To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival (CBJF) in Gahanna, Ohio (June 15-17), we’re sharing some of our favorite stories through a #MyCBJFStory series.
If you’re a fan of the hit T.V. show, The Voice, this musician’s name may sound familiar to you. You may recognize Josh Hoyer from his soul/funk/R&B band or you might recognize him from being a contestant on The Voice, as a part of Blake Shelton’s team. We had the pleasure of getting to know a little more about this rising star, recently. You can look for Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal to perform on the Mount Carmel Community Stage from 7-8:30 pm on Friday, June 15.
How did you get your start as a musician?
I first performed at 6 years old. I used to sing and dance in the house all the time. When I was 6, my parents entered me into a talent show at the high school where my father was a teacher. I sang “Hurts So Good” by John Cougar Mellencamp. I’ve been performing ever since!
When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in music?
I have always loved music and it has always been a huge part of my life. All through my public education, I took as many band and choir classes as possible. Often, that was 4 classes a day. After high school, I continued to play music, and played in many bands and jam sessions. When I returned home from New Orleans in 2003, I got my first touring gig as a saxophone player for EC Scott out of Oakland, CA. And, even though I finished my college degree and have worked a couple other jobs since then (namely a stint as a homeless outreach worker), I believe that is when I first knew that I wanted to pursue a career as a musician. Fifteen years later, after much hard work, I now lead an internationally touring band that has released 3 studio albums and 2 live albums to critical acclaim!
Who inspires you?
I am inspired by many people, but first and foremost are my parents, my wife and my children. They are my rock and my reason for trying my best in life. I have been very blessed to have such wonderful people in my immediate family that are caring, thoughtful, hard-working and genuine people.
Do you have a favorite song that you perform?
I love all of the music that our band plays. If there was a song I really wasn’t “feeling”, it would no longer be in the set. For Soul music, in particular, I feel it is essential that the singer and band connects with each song. That it breathes within them. If you aren’t being genuine in this style of music, it has very little value. People need to FEEL you. I would say, right now, my favorite is likely a song about my daughter, called “Clara Jayne.” However, I pride myself on the fact that songs I wrote 5 years ago, feel as immediate and as honest as they did then. In my book, that is what makes a great song!
Describe one of your best experiences/memories relating to your fans?
Reaching the listener is what playing music is all about! We’ve been very blessed to meet great people all over the world through our music. Those connections and that spiritual bond that happens in a live performance are what keep us going in this very difficult and turbulent business. In Germany last year, a gentlemen came to three separate performances; for two of them– he drove more than 100 miles to attend. After the last of those shows he came up and introduced himself. He said he had been having a very hard time in life: an illness, a death in the family and a broken home. He said that even though he worked full-time as a roofer (in his late 50s), that our music was a huge inspiration to him. He loved how we played with full hearts, giving everything we had night after night. It reminded him that he wasn’t alone and that he, too, wanted to keep giving it all he had. That, to me, is what this is all about!
We’re looking forward to your performance at the 20th anniversary celebration of the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival! What can fans expect from your performance?
You can expect to hear some of the finest players in the world. The fellas in the band are incredibly talented and full of heart! We will play you songs about love, family and loss; about positivity, fighting for justice and trying to do the right thing; about spirit, Soul and what we all have in common. Musically, we borrow from the greats in Blues, Soul, Funk and Jazz to create songs that stand on their own in modern times. We will sweat, smile, pulse, groove and soar with the power of music and try to connect each and every listener in the moment. In the end – we will have a HUGE amount of fun! Really looking forward to playing for you all!!!
Got a #CBJF story? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and you just might snag some complimentary event wristbands. Take advantage of early bird ticket discounts and buy your tickets online here!