FOCUS: Josh Atkinson | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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North Yorkshire artist Josh Atkinson prepares to release his debut single, All I Can Do Is Dream. We find out all we can about his music, inspirations and future plans…

Who are you and where are you from?

My name is Josh Atkinson and I’m a singer-songwriter and guitarist from Carlton near Stokesley in North Yorkshire.

What is it you do?

Musically speaking, I write songs that can cover a wide range of topics and emotions. Songs of introspection and themes along the lines of positive blue sky thinking as well as songs in the usual realm of relationship/breakup kind of themes. For the past three years I’ve also been playing the lead guitar role in ‘Boro-based indie rock band Nice Guy.

How long have you been doing it?

This kind of question can easily become a long story as I have had stop start moments with playing guitar, especially in my younger years and in school for example, but I have played guitar close to religiously and have been writing my own songs solidly now for the past nine to 10 years at least. Of course, near the beginning not many songs are worth considering as doing it well…

I did also for a couple of years, up until fairly recently, try my hand at playing gigs in the local area, performing solo acoustic covers from a wide range of artists, styles and eras. So I believe that has counted towards a brilliant education in experiencing what good songcraft can be. The seeds were already planted however for what makes a good song from an early age. So the cogs have been subconsciously turning. By being exposed to brilliant music, in the family car or my Dad’s van for example. From hearing the likes of Fleetwood Mac, ELO, Abba, The Eagles, Queen, Elvis Presley, Talking Heads – the list goes on and on… You actually can’t go wrong, at least in my opinion, with any kind of Dad Rocks CD, by the way.

What inspires you?

Inspiration for me, like for many people, can come in strange ways. I get random lyric ideas and/or melodies when driving along sometimes. It borders on corny saying this, but it can  also be something like the way the sun shines through a window on a lovely day. It can hit me in a certain way and before I know it a song and some random idea can form. It’s very unpredictable, which many songwriters can relate to I’m sure. I also love listening to other singer-songwriters, bands and artists where I can hear ‘a bit of me’ in their style and their messages. That can be anyone from contemporary ones to what you could say is ‘older music’, as I mentioned before, thanks to my parents and their influence. Two stand-out examples for me, in the contemporary sense, are Flyte and Willie J Healey. The honourable mentions list would be outrageous so I’ll leave it at that.

Tell us about your music

I’m not exactly a genre-less artist but I do cross over with my songwriting. Through singer-songwriter stylings, to folk, to rock, to indie. Guitar is obviously at the forefront of my songs and production style but I’m also not an ‘all out’ guitarist. I love the idea of playing what serves the song and focusing on the lyrics and the messages or meanings. This kind of sounds obvious but vocal delivery is also such a key aspect of my music and vocally I have had the incredible honour of people referencing David Bowie, John Lennon and even Bob Dylan (their words not mine). I say this because I think that sometimes that aspect is lost in certain songs or styles and I personally don’t want people to not be able to listen to my intended message through my lyrics.

What have you got coming up in the future?

My first single is out on 23rd February and called All I Can Do Is Dream. For this and a few others, I have been working with the incredible multi-instrumentalist and local producer Paddy Jordan. In a way we’ve been working on one song at a time to initially see how it goes, but I would love to release an EP at some point. It would more than likely have on it a few of those songs as singles that I aim to release, along with some extra songs of mine. I have many to have a go at, as I have been writing and writing over many years. So an album is also a major goal of mine hopefully in the future. Must walk before I can run though. 

I also have a wonderful gig on 10th May lined up, supporting a brilliant band called  Moonlight Zoo at The Quakerhouse in Darlington. I aim to get myself out there, in terms of releasing music and physically being out there to play some gigs, once I have the realisation that I have music out there for people to listen to, if they want. I am ultimately extremely excited to be finally giving it a go, as they say.

Where can people find out more about you?

You can find me on Facebook by searching Josh Atkinson Music and on Instagram I currently go by @j_atko and on Youtube under @joshatkinsonmusic.

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