The MOBO tour visits Birmingham this week, showcasing some of the hottest new talent on the scene. Birmingham Live had the chance to speak to 20 year old Josh Osho – an inspirational musician and songwriter from South London – about his music, working with the Wu Tang Clan and redemption.
BL: Hello how are you?
JO:Im fine thanks yourself?
BL:I’m great thanks for asking. Are you looking forward to performing tomorrow night at the MOBO Tour?
JO: Yes I’m really excited, some of the people I’m performing with are good friends so it’ll be cool to get on stage with them.
BL: Have you been to Birmingham before?
JO: Yeah I’ve done one show in Birmingham once before.
BL: How was it, how does it compare to London?
I didn’t really have chance to check out Birmingham because I was at the NEC but I had an amazing time. The crowd were really welcoming.
BL: With London in mind would you say it’s easier to make a name for yourself over there rather than here in Birmingham?
JO: In London there is definitely a lot more opportunity as it’s the epicentre of where we live. I don’t believe it’s about where your from, you can be from anywhere and be successful in anything, not just music. If you generally believe in yourself there’s no reason for you not to succeed,you just have to believe.
BL: Is it all about knowing the right people to generally get big in the music business?
JO: Yes and no, if you truly believe in what you do then you will get the opportunity you want. But these record companies don’t know about you, so you have to push push push and try a little bit harder to get their attention.
BL: It must be frustrating for people who are talented but not making it like you have, what advice would you give them, is there enough opportunity?
JO: Well from my experience I’ve learnt that hard work and belief pays off. You just have to believe in what you’re doing and enjoy what you’re doing. There are many young people out there who don’t enjoy what they do. I didn’t want to be one of those people.
BL: What would you be doing right now if you hadn’t been discovered via the talent show you won? If you didn’t have a talent like yours would you still be in the same position you were in before?
JO: I know it’s not the best answer, but bricklaying. I like to do things practically. I love doing something which creates a positive outcome. With brick laying you lay the bricks and you have a house. That’s how I like to live my life, doing something worthwhile and reaping the rewards. Another thing I would have liked to do would be teaching as I would love to teach young people and watch them be successful.
BL: Good answer. Can I ask what it was that made you dance with the devil before you got signed?
JO: It was a combination of unforeseen occurrence and me making really bad decisions that made things go from bad to worse quickly. I was in a dark place but now I’m away from that and full of redemption.
BL: Now back to your music… when you received the call that these acclaimed musicians from the Wu Tang Clan wanted to collaborate with you, you must have been chuffed. Has this made you more confident about your song writing and talent?
JO: Yes and no – I already believed in what I was doing before the call came in. You have to or you may as well give up. I had great belief in my songs and not everyone’s gonna think the same as the Wu Tang guys. You just have to take it as a compliment. But I was really pleased that they liked my music.
BL: What do you think RZA liked about Redemption Days?
JO: He said he liked it because it was fresh and special, he said it was more than just a song and that there was something spiritual about the track.
BL: There’s a saying that “If it’s good enough for Wu, its good enough for you”. With the backing of the Wu Tang Clan the possibilities must be endless?
JO:(Laughs) I would like to work with anyone. I am so privileged and grateful to be in this position. The Wu Tang Clan are my heroes and I’ve already worked with some great people like Wretch 32 on “The Demons Never Die” soundtrack, so I look forward to what the future entails.
BL: Is there anyone else you would like to work with, dead or alive?
JO: I have just finished working with Childish Gambino on my new track “Giants” which is released on April 23rd and he is amazing to work with. There are countless amount of artists I would love to work with. For starters, Adele, or another would be John Mayer. To perform with Jeff Buckley would be amazing, I love Jeff Buckley. I gained a lot of my inspiration from blues so Howlin’ Wolf would be another.
BL: Do you think you could take over America?
JO:(Laughs) I would love to be recognized in America, but at the minute I’m taking things slowly but yeah definitely I want to take over the world!
BL: The Wu Tang Clan came to Birmingham last year, would you like to maybe join them on tour if they came back?
JO: Yes if they’d have me. Working with them has been amazing but to perform with them on stage would be something else!
BL: What is the overall message with the album L.I.F.E?
JO: The overall message is just about learning in life. It’s about growth and having a positive outlook no matter what your past. Being able to look back in redemption.
BL: Do you think that musicians with a troubled past generally write better/more meaningful songs as they have more to talk about in their music?
JO: Yes and no. Some people come into this world with a deep understanding of themselves and some people don’t. On the outside someone can be going through a lot but it won’t effect them inside. Having these past experiences can inspire you and inspired me emotionally. I don’t believe you can judge someone’s music on their lives, you don’t have to have had experiences like me to write good songs.
BL: By the way things are going you might be at the Brit Awards next year. Good luck with your new single “Giants” out on the 23rd April and thank you for taking the time to speak to us here at Birmingham Live.