Josh Savage has won various accolades; the most impressive of them being that he has played the most Sofar Sounds living room gigs of anyone. Ever. Anywhere.
Growing up in Paris and moving to Winchester, England at the age of 12, Josh set himself on his path into music from a young age, learning piano, trumpet and guitar while growing up. Always the outsider (English in France, French in England), he found himself dodging bullies and turning to music to find peace.
Learning to sing from a strict choirmaster in Paris and doing a degree in music at York University, he began gigging furiously when he was young, and has never stopped. He claims that the Sofar Sounds thing started when he played a living room gig in Oxford through the platform and was touched that, different to fighting through the noise in pubs and bars, the crowd stayed quiet and listened to every word. So he went back to Winchester and ended up running Sofar Sounds there and then also in Southampton.
A pure, lifting voice that holds within it a particular fragility
Relying less on gimmicks and trends, he realised quickly that what would get him through would be hard work: he took the Sofar Sounds connection and worked it relentlessly. A singer-songwriter in the classic mold, albeit one with a pure, lifting voice that holds within it a particular fragility, as if he’s constantly asking the same set of questions and hoping always for a different answer in return, he has ended up being played on radio stations including BBC Radio 2, BBC Introducing and BBC 6 music. Going the independent route, he managed to accumulate over 2.5 million plays on Spotify – without any managers, labels or PR teams at his back.
It’s probably – in part anyway – his searingly honest approach to life, which proclaims itself in every song, and in every conversation. The Brexit referendum result in 2016 brought Josh to move to Berlin, from where he has carried on touring around Europe and the world.
He embarked on a US tour with “just 3 gigs actually confirmed”…which turned into over 30, including SXSW
And there’s a touch of bravery as well: He embarked on a US tour with “just 3 gigs actually confirmed”. Travelling by himself on Greyhound buses, with a guitar, a camera and a fistful of hope, his three confirmed gigs turned into over 30, including a performance at the legendary SXSW festival. The same year he played a total of 79 shows in 5 months, playing every night for endless weeks – sometimes fitting in two shows a day. In all he’s played over 600 shows on 5 continents supporting amongst others Tokio Myers, Jack Savoretti, Benjamin Francis Leftwich, John Hiatt, Razorlight, Catfish & The Bottlemen and Ward Thomas.
He has also worked with producers Julian Simmons (Ed Sheeran, Beth Rowley, Guillemots) and Matt Ingram (Florence & The Machine, Laura Marling, Jordan Mackampa)
To sum it up: he’s put in the work. Least you can do is give him a chance. Have a gander at the documentary here below about his touring activities, and pop along when next he plays in Berlin (or wherever you are).
Noel Maurice is one of the founders of indieberlin. Originally from the UK via a childhood in Johannesburg, he has been resident in Berlin since 1991. Describing himself as a ‘recovering musician’, he is the author of The Berlin Diaires, a trilogy detailing the East Berlin art and squat scene of the early 90s, available on Amazon and through this site.