputation as a compelling live performer has not only fanned the flames of the industry buzz but recently led to his first network TV appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live and CBS This Morning. His inspiring, “Cinderella Man” story of persistence against the odds has led to an album layered with deep insight and arena-sized hooks. Now teamed up with CTK Management (Dolly Parton), Neil Warnock (CEO, The Agency Group) and Steve Homer (VP, Live Nation UK), the next chapter is bound to be the greatest for Josh Doyle
So, what’s the reason why you started writing this album? What album are we talking about?
We are talking about my debut solo full length album, “Josh Doyle”. I had released well recieved solo EPs before, but I had been waiting for the money and the opportunity to record a full length solo album. Having a day job and family to support had made it very difficult to get the funds together to be able to do myself justice on a full length record but then I won the “Guitar Center Singer Songwriter” contest and the prize was recording time with a great producer (John Shanks) in a killer studio (Henson in LA)! It was a miracle and the whole thing was magic, we recorded a whole record in a week.
What was the first song that was written for this album and did it make the final cut. If it did and or did not make the album please explain why?
I suppose the first song written for this album would be “Solarstorms”. It appeared on an earlier EP in just an acoustic format but I always wanted to flesh it out a little more. Not only did it make the final cut but it ended up being the single and the song I got to play on Jimmy Kimmel Live, etc! It was kind of poetic that it happened like that because the song came a long time before things took off for me and it showed me that a good song can eventually find its audience even when you think all hope is lost for that to ever happen!
Tell us about how the first melody for the album was created? What brought the idea? Was it a drum hit, was it a synth? What brought it to your mind?
The melody for “Solarstorms” came just playing around with the guitar, wanting something with a bit of yearning and romance I suppose. Its very much a song for under a summer night sky with the stars and someone you really want to make out with lol.
How did the overall concept of the album come about?
I am all about concepts to albums and really I set a bar for myself only to write songs that were honest and also able to play with just my acoustic guitar, no bells and whistles. So I went about writing those songs and when it came time to record I had a book of those songs that I played for my producer and we recorded the ones we liked the most.
Are there any funny stories from the creation of the album?
A funny story that occurred when the album was being written? The songs on the album ended up being written over a number of years really, so thats too tough. I will say that I was worried that the album wasn’t going to happen and that was kind of a funny story about me being paranoid. The pressure at the Grand Final of the Guitar Center Singer Songwriter competition was so immense – we were ten finalists out of 17,000 people and only one could win it – that after I performed my song to the crowd/judges, I went and got a generous serving of alcohol on an empty stomach (nerves all day) while the rest played. It went to my head pretty fast and when they called out my name as the winner I behaved pretty bizarrely, stumbling a bit and making no sense, I actually couldnt sleep that night because I was worried that I would get the prize taken away from me. I thought “Guitar Center will never have me as their poster boy being so messed up like that”. But yeah I was actually depressed about it and pretty convinced that I would be stripped of the chance to make the album because of my intoxicated state.
What were some of the hardest parts in creating this album, from writing the lyrics to selecting the studio to record?
Lyrics are usually the hardest part for me because I will rewrite them dozens of times until i’m happy with them, but I love that challenge. Really though on this record the toughest part was raising my game to be able to hang with the band. I had been a part time musician, part time waiter and I was put into a studio with some of the greatest session musicians of all time who do it day in and day out and was expected to hold my own with them. I had to nail the performances every time perfectly because everything was hanging on my shoulders and we didnt have a lot of time to record.
What song means the most and why does it mean the most? What was the story behind the artwork?
“I figured the world out” meant the most because I thought it was the best lyric writing I had done to that point, and it was the song that won the Guitar Center contest. My one regret is that we didnt record it just me and my cellist because thats my favourite way to hear/perform that song. We performed it like that on Jimmy Kimmel Live and there were complete strangers in the audience crying!
Tell us a little about the album artwork; is there any meaning behind it?
The artwork is pictures from my time recording in the studio, the album cover is just a simple headshot, kind of retro but kind of modern which is just like the record.
How was the first single selected and why was it selected? Did youflip a coin, did management tell you to pick it.
“Solarstorms” was the first single and I was fine with that because I let John Shanks do his “thing” on that song, since he has had a lot of hit singles and he turned into something that sounded very accessible. It was really a decision that John made when he heard the song and saw potential in it. I was happy that it would get the chance to be heard by a larger audience.
Was there some thought going through your mind when selecting the order each song would play?
Yeah the order was a huge thing for me, I like the record to be easy to listen to the whole way through and it took weeks for me to sort out the order. John had his ideas too but I ended up being the primary decision maker with that. I think its so important even when people have their music devices on shuffle these days. The album order works really well and even tells a story with a beginning and an end thats what I try to do with everything I put out, like a narrative, take people on an emotional journey.
What was the first thought when the album was completed and you listen to it all the way through?
We recorded it in Hollywood and I listened to it for the first time as a whole while driving down the Pacific Coast Highway as the sun went down. It was just one of the greatest feelings i’ve ever had, with this dream that I thought had passed me by coming true and songs sounding so great and fresh to me. I just was so proud and excited and thinking about what people were gonna say.
What were your thoughts when you got the first review?
The first review I saw was great and I was glad someone else “got” it.
Did you accomplish what you set out to do with this album? And what was the goal of this album?
The goal of this album was to put out there the best I could do at the time in my writing and my performing and for such a short period of time to work in I think we did great. Now my job is to make everything I do from now on even better! I’m glad that the emotional rawness of the songs have affected people.
Josh we just would like to thank you for such a great interview.