Keeping the Blues Alive / Blues News  / Joshua King – The Next Generations of Blues Artists

Joshua King – The Next Generation of Blues Artists

It is important to know his early roots in music and the life-changing influence blues had on him. His dad gave him a harmonica when Josh was 6 years old as a toy. Because of this, he learned how to play it and decided he wanted to play music.  By the time Josh was 7, he spent a lot of time in New York City as a child actor.

He became inspired by the thriving New York music scene and began taking harmonica lessons from top players. Josh wanted to be a part of the music that was being made by the bands and musicians he heard. By the time he was 8 years old, he was jamming on stage with many top musicians at places like B.B. King’s Blues Club in New York’s Times Square. 

Joshua King is a teen vocalist, musician, and songwriter from Charlotte, North Carolina. As a multi-instrumentalist, Josh plays diatonic and chromatic harmonicas, piano and guitar in genres that include blues, jazz, pop, rock, and R&B.  

His mentor was blues harmonica legend and Grammy winner, James Cotton.  

This led to Josh being mentored by blues harmonica legend and Grammy winner, James Cotton. Who passed away in 2017.  Not only, did Cotton instantly recognized the “old soul” in Josh, who was 8 when they first met in 2009. But he also called Josh his “musical grandson.” He also passed down a heritage of early blues music and lessons learned from Sonny Boy Williamson, Jimmy Reed, Howling Wolf and Muddy Waters.  The legendary bluesman encouraged Josh to sing and write music and to explore music beyond the blues genre in order to discover his own style, sound and path.

Josh’s first public singing appearance!

Believing strongly in Josh’s potential, Cotton invited a 9-year old Josh to join him in Canada at a blues festival. Furthermore, they were on stage in front of thousands in Nova Scotia in what became Josh’s first public singing appearance. As they played harmonica with the band and Josh sang, the audience gave them all a standing ovation. It was a transcendent moment for Josh. 

At 10 years old, Josh ventured into songwriting and approached Cotton about an changing up Cotton’s signature instrumental “Blues In My Sleep”. Cotton told him to write it down. Cotton liked the new lyrics and vocal melody Josh wrote and asked Josh to sing it with him and the James Cotton Blues band. This new version of the song received standing ovations every time they performed it together, even at Cotton’s last Lincoln Center shows in New York City in 2012. Josh has also performed this song with The Fabulous Thunderbirds and Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel.

Artists he has performed with…

In 2012, Josh took a break from acting in New York. He wanted to spend more time with his family in Charlotte. This gave him time to better focus on his studies and developing his musicianship. Josh has also performed with Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang, Fred Yonnet, Kim Wilson, Mud Morganfield and others. The musicians encouraged Josh to stay true to his music and to his calling. This has  helped shape Josh into the artist that he is becoming today.

As a teen, he studied voice, harmonica, piano, composition and guitar. Josh continues to play diatonic harmonica and chromatic harmonica weaving the sounds of these instruments into his original music and covers whether they are pop, rock or blues songs.

His style is “mainstream with a touch of old-school soul and timeless.

His style is “mainstream with a touch of old-school soul and timeless. Josh constantly strives to discover interesting combinations of chords and notes. So he can write the right lyrics to bring his original songs to life. 

Josh is actively involved in giving back to the community.  Josh now performs in several Charlotte area hospitals every week including Seacrest Studios at Levine Children’s Hospital. “A lot of people have helped me over the years. I hope my music helps others, even if it’s just for a moment”, says Josh.  Recently, Josh joined the Arts and Entertainment Volunteer Program at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport where he performs at the grand piano.

Video by Dave Strickler

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