Wednesday, November 15

Rising Artist - Joshua Lee

Each month one deserving Staff Pick artist or band is chosen as a Rising Artist and receives the following: 

- Full year's membership from Musician's Atlas (the music industry's most reliable contact database service)
- Playlist spot in the Top 100 and other popular stations on Jango Radio App /
- 1000 play credits awarded to artist account
- Artist feature promoted on Radio Airplay blog, weekly newsletter, and social media outlets

We're happy to introduce you to the newest Radio Airplay Rising Artist, Joshua Lee - A talented musician who after years of being a successful sideman in many touring bands, has decided to put out his own music, and we're so glad he did! 

After 14 years of fifteen-passenger vans, tour buses, and side man gigs, Joshua Lee left Nashville with his young family and headed to West Virginia, trading screaming fans for screaming kids. After a difficult transition, Lee nearly left the music life behind entirely, but he began to write again and in doing so found his own musical voice. In his old life, Lee might have sought collaborators to start a band, but having difficulty finding enough like-minded musicians, he focused instead on discovering himself as a solo artist, something he’d never tried before. Playing solo shows in the Ohio Valley area led to a new confidence in his ability as a singer-songwriter and to a new group of musical collaborators. Now, with the help of the collective of independent local artists he helped found (, he is sharing his experience, and working to grow a thriving original music scene in small town America.

On his debut EP, Promise Land (June 2017), Joshua wrestles with questions of loss and cautiously reaches for hope rather than despair. Recorded mostly at home, and self-produced along with Trae Gunter (Guitars, Randy Montana, Jacob Thomas Jr.), he finds himself searching for his own sound by mining the territories of folk rock and heartland rock and blending in synths and ambient guitars. Hints of The National supplement more traditional song forms in the spirit of Ryan Adams and Tom Petty.

Get to know Joshua Lee, where he draws his inspiration, and what he's got cooking for the future in our newest feature:

My Mind's Made Up is a beautiful song. Can you tell me a little bit about what inspired you to write the song, and the recording process?
Thank you. This song honestly just sort of spilled out. Every once in awhile a song almost seems to happen to you. My family moved north several years ago, so there's some degree of personal truth here questioning did we make the right decision in moving somewhere new. It's definitely inspired by that move, but the story took on a life of it's own as it came out.

Is the song part of a larger recording project? 
My Mind's Made Up is the 3rd of 6 tracks on my debut EP, Promise Land. (June 2017)

Do you play any instruments in the band? 
I played most of the instruments on the EP. There are a couple guitars on this track that were recorded by my friend and co-producer Trae Gunter. Trae also played the bass, and a keyboard part on this song.

What are some of your fondest musical memories?
As a side-man in Nashville I had some really amazing opportunities. I got to play the Ryman a few times which was really incredible. I also did some pretty big tours where we played to some massive crowds in stadiums and arenas. More recently, though the cd release party for Promise Land was really incredible. I did a joint release party with my friend Michael Iafrate. We filled a small theatre and it was just an amazing night. I'll never forget it.

Who is an artist that has changed the way you feel about music? 
There are two that really come to mind right away. Radiohead changed my outlook when I first discovered Ok Computer and The Bends. Those records really opened my mind to more interesting arranging, and to producing tracks with space. After that, Ryan Adams really opened me up to songwriting styles with more of a root in Folk, Americana, etc...

What has been the highlight of 2017 so far, either for you personally or for you music career?
Definitely releasing my first EP. I couldn't be more proud of how it turned out, and I'm really excited to start the next one.

Where are you currently based out of? Is there a good music scene in your community? Do you play gigs regularly? 
I'm currently working out of Wheeling, WV. The scene is interesting, there hasn't been a large original music scene, but it has been growing recently. There's several really great acts working out of the Wheeling area right now (check out the Bridge+Tunnel Collective), and I think it's a pretty cool time to be a part of it. Unfortunately as I write this, our family is getting ready to relocate to the Marietta, Ohio/Parkersburg WV area, so there's about to be some big changes. I do try and play gigs regularly, but I'm also trying to balance with family life, so I don't do extensive touring.

What do you like more: Performing live or recording in the studio?
I go through cycles. At times I'm much more excited to perform, and other times I get on a roll in the studio and like to just hole up and record.

What are some artists or bands you're currently listening to?
Lately I can't get enough of The War On Drugs, The National, The Barr Brothers, and Phoebe Bridgers. 

What do you enjoy doing outside of music? Does your hobby rejuvenate your creativity?
I spend most of my free time with 3 young sons. I definitely pull inspiration from my family life.

Any upcoming releases or gigs you’re excited about? Can you give us a little hint to what you’ve got in store for your musical future? 
I hope to start my next EP and try and get it out in the spring of 2018. I'm excited to connect with another new music scene in the Mid Ohio Valley, and I'm excited about a new project I may be starting with some old friends.

What do you like the most about Radio Airplay?
I love that you guys provide opportunities for independent artists to connect with potential fans. It's sites like yours that make being an independent artist possible.

Check out Joshua Lee's lyric video for another song from the EP, Promise Land!