Counteract caught up with the lovely Josh Kumra who is currently on the festival circuit in the UK, hand-delivering his own blend of moody soul and guitar, which is perfect for your lazy summer days. Speaking of festivals, he’s found the experience humbling. “I’m surprised by how many people went to the stage just to see me. It’s always a bit risky when you come off the back of a hit song. It’d be quite embarrassing if there was nobody there to see you!”
He’s already collaborated with Wretch 32 and most recently with K Koke on new single ‘Helicopters & Planes’, however, there’s another artist Josh has his eye on who you may or may not expect. “Jay Z!” And how’s that working out? “he’s too big! [laughs]”
It’s hard to know whether he is joking, but to rule out a track with Jay Z in the future would be foolhardy; given how well his prior collaborations have done we reckon it would be massive. Exclusively revealing that there will be no collaborations on his debut album, Josh wants fans to get a feel for his music without any attachment to other artists. “Collaborations are good but it’ll be nice to have a track where people can get a feel for me, if you know what I mean, if you want to get to know me and my travels and journey through music.”
When he was first starting out and writing songs a big influence was older music. “And Tracy Chapman. Recently though there’s a guy called Ben Howard who I am absolutely in love with. He’s made one of the best albums of the last ten years. It’s good to have a balance of influences from older generations and now.”
His process of song writing is very guitar driven and organic, which is unsurprising given how well the lyrics and guitar work on his currently available tracks like his Soho Sessions. “The key for me is not to try too hard. I hate sitting down with a pen and paper because as soon as I try and write something, that’s when it’s hard. So what I try and do is, whenever I can, pick up a guitar, go with the flow and be spontaneous with a couple of melodies. I always start with the melodies first because I always want it to be pleasing to the ear.” And rather than just stop there and have his songs sound nice, there’s the element of his lyrics. How does he juggle making both work so well? “I work the lyrics around the melody… try to make it touch people and be emotional. Most of it is from personal experience.”
It’s precisely this organic approach that makes Josh Kumra stand out from similar artists at the moment who, it could be argued, over think their work to the point of making it unrelatable. He knew his future was always going to be in the music industry as he had no back up plan. “I left myself with no option. At school and college I studied music and then I got a place at University to study music.” Almost by fate, the day he found out about his University place he got a phone call from London. Some important people had seen his gig and the rest as they say, is history. “I could study music or I could go and play music and write music. I think I picked a good option. To me I always thought of having a back up as a bit of a weakness, there was no back up I would be happy with- music is what I wanted to do.”
His debut album Good Things Come To Those Who Don’t Wait is due for release in September, and the title is rather apt.
About Toni-Louise Chadwick
I enjoying interviewing bands. Some of my favourites include Wild Beasts, Muse and Rob Dougan.