Nothing I like better than a good conversation with a good dude. Life comes at you fast and things are always changing, Josh Bricker is a prime example of that. After being a writer on the viral hit "Gone Too Soon" by Andrew Jannakos, and getting great traction on his single "These Hands", much deserved doors are beginning to open for Josh. Very excited to see what comes next. I sat down with Josh and talked about transitioning from college baseball to music, owning his own business, and how Kurt Cobain and Keith Whitley have influenced his music.
Get To Know Josh
"I'm originally from Columbus, Georgia which is a little bit further south than Athens. I grew up listening to all kinds of music. There are videos of me in diapers singing "Life in the Fast Lane" by the Eagles. I was raised on Classic Rock and Funk. My dad would play Country Music. He made it pretty far in the music business back in 1984 and 85. Things didn't pan out for him so he moved back to Georgia. My dad always played guitar around me. At first, I played the drums and played in church bands and things like that. One day, I was really determined to learn guitar so I started teaching myself. I learned by ear and by watching people's hands while they played on YouTube. There was no turning back from there. I didn't really get into Country Music until college. I went to LaGrange College, where I played baseball for 4 years. One day I was playing random stuff and thought "wait... am I writing a song right now?". A lot of what I played coming up was traditional country like Keith Whitley, Merle Haggard; drunk bar songs is what I call them. I moved to Athens to pursue a Bachelor's Degree. While I was there, I met some people in the music scene and while playing shows. I realized the music I was writing was actually making an impact on people and helped me meet new people. It helped me expand my way of writing. That turned into co-writing and now I've changed my genre to this edgy pop-country. I still play the original stuff for fun, but the music I write is pretty "radio mainstream". Now I'm really trying to get into the Nashville scene. Writing the song with Andrew Jannakos, "Gone Too Soon", has completely changed my life forever. It has opened some doors for me. I love the artist thing! It's a passion of mine. Performing up on stage with people singing your songs back to you is an amazing feeling. Songwriting definitely has my focus; sitting down and writing a song people can relate to is a feeling I can't even describe. I do my music thing and I’m getting ready to get on the road again. I am writing almost everyday and was fortunate to learn how to do tracks during quarantine, so I produce now as well. Been enjoying time with my dog and wife and hopefully will be in Nashville soon."
Nothing I like more than someone who is willing to push boundaries and isn't afraid to say what they are thinking. "These Hands" gets hot and heavy and is very sexual. A ton of songwriters may think about writing songs like this, but don't because of what people will think or how the song will be perceived. Josh said fuck it and it's working out in his favor. With lines like "tuck your hairs 'hind your ears brush your neck real slow" and "these hands gon take their time follow every curve, crossin' lines where the sun don't shine" describe an intimate sexual experience without leaving out any detail. Intertwining catchy and mysterious tracks with Josh's persuasive tone, "These Hands" will have any girl feeling hot and bothered. Since being released on May 28th "These Hands" has surpassed 46,308 streams on Spotify and is still climbing. In a Nashville scene that is thriving with Pop Country acts, Josh Bricker has a great opportunity to make some moves.
Inspiration Behind "These Hands"
Written By: Josh Bricker, Kyle Clark & Alex Smith, Produced By: Alex Smith
"The song "These Hands" came about almost two and a half years ago. I wrote it with Kyle Clark who was a writer on "Villain" for Lily Rose, and Alex Smith who is big on Andrew's (Jannakos) EP that just came out. Two really great friends of mine. We met up one day and tried to figure out what the title was going to be. I’d written a title on my phone the day before called "these hands". The guys thought it was going to be some Merle Haggard vibes about working in a field all day. I was thinking of a song about "yeah these hands do this stuff, but they are supposed to do more than that - like love on a woman or a significant other, and provide life. We played some chords, hummed some melodies and next thing you know, half way through the write, we asked each other "how far should we take this?". If you know me, you know that I will push the envelope. It’s because I'm not afraid to say things other people won't. I said "let's go to that line, go real close but not over it. That way we can still put it out". Like the line in the song, "crossing every line where the sun don't shine", that's a pretty risky line. I've learned that a high percentage of Country Music listeners are females. If you can say something sexy in a different way, people will go nuts. "These Hands" took about 8 hours to write, one of the longest writes I've ever been in. We wanted to make sure every line hit and was right. It's so crazy that two and a half years later I released it. I feel that with the production it really came to life."
Q & A With Josh Bricker
Q: What was your "light bulb" moment that you knew you wanted to pursue music?
A: "The light bulb moment for me was the first show I ever played out in Athens, Georgia. It was at Butt Hutt BBQ. This guy asked me if I wanted to play and said we would go back and forth on songs. I told him I would do it. A ton of people showed up. I was playing all covers and finally got to an original. I didn't know if anyone would like it - especially because it was slower. I played it and the whole room got quiet; everyone was listening to every word. After it was over, people went nuts and were clapping. I had a moment where I was like "if I just touched this room of people who are eating and drinking beer and got them quiet, imagine if I put all my effort into this and got better everyday". From that moment, I was all in. I was calling venues, telling them I would play for a $50 bar tab. Then the Georgia Theater called to see if I wanted to play on the rooftop before the headliner. It was a full band - which I didn't have. I had to get one together quickly. We practiced for like a week, then went out and performed. From there we did a lot of “Battle of the Bands” and I really honed in on bettering my craft of songwriting."
Q: What's one thing that most people don't know about you?
A: "Most people don't know that I actually own my own business. I went to LaGrange and earned my Exercise Science degree. I got my Masters at Georgia, in Kinesiology. I started working at this place in Athens called SPARC and became the director of Sports Performance. I worked with people from youth to pro athletes. After three years of that, I started my own gym business. What I do during the day is train people and have fun. Then I come home, write songs and have even more fun. One thing that's always been important to me is helping people. Coming from an athletic background, this was a good way to do that. Helping other people is amazing and you'd be surprised with how many ideas I get from talking to clients. People close to me know that, but most people think I just do music."
Q: Who are some artists and songwriters who influence your music?
A: "I think first and foremost, I have to tip my cap to Keith Whitley. I think he's one of the most underrated performers ... like the younger generation has no idea who he is. So Keith Whitley, when I first sat and listened to his lyrics, really pulled at my heartstrings - big time. There is also Brantley Gilbert who was one of the first people I ever heard play live. It blew my mind away. Even in today's country, one of my favorite songwriters is of course HARDY. When I write upbeat songs, it's definitely Morgan Wallen and HARDY vibes. Those guys, the way they can flip words and be quick with it, is amazing. Another influence is Kurt Cobain from Nirvana. I was big on how great his voice was, but also how heavy they could be as a rock band. Mixture of music culture for sure."
Q: If you could go back 5 years what advice would you give your younger self?
A: "Probably music wise, I would have started writing songs sooner than I did. I’d be more open about what to write and things like that. Also, I would give myself the advice of not being afraid to be told no. Like if you go to Nashville and try to write with some songwriters who are a little higher up and they say no, it doesn't mean they will say no later on. When you have a number one out, things can change. You take those moments when you are disappointed and figure out a way to flip it so it's beneficial for you."