This week on The Songwriter Series, The Vandals are pleased to have one of South Africa’s strongest live performers – Cape Town blues/folk singer Joshua Grierson.
Here’s what he had to say.
At what point did you know that you wanted to be a songwriter professionally? Was there something that made you realise it was the best thing for you?
“At no point in my youth, did I make the decision to be what I am. But a series of events led me to understand that my greatest gift was to be a performer and reflect a life of creative utterings; besides, it is as natural to me, as it is for most people to breathe.”
Your long-awaited debut album will be out later this year. What do you hope people take from a Joshua Grierson record?
“Strange Heart deals with the day-to-day trials and tribulations; the everyman/woman fighting to survive on the street, in the office, in love and in the mind.”
Is there a song on your setlist that you look forward to playing a little bit more than the others?
“They all have a special place in my heart, and form part of the collective whole. Each song is a beacon or footstep of where I have come from and where I am going.”
Can you think of a gig, or a moment during a performance, when you realised you were doing something bigger than you had been before?
“No I cannot, but when I realised that I could tap into my spirit and go beyond my ageing skin, I knew I could reveal my true brutally honest self to complete strangers, and that satisfied my soul. The fact that people I’ve heard thay my shows can be seen as a spiritual experience, makes me realise that all my hard work (and actually just being myself), is what people truly want to see and hear!”
What are Red Boots, as you mean them in your song of the same name?
“Maybe my idiosyncrasies – I honestly cannot say.”
Is there a song that you wish you’d written?
“Rufus Wainwright’s ‘Beautiful Child'”
Please describe what it is that you experience when you’re on stage.
“It is very relative to the audience I am playing to on each particular night, but a general sense of catharsis is always present in my presentation of songs, lyrics and body language. I come naked before the audience and I hope they don’t laugh at my stretch marks.
I want to have a conversation with my audience and conversation, whether in a bar or the bedroom, is always a dance.”
Is there a songwriter who you love, that you wish more people had heard of?
“In SA: Darren Roderick. The world: Piers Faccini.”
Check back this Friday as Joshua Grierson, one of South Africa’s most renowned up and coming live acts, makes us a playlist of his top 5 live performers ever.
Or better yet, see him play live on the legendary Oppikoppi festival stage this Thursday night. Details on his Facebook page.
Last week: Matthew Mayfield