“As a writer I feel that my job isn’t just to tell stories, I also want to honor each story by telling it in the best way possible. As a writer, I feel that if you limit yourself to one genre or one way of writing, you limit yourself and your songs to a very specific range of emotions and textures. It’s like painting pictures using the same one or two colors, instead of allowing the story to dictate the emotional landscape you’re creating for that particular song and pulling from as many different genres, colors and textures as you can to highlight the story that wants to be told. With these new songs, I mixed a lot of different elements from different genres together to best fit the stories and the emotional life in each song.”
Despite his young age, Canadian singer songwriter Josh Taerk appears wise beyond his years in his way of storytelling, much like his idols Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, and Bob Dylan, as he explained to me in an email interview the difference in sound between his first album and his latest single, “Anywhere Love Took Us.” The singer’s most recent single, which was released in October of 2016, takes listeners on a nostalgic trip to the back of their minds where memories of first love reside, as they’re reminded of what it felt like to be young and so in love that you didn’t care about anything else. In our email interview, Josh relayed the story of how the song came together.
“My new single, “Anywhere Love Took Us” I wrote with my producer Teddy Morgan and a good friend of ours, Jack Williams. I had just finished a writing session with Teddy and the two of us were waiting for Jack to come by to start a new song. So, while we were waiting, I started playing around on my guitar and eventually started playing this lick. Teddy suddenly stopped me and said “Play that again.” so I did. That lick became the main guitar part for the song, and really set up the tone and feel of the lyrics.
When Jack got there I played him the lick, he loved it, and right away we started in on the song. To me, that guitar part always had an upbeat, rhythmic, top down driving down the highway kind of feel to it but also had this reflective quality as well. So the song really took shape around the idea of moving forward in a relationship by remembering how it all began: with love. I remember getting to the first chorus and Jack going “How about, “Anywhere Love Took Us” you know like, remember all the good times we had, when we were young and in love and went Anywhere Love Took Us?” That title really tied everything together.”
When creating this particular song, the singer explained his goal was to stretch the definition of love so as not to tell the same story over and over again, but to really add a unique way of looking at love. The idea of telling the story from the point of view of looking back in order to move forward and remembering that it takes two people who are up for the ride to make a relationship work isn’t just an interesting approach, but also makes the song that much more relatable. The song itself is catchy, upbeat and well-written, the way any good pop-rock song should be. When asked, Taerk sites (aside from Springsteen, Young & Dylan) Zac Brown Band, Keith Urban, Tom Petty, and The Eagles among his musical influences. Listeners will definitely hear those influences when listening to “Anywhere Love Took Us” since there are undeniable similarities in regards to their lighthearted tempos and their storyteller lyrics.
When I asked Josh about the direction he plans to take in regards to his sound, whether he would continue with the tone he set on “Anywhere Love Took Us” or explore other options, he replied by saying that, “I consider myself a writer first, and for me it all starts with the songs. When we get to the production stage of any song or project, I like to hone in on the emotional life of each individual song and build the production so that it amplifies the story and message in each track. All the songs I write still have elements of rock music in them because I love that kind of music, and that’s a big part of who I am as a writer and an artist, but those elements play out differently depending on where I’m at and the story that I’m telling at that moment.”
While another single should be released soon, Josh isn’t looking to release an EP or full length album until later this year, likely either spring or summer. Until then, the Canadian native is busy touring the U.S. and the U.K., where he’s been touring since 2011. When discussing the difference in music scenes, Josh described how growing up in Canada and getting to tour other countries has helped him grow as a songwriter and as an artist.
“I believe that you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been, and growing up in Toronto has definitely shaped a lot of the person and artist that I’ve become. Your experiences shape the way you see things as you grow up and if I hadn’t grown up in Canada and experienced things from the perspective of a Canadian branching out into the world and following his dreams, my songwriting style and approach would have been very different. Being able to tour through the U.K. and the U.S. has been amazing for a lot of reasons, one of them being that experiencing the music scenes in both countries allows me to find new inspiration and new ways of approaching music that I can then use in my songwriting. Canada has a very vibrant music scene and a lot of great artists and bands have come out of Canada like Joni Mitchel, Neil Young, Rush, Bryan Adams; just to name a few. There is a very rich heritage when it comes to music in Canada and I want to honor that heritage in my own writing while at the same time taking that heritage to new places and mixing in elements of the person I was, the person I am and the person I am becoming.”
Josh Taerk is a talented singer songwriter with the potential to follow in the footsteps of any one of his musical influences. He has a vision of who he wants to be as an artist while still understanding that it’s all about where the songs take him. He’s also very aware of the impact social media is having on (especially up and coming) artists like himself, and embraces the technology in order to interact with his fans. No doubt Taerk is someone to keep your eye on.
“It’s really important to me that my fans feel a part of what I am doing, and with social media we have the ability to communicate with each other from anywhere in the world. What I ultimately want to do as a writer, singer and performer is connect with people through my music. I want to start conversations, get people thinking about things in ways they maybe wouldn’t have before, let them know that someone else out there has been through or experienced what they’re feeling, thinking and experiencing. There is no better feeling as a writer then knowing your songs have affected people in a positive way, and all the comments, likes, retweets, mentions, etc. inspire me to continually hone my craft.”