We got to know the singer-songwriter that little bit better (and he made us a playlist to boot!)
Making a name with himself for intimate songs, Josh Savage has struck an emotive chord with his fanbase. Building a following for himself with tracks like the piano-led and delicate ‘Citizen of the World’ – a mournful ode to the animosity and division of Brexit Britain – and the more punchy and upbeat ‘Blue Luck’, Savage’s music channels a unity that is perfect for the festival season.
Having collaborated with Sofar Sounds in 2015 to play 79 shows in five months as part of The (quite literal – watch the documentary) Living Room Tour, performing live is clearly one of Savage’s great loves. We caught up with the singer-songwriter to talk about his latest single, life on the road and the songs that inspire him most…
We are big fans of your recent single ‘Citizen of the World’! Can you tell us a little about the writing process and how the track came to life?
I remember finding out the result of the EU referendum and just feeling numb. As a Brit with a French background, it hit me pretty hard. I was sat in my room in Tottenham staring at the wall and went to my keyboard for comfort and that song just kinda fell out of me.
You previously said that ‘Citizen of the World’ was inspired in part by a speech by former-Prime Minister, Theresa May. Can you share a little more about what it was about the speech that spurred you on to writing the song, and what the song means to you?
I’ve had the fortune of seeing a lot of the world by following my musical journey, taking in the culture and learning from the amazing people that I’ve met along the way. It’s made me who I am today and would proudly say I am a citizen of a much bigger picture than the borders that define us.
‘Citizen of the World’ is not an anti-Brexit / anti-Trump song, but rather a means to give voice to those who believe in building a world together. Sadly, this message is often ignored by the media because it is not “a story” but maybe we can change that?
You are a fiercely independent artist. How has being independent benefitted your career to date?
With the flexibility and spontaneity that comes from being independent, it’s allowed me to learn from my own mistakes and find my feet organically. I’ve had some incredible adventures! However, I probably haven’t always made the most strategically beneficial decisions in my music career but it’s kept it fun and interesting. That’s why my upcoming debut album is called The Long Way Round.
What advice do you have for other artists who are wondering whether to pursue a record label contract or keep going it alone?
I can’t say what it’s like to work with a label because I’ve not been offered a deal that works for me yet. What I’d advise is that you don’t have to wait for someone to give you permission to get the ball rolling. Try things out, make your mistakes early, work freaking hard and trust your instinct.
I love the adventure and I love that touring gives you time to think.
And alternately, what do you most dislike?
It’s physically and mentally exhausting and a healthy diet goes out the window.
Is there a specific gig you have performed that has stood out and left a lasting impression on you?
My first ever Sofar Sounds in Oxford in January 2013 when I just started out “professionally” was special. As a new artist on the scene, attentive audiences are hard to come by and this tiny living room crammed with 60 people felt like the first time people truly listened and understood my songs. It inspired me to do living room tours around the world and I’m coming close to my century on Sofar Sound shows now.
What was the first song that you heard that made you want to be a musician?
I think it was ‘The Scientist’ when my uncle Matt played Coldplay’s Parachutes album in the car when I was 13 and it really struck a chord with me. It inspired me to write my own songs.
What do you have planned for the rest of 2019?
I’ll be trickling singles from my debut album The Long Way Round throughout the year, touring Germany with Kodaline in July/August, playing my own Europe tour in Autumn and dropping the album early next year.
Josh’s latest single ‘Citizen of the World’ is available now. Listen to the playlist of tracks that inspired him as an artist below!