Josh Stevens might not be a name that automatically rings bells but it should and very much will with Stevens’ EP Story of Summer on the cusp of release, a tour with label mate America’s Next Top Model winner Naima Mora, and a discography of work that partnered the music producer turned artist with big music names like: Warren G, LMFAO, John Mayer, Wiz Khalifa, Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez, E40, Young Jeezy, and many more.
Growing up in Los Angeles, Stevens had a rap group with his brothers called Mental Advisory going by the stage name Speratic. Having his first taste of the music world, Stevens found a life long love even with the group separating to pursue other endeavors. Stevens went on to study audio engineering and gradually built an award winning career working behind the scenes as a music producer. Success in that realm allowed Stevens to make the natural and smooth transition into the pop/indie-rock artist we see developing today.
Glambergirlblog spoke with Josh Stevens and he told us all the about the new album Story of Summer, [FYI: “Anna” is his favorite track] his writing process, advice about the music industry, and more. Check out some excerpts below.
On his sound: “I never really came out and like decided to do pop music, it just kind of developed into that. It’s more just like rock with solid storytelling and lyrics and something that people can really sing along to.”
On his writing process: “It depends on who I’m working with. If it’s me by myself, a lot of the time I start on piano. I’ll just start playing piano and I’ll be in a certain mind-set about a story or a certain situation that happened in my life and I’ll write that way and it really comes from the piano and me just sitting there. And then other times my guitarist Jason Valverde, who’s amazing played with Tyler Cruise and Wiz Khalifa, he’ll come up with a melody on the guitar and we’ll go from there. There has been times where I’ll just sit and make a beat and I’ll write from that. So it’s very open-ended in the process and I kind of like that because it creates a more authentic creative process and honest reflection of what we’re trying to say. Sometimes if you walk in and the music is done, and everything is done, then a producer walks in you’re kind of limited in what the music is saying, where if it’s more organic from the ground up and you’re apart of the music, lyrics and direction of the song I feel like the whole project and the song has better representation.”
On Story of Summer EP: “So Story of Summer really came about when I came out of a rough relationship, a really long relationship. The Story of Summer represents the summer after that relationship. It was one of the lowest points of my life. It represents that point in my life when, you know you get out of a long relationship people have the tendency to either, in my opinion, close up or kind of go off the deep end. I have a tendency to go off the deep in a little bit, but it also allowed me to learn so much about myself, about who I am, about what I’m doing with my life, why I’m doing it, the purpose of what I’m doing, and through darker times create an amazing amount of light and direction for me. So I’m certainly appreciative for going through it and to be where I am now, so the Story of Summer is literally the story of when it happened. Each songs represents that relationship. One of the songs on the EP titled Anna, which is a fictional character, but does represent a very deep, low point, kind of one night stand. It represents the lowest point to the greatest euphoria to be able to celebrate.”
On advice about the industry: “I think the best advice I have for upcoming artist and production people is sustaining in the best advice. If you can sustain with whatever you’re doing, if you’re the management guy, you’re in A&R, you’re the writer, producer, engineer, whatever it is, your being able to sustain because you can have so much dirt kicked in your face constantly from naysayers, from people who won’t believe in you, but if you believe in yourself and you know this is what you’re suppose to do like you find a purpose in your heart, rather than just in your head it will give you the strength to keep going forward. Eventually you’ll see that everyone else will give up and you’ll be left standing. If you feel you’re meant to do it, then don’t give up when people doubt you.”
Be on the look out for Josh Stevens EP Story of Summer, slated for end of September and listen to his latest single “Hill Top” featuring Spencer Ludwig below. Keep up with Stevens on Twitter and Instagram @iamjoshstevens and on Facebook at Josh Stevens.
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Photo: Stadium Music Enterprise