"The Golden Boy"
The date is August 01, 2019 and as I wake up for work that morning. I knew that this Thursday would be a long and eventful day. I hop out of bed, get dressed, and head off to work. I had been racking my brain trying to figure out how I would approach the execution of this special day. The entire day I was anxiously awaiting the night. The time arrived and my work day ended. I hurry home to shower and hit the road. I was headed to southern Mississippi for a great concert of an artist I had been longing to meet. His name, Josh Waters, and this event was his “Encouragement Show”. Josh Waters is currently on tour with R&B singer, creator of gold certified singles “Bed” and “Suffocate”, J. Holiday. Meanwhile, I drive through Macon, Mississippi and Meridian, Mississippi listening to “Dum and Dummer” by Young Dolph and Key Glock. I ride down the highway thinking about the questions that I have formed over the past two weeks after contacting Josh Waters to see if he was interested in an interview with OMNI. I come to the realization that my questions did not contain the energy that I needed or wanted. Almost to my destination, I decided to ask Josh Waters spontaneous questions from the heart. Upon my entry into the venue, I instantly feel the warmth and homegrown vibe of the space. The scene was intimate and relaxing, yet full of positive auras. This was the setting I imagined. I stand alone at a single table as a representative for Josh Waters directs me upstairs to interview and slightly unravel the inner workings of Bandwidth Atlanta’s newest signee.
“I am Josh Waters singer/songwriter from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. West Hattiesburg to be exact. My dad was a sports guru. So, I grew up playing baseball and basketball. I even tried football, but it wasn’t really my thing, I ain’t really the contact kind of guy. I believe it was like seventh or eighth grade I got hit too hard one game. I told my momma go get me some nachos and I’ll meet you in the bleachers when you get back.”
We both laughed a little as I reminisce about my childhood playing sports. The ice had been broken so I decided to ask the young star more about what exactly influenced his pursuit of music during his childhood.
“I always gravitated towards music.” said Josh. “My mother is a vocalist and my brother is an instrumentalist, specifically drums. So, I was just always around it.” Josh Waters continues revealing his very first passion as a child. “I actually loved dogs. I wanted to be a veterinarian, but at some point, I realized that there was a calling for me to do music that’s greater than me even singing songs. I feel like I have a purpose, I must reach people and somewhat preach to them.”
Josh’s empathy and connection with human feelings drives his creativity musically. He is always analyzing and attempting to understand the interaction of people and how they conduct themselves in relationships of all kinds. I could sense his authenticity in his mission as he provided an insight into his musically and life philosophy.
“I just want to provide people different perspectives on giving and receiving love.” The artist behind the hit single “Dipped in Honey” says, “I know that I must sing more than just love songs, but if I had to have a conversation about something it would probably be about love and how relationships work. Not necessarily intimate relationships, but how people conduct themselves in platonic relationships and other types of relationships too.”
Seeing that love is his main artistic influence, I wondered if Josh Waters was inspired or influenced by other creative disciplines. Slightly caught off-guard Josh provides the name of a well-known African-American tattoo artist Miya Bailey.
“I would go with Miya Bailey as my favorite visual artist. Outside of being a tattoo artist, he’s also a painter.”
The connection was made as Josh is always painting vivid images with his lyrics. He is constantly giving his audience imagery to vibe with and music to feel. He has taken notes from some of the greatest R&B, soul, and neo-soul singers and songwriters. His skill with the pen is unmatched as he lists a few of his favorite musicians.
“Usher, Musiq Soulchild, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Tank.” Josh continues, “These are all people I was listening to growing up, but Usher was the one I wanted to be like the most as a kid.”
The vocal range, smoothness, and swagger of Josh Waters music can be linked to his musically idol Usher. The more one listens to Josh Waters the more the musically influence becomes clear. In his track “Ride” from his recent album “Honey” has the tone, setting, and nostalgic feelings of a 90’s R&B hit single. Josh Waters was highly influenced by some of the greatest musicians of all time. With age comes regret in some people, Josh reassures his audience he wouldn’t change anything about his journey.
“I wouldn’t tell my younger self nothing. I wouldn’t change anything I’m being honest, because every part of how I had to grow up and get to where I am now has created my longevity or the longevity I will experience.” The budding superstar knows that what he has come from has defined who he is today and rather than run from his past, he embraces every facet of it. He has no words for his younger self and doesn’t regret anything, but he does have dreams of coming back to Mississippi to influence the growing music scene. “I feel like if I had too much game or less than what I had I wouldn’t be in this position. I wouldn’t change anything, then where we are from, we don’t have people to come impart in us but I want to be one of the few to be able to come back and impart in those who didn’t have what I did.”
The humble aura of Josh Waters comes from his upbringing and life experiences. He has grown not only as an artist but also as a man. Now that he has learned love and loss, he promises to pass his knowledge down to his son. “I had my son at 19 years-old and it was what I needed to push me over the edge.” He speaks to how fatherhood has positively changed him forever, but still affects him negatively in his pursuit music. Being split between the best father one can be and obtaining a lifelong dream is enough to stop anyone in their path. Josh Waters stands strong saying that, “My son gave me a push. It’s probably the most difficult part about what I’m doing at this moment. I must sacrifice being around him every day because I’m chasing what I’m chasing now. At the same time, it’s the very thing that inspires me to keep going after things that I have. Its an honor and blessing.”
Josh Waters has changed the world already whether he knows it or not. Witnessing how close he was with his audience and how much they cared for him let me know that this was significantly deeper than music. His family, friends, and fans are dear to him and his progress as a human-being. His mission to educate others about love and relationships has just begun, but before he takes off on his travels Josh Waters wanted to encourage artist everywhere to be unapologetically original, “I need everyone to believe in themselves and never step outside of yourself to do anything. Remain true to yourself and everything that is for you is on its way to you.”
Find more from Josh Waters on Instagram and other social media platforms (@joshwatersmusic)