Prior to his first solo performance supporting Boyzlife in Belfast, Josh Gray took the time to talk to CelebMix. Josh was a member of Irish band HomeTown, who recently announced their split.
In addition to his first solo performance, Josh will be busking on Grafton Street, Dublin on Christmas Eve to help in raising awareness and money for ‘Home Sweet Home Ireland’ – a charity which campaigns to end homelessness in Ireland. To donate to the charity, click here.
In our exclusive interview with Josh, he spoke about: his plans for the future, his personal highlights of 2016, who he would collaborate with if he had the chance and much more.
Read the interview below.
This is your first solo gig. How does it feel?
Bit nerve-wracking but I’m excited to get out there and do my own original stuff, I’ll do covers as well tonight but get to play a few original songs. First ever gig as well playing with the guitar, so it’s something new and something to look forward to – so yeah, nervous and excited at the same time.
Do you feel you will have more input into the music you choose now compared to being in a band?
I think so, yeah. I write my own stuff as well – I suppose with HomeTown we had a lot of songs written for us. No doubt they were all amazing songs, we loved them, but it’s nice to be able to write your own stuff and be able to use that going forward. Myself and the lads were mostly songwriters as well, we enjoyed writing our own music, we never got the opportunity to really show it. Hopefully now, I’ll get to show some of my original stuff.
Who are your musical influences?
Tough question – a bit of everyone really, but my all-time favourite artist would be Justin Timberlake but as I said, it goes from Justin Timberlake to Michael Bublé to One Republic. I listen to nearly everyone so I’d never turn down an artist or genre of music.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
I’d say my mam because she’s always been pushing me to do things. She always gives me the outlook of if you want to do something, do it. If you believe in yourself, you will do it – it’s all about hard work and determination. I have a lot to owe to her for that, giving me that drive. I was always taught if you really want something, go for it. Don’t think about, don’t care what anyone else thinks about it, as long as you’re confident in yourself and happy with what you are doing, you’ll succeed.
What is the achievement you are most proud of?
There’s been a lot over the last two years. The last few years have been kind of mental for me, but one of the stand out moments was probably getting a Number 1 single in Ireland and getting to play the 3Arena and O2 in London. I can’t really pick one, there’s so many. There’s probably a bucket list of about ten things I’d say.
If you had the chance to collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why?
Probably Stevo (Josh’s manager) – me and Stevo would do it. If the opportunity arose where I got to do it, it would be Justin Timberlake or someone like Jon Bellion or Avril Lavigne – I would love to do a song with Avril Lavigne. But yeah, probably Avril Lavigne or Justin Timberlake and then Stevo eventually.
What can we expect? Is there going to be more covers? A single?
For now at the minute, I’m literally just starting out. It’s the first gig tonight, so I’m going to see how that goes. I have some plans for 2017 – there might be something, there might be a new cover or two out before Christmas hopefully, so we’ll see how that goes as well and then just head down writing. I might take a trip over to Spain as well, do a bit of writing, come back then and plan some gigs. I’m also gigging on Grafton Street for the homeless – the charity ‘Home Sweet Home’ – so we’ll be doing that Christmas Eve with the likes of Glen Hansard, The Script, Kodaline, Bono – it will be good to get people to come along and support the charity. It’s Christmas Eve, Grafton Street and it starts at half five.
What has been your highlight of 2016?
Probably getting to play with The Vamps on their arena tour across the UK and Ireland – that was a big one. Or maybe going to Dubai – that was pretty sick. Never in a million years did I think I would be going to Dubai for a gig, it was a lot of fun. Either of them, I’d say.
What are you most looking forward to in 2017?
From a personal point of view, I would love to see Liverpool win the League in 2017, fingers crossed. For myself, hopefully, I just hope to get out, gigging, releasing original stuff, just try and build up a fanbase and just go from there and just enjoy what I do. That’s the main plan I suppose.
Do you have a message for your fans?
I just want to say a massive thanks for all the support over the last two years. None of it would have happened if it hadn’t been for the support that was given to us from day one. We’re so delighted to be given the opportunity and for people to be so welcoming and supportive in everything we’ve ever done. I haven’t got to speak publicly about the split up ever since we announced it – it’s unfortunate that it has happened, we would have loved to have seen it go on ourselves, it’s at a time now where we all pursue our own things. I wish the lads all the best. I just want to say to all our HomeTown fans, we’ll all still be here and hopefully get to enjoy all of our individual projects and stuff for the next while. You never know, hopefully some day, HomeTown can get back together again.
Make sure you follow Josh’s social media accounts to stay up-to-date with what he gets up to:
Over the past two years, Josh has gained loyal fans who will continue to support him in his solo career. Here at CelebMix, we can’t wait to see what the future holds for Josh and we can’t wait to hear some of his original material and more covers.
Let us know what you thought of our interview with Josh Gray over on Twitter: @CelebMix.