We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Josh Cleveland a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Josh, thanks for joining us today. We’d love to hear about when you first realized that you wanted to pursue a creative path professionally.
When I was 8 years old, I saw an a capella gospel quartet. Their voices were so dynamic and I could not believe the feelings stirring up within me. I remember feeling my heart quiver and then beat with such force I thought it would pop out of my chest.
I was lifted and carried away by the sounds of their voices together. I was inspired. I knew that I needed to learn to raise my own voice in such a way. That moment has stuck with me my whole life.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
I have always wanted to sing, however, when I first started out it was my greatest fear. It felt like such a vulnerable thing to do in front of others. I found ways to hide even when performing. I would write joke songs but try to sing them super well. I thought maybe they won’t notice how hard I’m trying to sound good if the lyrics are foolish.
I found another way to hide within performing in high school. I became a drummer! We played a ton of Weezer songs as well as some originals. I really loved creating music with the guys in that band. But, the thing I loved the most was being able to sing a couple tunes. That’s where my heart was.
When I got to college I finally took the chance and formed a band with some of my closest friends. I tried for a hot second to be a drummer again, but my buddy Todd was way better than on the set, so I grabbed the mic. My heart began to soar. It was time to truly cut my teeth.
As college ended, so did our band. I was on my own. I started learning how to play guitar so I could keep singing. I began writing my own tunes and finding my voice. The earliest solo gigs were basically practiced in learning to win over peoples attention. It became my challenge to make at least one person lift their head, raise an eyebrow, and notice me.
As I began to find my voice people started to take notice. My new challenge was to not only gain people’s attention, but keep it. I began to crave building a connection with the audience.
Through a lot of trials, heartache, and rebuilding, I have found my voice. I have been playing with the Josh Cleveland Band for a couple years now and together we are building connections with every show, note for note, beat for beat.
What do you find most rewarding about being a creative?
The thing that is most rewarding for me is being able to play a brand new tune for an audience and watch them slowly get in to it more and more. I love watching an audience connect with our songs.
Is there mission driving your creative journey?
Every gig is a blessing and not something I take for granted. It is an honor to step on every stage and earn the right to be heard. I just want to create moments on stage and with our recordings that linger with our audience. Moments that bring them back
- Website: www.joshcleveland.com
- Instagram: Instagram.com/joshclevelandband
- Facebook: Facebook.com/joshclevelandband
Alison Malone Photography