Hello and welcome to DIY’s introducing feature, Get To Know… which aims to get you a little bit closer to the buzziest acts that have been catching our eye as of late, and working out what makes them tick.
This week we meet Saint Joshua, a South London native who’s proudly flying the flag for indy artists. Having crafted a series of EPs that merge genres - one of which was recorded live from the iconic Bush Hall - his work simultaneously echoes the timelessness of soul while capturing the catchiness of contemporary pop. He’s had a busy few years, too: from playing staple venue-hopping city festivals such as The Great Escape and Dot 2 Dot, to being recognised by the Association of Independent Music, he’s now warming up for his next chapter (which has so far been teased by this summer’s groove-laden single ‘Blah Blah Blah’). Ahead of the project’s imminent next installment, ‘Do U Ever Call?’, we catch up with Saint Joshua to delve a little deeper.
Describe your music to us in the form of a Tinder bio.
Ha! This is fun.... More than what meets the eye. Most known for having a holy wood but dive deep to discover hidden gems and a warm heart. A Pisces. How’s that?
Who were some artists that inspired you when you were first starting out, and why?
I loved Amy Winehouse, a true generational talent who always bought a sense of originality whenever she released music. Usher is a legend and he’s an exemplary artist that masterfully curates a Pop/RnB album - I lived for the 'Confessions' era and I was about 9.
You were nominated for Best Independent EP/Mixtape at this year's AIM Awards. What are some of the highlights and challenges of being an independent artist?
I really enjoy how dynamic being independent is. I’m not just a singer/songwriter, but am involved in many ancillary roles to make whatever we do a success. A challenge is definitely trying to be as creative as possible within budget - it is so hard!
What was the first gig you ever went to?
There was a programme called Orange RockCorps when I was in high school that encouraged young people to volunteer and they would win a free ticket to a concert. I did it because I wanted to see Jessie J and she ended up falling and breaking her leg during rehearsals or something. I saw Diddy - Dirty Money though, that was wicked.
You're a grantee of the PRS Momentum Fund - what did this mean for you, and what more can the industry do to help support independent and emerging artists?
It came at a time where I really needed it. Like I mentioned before, being creative within a budget is so hard and I had a vision of doing a live visual version of EP3. When I had heard about the fund, it was only the Friday before the deadline, so we worked hard in a matter of days to get the application right. It meant so much to have validation from PRS to not only acknowledge the work I’ve done but to support it as strongly as they did.
The industry can do so much more to support independent and emerging artists. Artists should be awarded the same opportunities to be exposed to a larger audience; this could be through actions specifically targeting promotion.
Who would be your dream collaborator, and why?
Andre 3000. He’s a creative genius. The 'Speakerboxxx/ The Love Below' album is a favourite of mine and I have questions that need answers. Then we’ll make a sick track.
Your new single ‘Do U Ever Call?’ - taken from your new project - is out on 10th November. What’s the inspiration behind the song?
There was a particular week I had some old faces pop up everywhere! My IG, TikTok, even in my Sainsbury’s Local, and the conversations all went about the same and I was over the pleasantries, so I wrote about the things we only wish we could say.
Finally, we're coming round for dinner - what are you making?
Salt and pepper king prawns for starters, I’ll follow it up with a carbonara and loads of cheese, and beignets for dessert!
Saint Joshua's new single, 'Do U Ever Call?', is out on 10th November.