As a musician I take a lot of pride in being a songwriter. As a songwriter you have the responsibility and the power to create out of thin air and silence, with the combination of an instrument and an unbridled imagination, a mood, a tone, a world, a feeling, and a story about absolutely anything that you want; you can convey your feelings that you know everybody else feels into such a way that they feel that you said what they couldn't say, or you can just be entertaining and tell a wonderful fictional tale, all the while wrapping your words up in a home made tune. Which is a lot of fun and at times as effortless as breathing, and other times labor intensive and down right impossible. The moments when the perfect metaphor come out of nowhere and says the right thing in the right amount of syllables is to any songwriter a rush and exciting and curious phenomenon and skill, one of which that I have learned to use but have yet to explain fully how it is done.
I love to romanticize everything about my living but the bottom line for ANY musician or songwriter is this: we all want it to pay our bills, and we all want everyone to love and accept our music. After a very nasty experience in Nashville (which seems to be the story for a lot of musicians) I considered giving up music in its entirety. I made a New Year's resolution in January 2015 that I would try and make music happen as I saw it work for others; I would write my own music, create my own sonic world and Josiah Whitley would be the brand and face of the business. What started as a hobby and fun little experiment became a full on obsession. By February Sounds Before The Slumber EP was recorded and by April released. It was met with a lot of confusion and criticism in my hometown. "What's this acoustic stuff?" "So what, you're gonna try and sing now?" Then iTunese and Google play sold it. Then Amazon. Spotify picked it up. Then Pandora Radio. Then iHeart Radio. Shows started to be booked, and slowly the critics hushed. What a wonderful and triumphant feeling each little victory created.
Then came time for a full length album, In The Dark. Once again the music passed all the checkpoints of approval with flying colors; pandora, iheart radio, this time exceeding expectations and being played on radio in Canada, college radio in Ohio, as well as giving me the repertoire to book shows until my calendar couldn't hardly fit another date in. Then came colleges and university shows, and finally, the inevitable question, "will I be able to do this again and go further with the next album?"
This is where we are now: Writing and working and slaving away in the trenches for a new album, more bookings, more radio play, more, more, more. So far 17 songs have been written and a handful of been chopped off the block bringing the total to 9 slated for release. As more come more will be added and taken away. The album is to be titled Lay Me Down In Roses. However, I feel that I have taken my music as far as I can on my own and need some help taking it to the next level. What is the next level? There's over 700 colleges in the United States, and there's 49 other states besides Ohio, as well as a lot of radio stations. We're looking at playing those colleges, those states, and being on those radio stations. Affiliating myself with organizations such as Tinder Box (not to be confused with Tinder, the awful dating app) I will be able to make these plans come to fruition. I also have the privilege to announce that my dear friend and musical mentor Paul Colman, formerly of the Christian group The Newsboys has stepped up to co-produce this album with me which is a huge professional and personal honor.
Last thing: This isn't going to to be cheap. The EP was made on a budget of $385. I made the artwork on my phone, recorded it all on borrowed equipment in a church I had keys to after hours. Lay Me Down In Roses is going to cost over $10,000 to make due to the faculty and facilities and organizations involved to make, print, and distribute the album. As a result, an IndieGoGo campaign will be launched in November as a means to raise the funds possible. With YOUR help and support, we all can achieve the goals laid out, which is to bring my music out of Ohio and onto radio and campuses and venues around the entire United States. More in-depth details will be announced as they come. Stick around for the next post and together we can bring the gospel that is folk and blues to the entire country!