For a former starving artist like Joshua Radin, the concept of “making it” is pretty simple:
“It’s when you can go into any restaurant and order anything off the menu,” he jokes.
After bursting onto the scene thanks to an episode of “Scrubs” that featured his demo, Radin is now seven albums into a career he never quite expected.
amNewYork spoke with Radin about his unorthodox road to success, the concept of musician versus artist and the challenge of producing for the first time in his career with his upcoming album, “The Fall,” due out January 27.
You were 30 the first time you picked up a guitar and wrote songs. What made you want to give music a try?
I started writing songs just for fun, not to become a professional musician. I had tried my hand at painting, screenwriting, living as a starving artist in NYC. I just wanted to do anything I could that was creative when it came to work.
Given that, it sounds like you’re more artist than musician in the strictest definition of the word.
Yeah, I feel the same way. Most of the people I played with studied music and have been playing since they were little kids. Whereas I really use the guitar and the few chords to express myself.
It was an episode of “Scrubs” that launched your career. How’d your song end up there?
A bunch of my friends produced, wrote and starred on that show and they were always looking for new music. When I wrote my first song [“Winter”], I sent it to them and they were like “We love this.” I was just kind of looking for feedback. After the song aired on “Scrubs,” it gave me the confidence to think that maybe I could write some more songs and maybe some more people would like to listen to them.
Seven albums later, you’re producing for the first time. Was it a challenge? Or did you embrace it?
A little bit of both. There was some anxiety sure, but it went off without a hitch. I recorded the whole album in five days because I didn’t have to come in and translate to another producer. It was so freeing.
Did you find it to be a creative roadblock on previous albums?
I’ve enjoyed working with producers in the past and I’ve learned a lot from them. I’ve also learned there’s no one way to produce an album. It’s just about finding your comfort zone in the studio. When you hear something you love, you keep it. When you don’t, you change it.