There was no way we could go another year without catching up with singer, songwriter, and producer, Josh Del.
We first featured Josh back in January of 2021 and truthfully, we just missed him. This powerhouse of a man sung his way into our hearts a few years back after a serendipitous social media connection. Being likened to Chris Stapleton seemed fitting at the time but after getting to know Josh and his sound a little more, we realize there truly isn’t anyone like him.
Perhaps it’s his big, empathetic heart, his kind nature, or maybe it’s his raw, soul depth-charge of a talent? Whatever it is, he will forever solidify his place in this industry. Mark our words.
We asked Josh a few questions to see where he’s at, what he’s been up to and where in the hell he’s going…
Bridge: Freakin Josh Del, back again! Thanks for chatting with us. So much has changed since we last talked. Tell us all about what’s been going on in your world…
Josh: Hey! I know it’s been a while and so much has changed. I always love talking to you guys, I dig what you’re doing. Well, the big news is I’m a full-time Nashville resident now! After a few years of coming out to work with other artists, it seemed like it was finally time to be here permanently and I’m so glad I am. This city has an awesome energy and I’m happy to play a small contributing role in that. Other than that I’m still producing and writing with other artists and this year I’m focusing a little more on releasing my own music as well, which has been great.
Bridge: You had a crazy serendipitous meeting with Jake Owen when you first got here. Can you talk about that and the impact he has had on you since moving to Nashville?
Josh: (laughs) Yes! I feel like I have gotten asked about this story a few times now. It was one of the first weekends we were in town and we headed down to Leiper’s Fork and decided to eat at a Tennessee staple, Pucketts. Well, while I was there some dude pulled up in a sick Chevy Bel Air with his family. We ended up talking about his car and I told him how my uncle collects Bel Airs as well. Mind you at this time I had no idea who Jake was.
He asked me why I moved here and I told him that my publisher at the time wanted me out here for more writing opportunities. I then asked if he was from here and he told me he was originally from Florida, so I asked him why he moved her and he just nonchalantly replies “oh, music as well,” with a humble grin. We said goodbye and I didn’t really think anything of it, but as I was leaving the restaurant I heard some people at a table next to me say “I think that’s Jake Owen in there.” So I looked him up and I knew a few of his songs. Like any millennial, I took to Instagram to hit him up after I learned who he was and I just said how it was nice to meet him and to my surprise he replied. Not only did he reply but he checked out my music before replying and was a fan. That’s always reassuring, when the greats compliment you on what you’re doing. I’ve had it happen a few times now and I just want to bottle up that feeling and live on it forever, haha.
So yeah, Jake is my boy! He’s been the coolest dude, especially with getting me plugged in with this town. It’s funny because that’s just who he is as a guy. Anyone you ask who knows him will say the same thing about him. He learns your goals and helps in any way he can to achieve them. As the kids would say, he’s a true homie.
Bridge: No doubt that you will pay it forward and be that same mentor to artists that come after you, what advice would you give a young artist right now?
Josh: Honestly that’s my entire goal. I’ve always tried to make it a big point to help give back to other artists at each level of success I’ve reached. I think being able to give artists opportunities keeps inspiration going. There are a lot of gatekeepers in the music industry but I think that kills creativity. The music industry treats creativity as a commodity.
They’ll throw money at hiring the best writers and producers and build their team and no one else can play on that team unless you’re picked for the team. That’s the problem though, why do so many songs on the radio or playlists seem so formulaic? It’s because the same people are working on them or even worse, another team is copying what the other one is doing. Creativity belongs to the universe and sometimes we are fortunate enough to be vessels for it, which is amazing, but as soon as you start throwing restrictions on it, you start cutting it off at the source.
My advice to younger artists is to bet on yourself. Get in tune with where your heart is guiding you. You don’t have to force it. There’s a natural flow to things and know that you need to trust in your vision for yourself.
Bridge: I’m always taking notes with your answers. We need that kind of advice and honestly you’re right. I appreciate people like you who aren’t dogging on the industry, it’s just that you’re being just transparent for the good of those coming behind you.
Be honest, do you miss California?
Josh: (laughs) You know I do but I also love it here. People always treat it like you have to hate one place to live in another, but I love both places for very different reasons. Growing up in Southern California was like living in a movie. Probably because of all the movies shot there, haha. I sure do miss eating some In-n-Out Burger on the beach at sunset though!
Bridge: I feel the same way about my home in Appalachia. Every area has so much richness to appreciate.
How do you feel you’ve grown as an artist in the past year?
Josh: I feel like I’m starting to not care, which is a great thing. I think people make their best work when they develop the ability to not care how something will be received. Maybe it’s just getting older or becoming more calloused to some kind of rejection, either way I’m embracing it. I’m definitely not as worried about time anymore in general. I used to feel the pressure to hit these crazy deadlines for myself and it never really worked out for me. Like I said earlier, ya can’t really put a cap on creativity.
Bridge: Man, I love this theme coming out in so many amazing artists I’m talking to. Just letting go of the striving!
Your latest single, “Burn” – First of all (and no pun intended) STRAIGHT FIRE. Tell us all about it!
Josh: (laughs) thank you! I mean I know I wrote it, but I really do love that song. Well, the song centers around a failing relationship, where the protagonist is still very much in love with their partner, but the feeling isn’t reciprocated. I feel like we all experience at one time or another, caring about something more than the other person does and that sucks. No one likes to feel more invested in something and have that feeling not be reciprocated. So yeah, in a nutshell, that’s what the song is about.
Bridge: WHAT NEXT!?
Josh: I’m cooking up some thing for sure! I think it’s going to be a big year, but I can’t talk about too much right now. I’m working with more and more artists, both producing and songwriting and got a few things in the works for my music as well. Definitely more music to come!
Bridge: I cannot wait, Josh. We need to hear more of you. Always.
Alright, for the sake of bringing words to life, tell us a big goal you have for this year!
Josh: My big goal is to play some more live shows this year and do some support roles on some tours. I’m actually playing a great writer’s round at The Bluebird Cafe on June 29th. You should come out! I got a vision for the future though and all signs are pointing to it coming true.
Bridge: It’s about mother freaking time you play the Bluebird! We will be sure to keep Bridge readers up to date on where you’re at.
And…current song that’s crushing your playlist…
Josh: Man I’m rocking so many great artists on my playlist right now. Local artists I’ve been very into are Shelby Darrall, Brailey Lenderman, Zachary Scott Kline and Sarah Buxton to name a few.
On a little more of a global level I have been rocking that new Kendrick Lamar and the new Harry Styles record. I’m all over the map with my taste, but I believe good music is good music.
Bridge: This is just a little bit of why we love you.
Stay up to date with Josh on socials, check him out at the legendary Bluebird Cafe on June 29th and check back on our IG to find out where else he’ll be this summer.