Singer-songwriter Josh Savage recently released his music video for “Bella,” and we chatted with him over email about what it’s like to hold the record for playing the most SoFar shows, his bilingual writing process, and more.
You recently performed in Warsaw for a TED Talk! TED Talk is LEGIT! How did you land such a rad gig and tell us about your experience.
A Polish music promoter has been inviting me to play in Poland for a while, but I was never able to fit Poland on my tours. When I was asked to play TEDx Warsaw as a special guest after the promoter’s speech, I didn’t hesitate. I said “I’m there!”.
It all happened so quickly and I was stunned by the audience’s response at the end. Some people in Poland came up to me to say they’ve been listening to my music before I had even set foot there. It was very surreal!
You’re a British native but grew up in France. What was that like and how has that influenced your music? How would you compare both music scenes?
When I was living in Paris, I was only involved with classical music. I guess it gave me my fondness for melodies until Britpop influences inspired me. France doesn’t have a great music scene for unsigned artists unfortunately, which is why I am based in the UK. In the UK, you can get shows by emailing live music venues and there are many live music venues to choose from. In France however, it’s almost impossible to find shows if you’re unsigned and don’t have the contacts. It took me 2 years to get a decent show in Paris and that’s because of an inside man. That’s why I have mostly done living room shows there.
Last year you released your French EP Quate Epines, tell us about the EP and what your songwriting process is like in French?
I did a music degree at the University of York in England and needed to submit an album for my final project. However, I wasn’t confident about my lyric-writing at the time. So I wrote the lyrics in French to avoid getting them marked. It worked a treat! It was my highest graded project at university.
Quatre Epines EP consists of 4 songs from that album and it’s inspired by my favourite book when I was growing up in Paris – Le Petit Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery. I found writing in French more difficult than writing in English, but I found it refreshing. The rhyme schemes are different and the French vowels are more nasal than English vowels so you have to alter them slightly when you’re singing so that the note can ring better.
You hold the record for playing the most Sofar Sounds shows worldwide—that’s insane! How did you get started with that and would you say the intimacy of playing in small settings is better than playing for huge crowds?
I was invited to play Sofar Oxford back in January 2013 with no idea what to expect. I thought I made a mistake when the address brought me to somebody’s house instead of a venue. It turned out to be the best show I had ever played and it inspired me to set up Sofar Sounds in Winchester and Southampton. I regularly play Sofars on my tours, I’ve now played 40 Sofar Sounds shows around the world.
Both small intimate settings and huge crowds have their perks. Intimate living room shows are a great way to introduce yourself in new cities and you have a better connection with your audience. Huge crowds are more wild and unpredictable and when they work, nothing compares.
We heard you’ve been booking your own tours since 2013 including a USA tour. What advice would you give to artists who are eager to get on the road?
Just do it. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Wing it, take risks and learn on the go. If you have a right state of mind, it will work out.
Josh, we’re obsessed with the video for “Lost In Paris,” where did you come with the concept of having a bear roam around the city?
It was very spontaneous actually. It was supposed to be a romantic video of me wandering around Paris until I figured… that’s actually quite boring. I was wearing a t-shirt at the time of a bear playing a guitar with caption “Will sing for honey”. I called a French friend and asked: “Where’s the closest place I can find a bear costume?”. You saw what happened next. It was bloody hot in there!
Fave jam right now?
Aurora’s ‘Running With The Wolves – Pablo Nouvelle Remix’
What’s next for Josh Savage?
I’ve moved to London and I’m writing my debut album. It’s going to take a while, so in the meantime I’m will release an EP of songs I’ve written on the piano.
Check out Josh’s curated Collection here!