Josh Kumra is a young troubadour with one foot in acoustic singer-songwriting and the other stepping nimbly between R&B, soul and pop. With his hotly anticipated debut album soon to drop, the next single from the record will be 'The Answer', a more melancholic and emotional song than previous output, "about taking risks and not worrying what people think". 'The Answer' will be released on April 8th, through RCA. His debut album, 'Good Things Come To Those Who Don't Wait' will follow a week later on April 15th.
His instantly recognisable voice needs no introduction - he hit the ground running when his collaborative debut single, 'Don't Go', featuring rapper Wretch 32, reached number 1 in summer 2011, quickly leading to Josh taking to the stages of Glastonbury and V. It was a first herald of a versatile and deeply talented artist and performer, as much a contemporary of Wretch and Plan B as he is of Ben Howard and Paolo Nutini.
With a trajectory that has seen him fast-track from deepest Swindon via 'Later with Jools' to the 02 Arena where last Christmas he performed in front of an audience of 20,000, as well as touring alongside current definers of contemporary UK pop such as Gabrielle Aplin, Lianne La Havas, Labrinth and Delilah throughout 2012, Josh in now ready to step fully into his own much-anticipated limelight with his debut album 'Good Things Come To Those Who Don't Wait'.
A title that neatly sums up his mercurial rise, the music is gutsy and heartfelt, searching and introspective but always infectious and melodic, anchored by Josh's soulful, wise-beyond-it's years vocals. "I've always related to emotional songs," he says, citing as examples 'Fool To Cry' by The Rolling Stones, Tracy Chapman's 'Fast Car' and This Love Is Over by his all-time hero Ray Lamontagne, to whom he is often compared. "Those songs connect with me. Not that I'm unhappy or a sadist, but I do gravitate towards hearing people suffering in songs. I like it when I hear pain because it feels more true."
Featuring songwriting and production collaborations with Fink, Emeli Sandé, Naughty Boy and Mr Hudson, the albums' 12 tracks seamlessly run the gamut of acoustic, soul, blues and folk styles, with unexpected forays into psychedelia, pop and dance, demonstrating Josh's eclectic tendencies and wide musical scope. They reveal a range of influences that skillfully traverse a landscape between the contemporary and the deep-rooted, from the James Blake-ish 'Reckless Love' to 'Find My Way Home' which is redolent of Primal Scream in rock-gospel mode, 'Be My Light's rave-pop, the Paul Simon-worthy 'You'll Come Running', the billowing country-tinged soul of 'Brave Face', lovelorn, Coldplay-esque crescendo of 'Lost Again', the already staple romantic anthem 'Don't Go' and 'Where Do We Go From Here', co-written with Eg White, recalling blue-eyed soul in the raspy, husky vein of Rod Stewart and Steve Marriott.
"We didn't have a brief, we just did what we wanted," says Josh. "We had total freedom to mix up soul, blues and gospel songwriting, sometimes with big hip hop beats. But there's no production for the sake of it. And ultimately it comes down to me, the bedroom singer-songwriter with a guitar in my hand. That's what I wanted to come across." The album is, he considers, "about my journey, which might sound clichéd, but it's true. The songs are about me, but also about things I've observed. They're love songs, mainly."
Upcoming live dates:
04/3 ABC, Glasgow (supporting Lianne La Havas)
05/3 Deaf Institute, Manchester - Headline show
06/3 The Borderline, London - Headline