“According to our ears he could very well be one of those artists that stands by himself musically, a la John Mayer and Josh Groban.”
-‘615 Spotlight’ series, Billboard Magazine
“There was just a magic that used to go on, and it still happens on occasion, like I was saying with this Josh Doyle… He came in the studio, and all it was is him playing acoustic guitar – done. No charts, no arrangements or anything. It was so on fire and so great, we cut 10 tracks and did his album. This guy just kept pulling songs – he was writing. Then when the guy sits down to play and we’d say, ‘Well, it’s just a run through,’ every time he opens his mouth, it’s a performance.”
-Leland Sklar (Legendary bassist for James Taylor, Warren Zevon, Jackson Browne)
“Josh Doyle is the talk of the town right now… you have to see him for yourself.”
-Nashville Lifestyles magazine (named Josh to their ’20 Musicians to Watch in 2013) list)
British-born Nashville transplant Josh Doyle is taking the “next big thing” buzz with a dose of humility:
“When people say that kind of thing, a big part of you is saying ‘Man, that is unbelievable, and the other side of you is saying ‘I can’t wait for other people to see this, so I’m not just saying this about myself,” he says with a charismatic smile. “It also encourages me to get better, and leave a mark.”
The UK native has been making these kinds of impressions upon people since his early teenage years. He actually saved his lunch money to buy studio time – at the age of thirteen. His love of music continued through his high school years and into college. It was while attending Chichester University that he founded the group The Dumdums as vocalist and guitarist. Success would come quickly to the group, as their MCA Records debut It Goes Without Saying spawned four top 30 hits in the UK. In addition, their success led to sharing the stage with acts such as Robbie Williams and Bon Jovi.
Their success was huge, but short-lived. The group broke up while working on their follow-up album. He ended up moving from England to Nashville with his wife in 2004, and they lived for a while off of the money Josh earned in the band. After a few years though, Josh was forced to get a job waiting tables. Josh admits he didn’t handle it to well. “It was really hard. My wife made me see a counselor. I think I was just being dramatic, but I was very depressed about it. I actually did an interview where they said ‘What kind of drugs are you into?’ The funny thing was even during the band days, I never got into the drink or the drugs, but it was when I was waiting tables that I started drinking. So, it was hard, but it keeps you humble,” he said.
Looking back, the experience was not all negative. “The thing about going back in and working at the lower end of the pay scale was that you suddenly get ‘it.’ You get life, and what everyone has to struggle with. I was straight out of a university to be a pampered pop star, then into the real world. You got to have credit, you’ve got to pay the bills, and you see how the world thinks. It helps you in writing songs, because you understand where people are coming from in their life. I think a lot of the pop stars just sing ‘ I love you, you love me,’ but it gave me an opportunity to delve down deep into my emotions and get real.”
Even through the difficulties involved in his move to Nashville, it was there that he was inspired to sharpen his writing skills. In February of 2012, Josh was named Guitar Center’s “Top Undiscovered Singer-Songwriter,” helping him land a recording session with John Shanks (Grammy Producer of the Year, 45 #1 singles, 91 #1 albums). Shanks was only supposed to record 4 songs with Josh, but he was so impressed with Doyle’s talent that they recorded 10 songs together in 4 days – creating Josh’s self-titled debut album Josh Doyle (CTK Records/Corporate Ogre Records). “When I heard Josh…I thought he was vulnerable, I thought there was a fragility in his artistry, and there was just something courageous in his writing that I really liked,” Shanks said. He went on “there is just something real and earnest about that experience, when you listen to him, that I responded to.”
How does Josh describe his sound? “I like all kinds of music,” he says. “I always bring up Pearl Jam because I like how Eddie Vedder has the versatility in his voice to do real mellow emotional stuff, and then he can turn it up, scream and get punky. That makes concerts more exciting. It’s not just one pace the whole time. Even people like Cat Stevens would bring the funk up, then take it down. Musically, I come from rock, but I also play mellow stuff. I’m pretty passionate.”
That passion – from sacrificing his lunch money, to playing at the legendary Wembley Stadium, back to waiting tables in Music City, and now to his new resurgence on the music scene – is what has kept him going.
“You have that self-belief, and maybe that’s what gets you through the hard times, as well. When I was in the ‘wilderness’ there were always people who were saying ‘this song helped me through this or that.’ There were even fans that got tattoos of my lyrics long after the band split up. When I could see that others were still passionate for me to keep going, those things became stepping stones to get to where I am now.”
Josh’s growing reputation as a compelling live performer has not only fanned the flames of the industry buzz but recently led to his first network TV appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live and CBS This Morning. His inspiring, “Cinderella Man” story of persistence against the odds has led to an album layered with deep insight and arena-sized hooks. Now teamed up with CTK Management (Dolly Parton), Neil Warnock (CEO, The Agency Group) and Steve Homer (VP, Live Nation UK), the next chapter is bound to be the greatest for Josh Doyle.