We had the good fortune of connecting with Joshua Strickland and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joshua, why did you pursue a creative career?
I chose to pursue singing due to the ability to be free. When I say free, I mean it in this way. On a daily basis, we as humans tend to compartmentalize a lot of things that are good and bad. For instance, a person might be struggling with whatever internal demons they have whether it be work or family, so they find an outlet that makes them feel a sense of peace and freedom to escape the reality of their situations. For me, that escape and freedom is music. When our music has been reviewed, folks have said that the sincerity and raw emotion that I sing with makes people feel what I am saying. The reason for that is because for one, I believe in what I am singing about and number two, it is my escape and my moment to belt out my emotions and have a sense of freedom.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Well I was born and raised in the great state of Louisiana. All of my immediate family is back home in bayou country. I would sit and practice playing old gospel songs with my Daddy and my older brother. Sometimes when my daddy had business to do in New Orleans I would sit on the corner of Bourbon Street or on the steps of Jackson Square and play music. I got where I am today due to me never settling on what it was I thought I deserved. It was not easy. We are an independent band so everything we’ve ever done we did it ourselves. We sold records and marketed ourselves without any management. It turned into a tour for us throughout the gulf coast region with big names on our tickets. We had many challenges of course. Singers will get told NO, a million times before they get one yes. A tour manager of a well known band once told me I couldn’t play a show due to me not having “earned it.” Of course it angered me, however it increased my drive to keep hustling. We marketed our music digitally to build a broad fan base. The lessons I learned along the way was to just be myself. I got tired of folks constantly telling me I need to not say this or that or I need to suck up to this person or that. I tried to play that game just like everybody. However, that’s not who I am nor is that genuine. The way I was raised was if I got something to say I am going to say it, whether you like it or not. If you don’t like it then we address it and shake hands afterwards. What I want the world to know about me is that what you see is what you get. I am a country boy and love to go fishing and drink beer and will give anybody the shirt off my back, however, at the end of the day the one thing you can count on is that I am going to say it how it is.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Alright so an itinerary for a week. I’ll break it down day by day: Monday- I would pick them up at the airport and on the way home we would stop at La Frontera, the taco truck on 16th street and Van Buren and get some tacos to eat. They are among the best tacos in the valley. Then we would go home to take a chill and relax from the flight. Tuesday- We would wake up and drive up to the Navajo Nation. I would take them to Canyon de Chelly in Chinle. Everybody in the world knows about the grand canyon but Canyon De Chelly is the true hidden gem. It is gorgeous. Wednesday – I’d take them across the way to Sedona. It is beautiful with its red mountains and who knows we might catch a Decker show. He holds it down up there in the land of amethyst crystals. On the way down from Sedona we would stop at the little pie place on the 17. The Jack Daniels Pecan pie is to die for. Thursday- We would come back down to the valley and I’d take them down to old town Scottsdale. I think its a really nice area over by Patty’s and Old Town Tavern and The Rusty Spur. Friday- We would take a chill and probably hit up Copper Blues downtown. I love that bar and its fun. One of my good friends are the house band there “The Instant Classics.” They always have a good time and you’ll hear everything from spice girls to country music. Saturday- We would go check out Mill Ave during the ASU tailgate and see all the beautiful “sights” around campus. Sunday- We would be back at the house and maybe have a bbq, cook some asada and prepare to catch the flight home. I think that sounds like a good trip.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would love to give a shoutout to all of the Arizona musicians/Bands that keep the music relevant in our neck of the woods. We have great talent in our state. Obviously everybody knows the Gin Blossoms (who are really cool dudes) but we also got guys like Roger from Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers who helped pave the way for younger bands. Now we have guys that can play with anybody that they step on stage with like The Black Moods. Guys like Drew Cooper, The Cole Trains, Jim Bachman, Jay Allan, Rob West, Banana Gun, Black Bottom Lighters…I could name so many more but those are some of the heavy hitters that come into mind out here. I think they all deserve a shoutout and love because they have helped bands raise the bar in order to be competitive and keep the Arizona music on par with any place in the country.
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