Interview: Josh Shilling

  So I guess after a few years of pop and mainstream country writing and all the other genres I've played in and written for in the past, you can say I've written tunes for a large part of the music spectrum. Back to your question, songwriting is part of me...I love it and even when it's not profitable, which is almost always, I can't stop it. Making people look at me as an artist however, has been difficult and it's still something I struggle with today. I love getting calls to write or be the voice for a project as opposed to being the piano player on the session.

Many musical artists rely on songwriters to compose their material. You are one of the gems in the music world that writes your own material. How old where you when you started writing your own music and how have you seen it evolve over the years?

hahaha I think I covered most of this question in my previous answer.

  Your early music studies covered much of the music in rock, jazz, and country. How have each of these styles of music impacted the music you write and perform today?

I kind of touched on this in that last answer but I'll add to it. Working in bluegrass with a few extremely talented and very traditional bluegrass artists has allowed me to get to know the roots of the genre. There's a certain approach to songwriting and playing that seems to turn the "grassers" on that might wouldn't excite a country or rock singer. That trend is the same in every different style I've worked in. When writing a beach tune, there's certain chord voicings that work so well for the rhythm sections and the type of melodies they love and even certain keys that are better for horn sections or guitars. I mean if you want to excite Jason Aldean, tune your guitar down a half step and play out of Drop D. You get a nasty, southern sound that fits him. This idea is the same with every artist and genre. There are certain methods for crafting lyrics and subject matter for every style of music and I think I've been blessed to have been involved with so many different ones. However, all of this is out the window when it comes to a good song I think. A great tune should be able to transcend all genres no matter the artist or musical production.

  Do you find it more challenging to write a song alone or to co-write it with another?

I think both are equally challenging. Working with a co-writer can be like dating. It's like a chess match sometimes trying to figure out what they like, what they hate, and what excites them lyrically or melodically. Although it can be touchy at times, having a co-writer present can also take you down a path you would've never gone. Having two or more brains on something is almost always a good thing and I love co-writing. Sometimes however, certain songs are so personal that you need to write them alone. I've had tunes that I felt might wouldn't turn out like I wanted if I worked with someone else. So I guess it's a toss up for me. I know often I have a hard time completing a song alone. It's almost like I need that other opinion to just listen and read the lyrics to assure me "yes, this is good". These days I do both all the time. 

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