A singer with a poet's heart and an ex-Marine's work ethic
Josh Gracin has a diverse and impressive set of skills. The most obvious is the voice that captured the attention of millions of American Idol fans during his season two run on what has become an American cultural phenomenon. His all-American good looks, earnest charm and passionate vocal style earned him a devoted legion of fans, but beyond the stage, Gracin possesses a poet’s heart and an ex-Marine’s discipline and work ethic. It’s that potent combination of talent and tenacity that set Gracin apart and is fueling the newest chapter in his career.
“I want to sing. I want to write. I want to produce. I want to put myself on the chopping block,” says Gracin, who recently signed with Average Joe’s Entertainment. Signing with an independent record label feels like the right fit for Josh, allowing him room to grow and challenge himself while still providing structure and an outlet for his product.
Gracin has always had an independent streak and a creative maverick spirit that has served him well. As a child, Gracin listened to and sang Rhythm & Blues, Motown and oldies. Around 12 years old, he had a revelation when he was introduced to Garth Brooks on country radio, and he has never turned back. “There’s not another genre that better reflects situations in my life,” he reflects.
A Michigan native who grew up listening to country and R&B music, Gracin auditioned for Idol (placing fourth on season two) while serving in the Marine Corps. Following his run on American Idol and the completion of his military service, he signed with Lyric Street Records and released his self-titled debut album in June 2004. The album was RIAA-certified gold and spawned three top five singles—“I Want to Live,” “Stay With Me (Brass Bed),” and the No. 1 hit “Nothin’ to Lose.”
Gracin’s highly-anticipated sophomore effort, We Weren’t Crazy, was released in 2008 and delivered title track, “We Weren’t Crazy,” the ballad “Unbelievable (Ann Marie),” written solely by Gracin about his wife, and fan favorite “Favorite State of Mind.” Gracin has lent his vocals to The Disney Songbook on “When I See An Elephant Fly” with Jim Brickman and the soundtrack to Herbie: Fully Loaded on “Working for the Weekend.”
Combining substantive lyrics about the realities of every day life with the soulful vocal style that has always been at the heart of his artistry has resulted in a compelling new collection, produced by Gracin and longtime musical collaborator, his drummer, Kevin Murphy.
“Kevin comes from a rock background, so he’s able to bring in that influence, which I love,” Gracin shares. “We’ve worked together for almost four years, so we’ve had the time to figure out how to extract the best material from within ourselves when we’re together in the studio or sit down to craft a song.”
Sonically, Gracin’s new project has a very fresh, unique sound. “We aimed to paint that picture and give it a feel that everything is in the room with you,” he says of the album, which he recorded with his road band. “I love those guys and I love having them on the record,” states Gracin. “The band was able to live with the songs and given the artistic freedom to bring in their interpretation to the music.”
All songs on the album are identifiable slices of life that listeners can readily embrace, including family life, lost love and romance. Gracin’s favorite out of the collection is the poignant ballad “Enough.” “Writing this song felt like a turning point artistically. I was better able to take what was going on in my head and get it onto paper in a way I feel is relatable to so many.”
The new single, “Over Me,” is a track that he penned that speaks to the pains associated with losing a love, and Gracin says it was a natural selection to be a lead single from the album. “‘Over Me’ is a very special song to me. It was the first song I wrote on my own that I truly felt told a story about a moment in my life. My favorite line in the song ‘is there nothing left in you for me at all’ took me right back to that moment in the snow where I lost the most important person in my life only to marry her two years later.”
This new album shows the growth of Josh Gracin as a writer, producer and artist. From the early days of growing up in Michigan to now being a father of four, Gracin has taken everything and poured it all into REDEMPTION. The maturity in Gracin’s work is undeniable and people will hear the difference.
Nothin' to Lose
Can't Say Goodbye