Joshua Radin is enjoying tremendous success as a passionate singer/songwriter who - less than five years ago - was a starving artist in New York City. Fueled by heartbreak and encouraged by friend and actor/director Zach Braff, Radin is now set to release his third album, Simple Times (recently declared the #1 download on iTunes) and head off on a world tour.
Joshua Radin is a graduate of Northwestern University.
It's no secret that broken hearts sell records. But, that's usually only the case for somewhat-established musicians.
Joshua Radin was a 20-something struggling screenwriter - with no musical background - when he experienced his first painful breakup in 2003. Living in New York City with no steady income, Radin was trying to make use of his degree from Northwestern University, pursuing a career in film. The split prompted an artistic distraction and inspired him to pen the lyrics for Winter, which he then performed at an open mic night.
The audience loved it and so did friend and fellow Northwestern alumnus, Zach Braff. At the time, Braff was bouncing ideas off Radin for the film Garden State and offered to pass Radin's music along to the producers of his hit TV show Scrubs. They used it in an episode and Radin was encouraged to keep writing and singing.
What followed was Radin's first CD, First Between 3rd and 4th, a predictably somber independent release about falling out of love. But the hushed tones were not simply for melodramatic effect - they were all he could produce to remain in good graces with his landlord.
"When I was living in New York I had a neighbor who would complain all of the time if I made noise when I wrote music. So I started writing stuff that was really quiet," Radin says. "I sort of adapted to the environment of the apartment. That had a lot to do with the sound."
It turns out that a soured relationship and an irate neighbor were the best things to happen to Radin who - in short order - moved to Los Angeles, wrote a second album (We Were There), got signed by Columbia
Records (amid a five-way bidding war), fell in love (again), toured with Tori Amos, Sara Bareilles and KT Tunstall (among others), fell out of love (again) and just finished his third album (Simple Times).
Of his two failed romances, Radin says "I guess you martyr yourself personally for the creative [process.]"
But despite the pitfalls, the now 34-year old Radin says Simple Times was inspired by his positive experiences with love. Its contents, which include the bittersweet "You've Got Growing Up to Do," a duet with Patty Griffin, have been well received by both music critics and his steadily growing fan base on iTunes, MySpace and Facebook. And though Radin is single again, he receives regular marriage proposals in the form of online posts (should Radin choose to go the groupie route for his next relationship).
Joshua Radin will release his third album on September 30.
Also fans of his melodic vocals are newlyweds Ellen Degeneres and Portia De Rossi who, after performing on The Ellen Show in January 2008, invited Radin to entertain guests at their super-private wedding reception.
"[Ellen] approached me after the show and asked me to play at her wedding," recalls Radin. "I thought she was joking, but then a few days before [the ceremony] she called to confirm. Fortunately, I had a night off so I went, did five or six songs, ate some vegan red velvet cake...it was cool."
Simple Times will be released September 30, sweeping Radin into a year-long world tour which begins in the United States and stretches to three other continents. It's a far cry from just a few short years ago when Radin says he was sometimes living off five dollars a day and thwarting calls from his worried parents.
"I'm the luckiest person ever," Radin admits. "My bass player asked me yesterday if I thought I'd spent my past life as a medieval serf, chained in a basement and so this is how I'm being rewarded. I said 'probably.'"
Josh Radin is coming to a campus near you.
Check out his Fall Tour Schedule and listen to his new single.