Joshua Radin recently released his new album Onward and Sideways, a heartwarming set of love songs dedicated to a woman in Sweden who happens to be his new girlfriend.
“I didn’t expect it to be an album, I expected it to be love letters for her,” Radin said. “This album is different for me because it came out of a period of time and a motivation that was different.”
Radin, who is currently on an international tour across the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Australia, spoke to me from Northampton, Massachusetts during his lunch break.
“I don’t usually do college interviews, but McGill is a great school,” he said. Radin himself attended Northwestern University, where he studied visual arts, pursuing painting and then writing. As for why he chose music in the end, he said that it was both creatively fulfilling and practical.
“I like to be creative and express myself,” Radin explained. “I want to stay as open and creative as I possibly can. Music was the first thing I tried where I could actually pay the bills.”
Radin has a warm and contagious laugh and is unguarded and honest about his music. Known for pouring his heart out into his songs, Radin is always open about the meaning and inspiration behind each one.
“Most of my songs are basically journal entries,” he shared. “And I think that’s what people relate to.”
Radin’s success story is well-known among his fans. He played the song “Winter” for his friend, Zach Braff, who urged him to submit it to the creator of Scrubs. Radin’s music was then requested by others in the industry and has now been featured in hundreds of movies and TV shows. Ten years and six albums later, Joshua has toured the world and been on top charts with songs like “I’d Rather Be With You” and “Beautiful Day.”
“I’m like that seasoning in your food that no one knows is in there,” he said of his own fame. “In your iPod, you probably have a song of mine in there but you don’t know it. I’m not the bun or the meat or the lettuce or the tomato, but there’s a seasoning in there that you can’t quite put your finger on.”
Radin has, in many ways, achieved what could be considered an optimal level of fame and success.
“I love being able to walk down the streets and do something embarrassing and not have to worry about having photographers around photographing me because then it might be in every magazine,” Radin said. “I don’t know how people live like that. What a nightmare.”
Still, Radin’s music is everywhere, even if his face may not be.
“I’m drinking coffee in a restaurant right now before I have to go to sound check and my song just came on the speakers,” he laughed.
Like many university graduates, Radin was not sure what he wanted to do, and he said that he doesn’t like how young people are pressured to choose a specific path.
“If I had to give any advice to college students, I would say to take a little time and just go travel and have some experiences, and then figure out what you want to be,” Radin said. “I didn’t even know who I was at all when I was 22 and graduating college. I didn’t know how I could possibly pick a career when I had no idea who I was.”
Radin will be coming to Montreal on Monday, Feb. 9, but he has been here a few times before.
“The people are just so lovely and I love Old Montreal,” Radin said. “I’ve had some great times walking around there, especially in the summer.”
He also claimed to be prepared for winter in Montreal. “I’ve got long underwear, I’m ready to go.”
Joshua Radin will be performing on Monday, Feb. 9 at the Corona Theatre (2490 Notre Dame). Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $27, $30 at the door.