Exclusive Interview: Josh Kumra
Jsky Meets Josh Kumra
Fads come and go. New styles emerge and die out. Amidst an ever-changing sea of new artists, genres and technology it has become increasingly difficult for credible musicians to build a sustainable career in the music business.
Josh Kumra is a new artist that chose to stay true to his singer/songwriter roots; something most artists find difficult when faced with the pressures of a major record label and life on the road. His first release Don’t Go alongside Wretch 32 reached number 1 on the official UK charts, but it wasn’t until the release of Kumra’s solo version, and his later album releases Helicopters And Planes and Waiting For You that it became apparent just how much potential this young Swindon talent harnessed.
So…how long have you been doing music for?
I’ve been doing music for about 10 years, but professionally I would say about 4-5 years.
What was it like working with Wretch 32? How did that come about?
Erm, the Wretch 32 collaboration came about when I moved up to London from my home town of Swindon. Within about 2 weeks I got a phone call from Wretch saying ‘I’ve heard your song Don’t Go, and I’d love to rap on it’. So we did that. I had heard Traktor which had just come out (it was number 5) and I was a big fan of his. What we did in the studio that day when I first met him became the single [Don’t Go] which went to number one. It was crazy.
Do you ever get sick of performing it [Don’t Go]?
No, because I did a lot of performances with Wretch that was to big crowds with a big band and T4 On The Beach and stuff like that…but now I’m playing my own version; the original version. There probably will come a time when I will get sick of it but at the moment it’s a nice transition from playing the Wretch version to this because they’re 2 different songs in my opinion.
Do you have any other big collaborations lined up, or are you hoping to work with anyone in particular one day?
I haven’t got anything big yet because I just wanted to my make my first album just focusing on me mainly. It sounds a bit selfish but I wanted to make a statement. The girl who I co-wrote Don’t Go with, Mayday actually has a lovely voice and she sings on a couple of songs. Mr Hudson also sings on a couple of songs as well doing backing vocals, and he produced the album too. I’d love to work with Norah Jones. For one she’s a great singer, and two she’s hot, so it’s a great way to get to know someone.
How have you adjusted to life on the road? What have you been getting up to?
Touring is my thing. Everything I do in the studio is to help me get on the road. So now the debut album is getting finished I’m just looking forward to touring. Manchester’s got the ski slope right? [Chill Factor Indoor Ski Slope] Yeah I went there, it was sick. Are you not scared of heights? No, not really. We had a day off in Manchester so we went and did a bit of skiing, which was cool. I love skiing. It was a shock to me to know that was here. We have indoor sky diving too. Yeah that’s next to it right? I’d love to do proper skydiving. I want to do a music video that’s just me with a guitar, jumping out of a plane.
Do you prefer to perform on television, festivals or more intimate settings and smaller venues? What’s your ideal crowd.
I’ve actually been supporting a brilliant artist called Lianne La Havas…she’s amazing, and that was huge. For me, it’s not about the size of the crowd though. It’s all about the connection and if they love music. I mean, I’ve played some gigs where it’s like all they want to do is get a drink and have a mental time. But then I’ve played some other gigs where it’s been literally from the first note I played on the guitar to the last note they just listened. I could have literally played there for 24 hours straight. When it’s like that it’s easy.
You’re just on the brink of what could be a huge year…how much would it take for you to be happy as an artist? When will you feel like this is it, I’ve made it?
I’ll answer that in 2. To your first question, when will I be happy…I feel happy anyway man. I feel really privileged to be doing what I love. Growing up I never really left myself any opportunity to fail; I haven’t got a plan B. To be able to go on the road and make music and have people appreciate it…that makes me happy straightaway. In terms of growing and in terms of goals, I hope that one day I make music that will outlive me. I’d love for people to listen to my music when I’m not here. That would be magical.