Joshua Ketchmark is a Nashville-based country-rock musician who is quickly becoming known as a promising newcomer in the music business. Joshua grew up in a rural part of Illinois.
He became interested in music because he heard a lot of different songs on the radio and on the records that his parents had. After he graduated from high school, he moved to Nashville, where he worked on his musical skills by recording songs, writing songs, and playing at local bars.
Ketchmark’s gift is not limited to his amazing voice and guitar talents; in addition, he has a special capacity to connect with the people who are listening to him perform. His ability to create music that is both rock and country in equal measure is evidence of his flexibility as an artist. His music hits the right balance.
Even though they have played as the headlining act at the Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles, worked with well-known producers, and even cleaned out Pat Benatar’s garage, Ketchmark is still a bit of a hidden gem in the world of music.
His most recent hit, “No Stopping Us,” a coming-of-age song that is now getting a lot of airplay, is taken from his tenth studio album, which is titled “Blood.” The lyrics of the song convey the narrative of someone reflecting on their life and coming to the conclusion that nothing can stop them from achieving their goals.
Ketchmark goes into further depth about his artistic journey and the influences that led to the creation of “No Stopping Us” in an interview with MrrrDaisy.
In the world of music, it is just a matter of time before Joshua Ketchmark is recognized by everyone. In addition to the fact that he writes words that are deeply felt, his music is distinctive in that it combines rock and country.
You won’t want to miss out on this emerging star’s musical journey, so make sure you listen to Joshua Ketchmark’s newest album, “Blood,” as soon as you can.
How long have you been making music, and what attracted you to it?
I’ve been making music since 1989. That was the year my garage band recorded our first demo, but I don’t consider that I really started making music professionally until I got to Los Angeles in 2002.
Looking back, my attraction was a combination of elements, wanting to get out of the small town in central Illinois that I grew up in, being told that it was a waste of time, and, first and most importantly, “music” itself.
What was your first project, the people you worked with, and in which year?
My first-ever project was a band called Mad Hatter; yes, the name speaks for itself. It was my first band. We were a young garage band that rehearsed in my dad’s basement. We recorded two demos, one of which I still have.
That band didn’t amount to much, but it provided me with a lot of fun and more rehearsals than I care to remember. That was probably in 1988. We recorded in 1989 in Springfield, IL and, I think, in 1990. That band had Link Hadsell on guitar, Brain Strack on bass, and Jeff Loxx on drums.
Now fast forward a couple of years, and let’s head out west to California. The first professional project I was a part of was a pop punk band I worked in the studio with called “Flashlight Brown.” They were signed to Hollywood Records, and it was the first time I got to see the major label record-making machine in action. Rob Cavallo (Green Day, Goo Goo Dolls) was the producer on that record, and I felt lucky just to be in the room.
In those days, I was new to LA and was getting work wherever I could, mainly as a guitar tech. It gave me a front-row seat to watch and learn how records were made. I’ve worked with producers Michael Bienhorn (Soundgarden, Marilyn Manson), Jack Joseph Puig (Sheryl Crow, John Mayer), Julian Raymond (Cheap Trick, Fleetwood Mac), and artists such as Melissa Etheridge, Johnny Lang, Fuel, and so many more. It was invaluable.
Who or what inspires or motivates you? And why?
I’m always on the prowl for inspiration, and I seem to find it in the most unlikely places. I’ve always been a dreamer at heart. Taking “no” for an answer has never been my thing. My word means a lot to me.
So if I give you my word that I’ll do something, I stick to it. The scenario usually plays out something like this: I get inspired by something I see, hear, hear about, or have always wanted to do. Then the dreamer in me starts shooting off his mouth about whatever the next step is, and those words seal the deal.
Once the words leave my lips, there’s no going back. Sometimes I fall short, but it’s not that often. For better or worse, I do my best to keep my word. Yes, it can be a blessing and a curse at times, depending on which way you look at it.
What are your friends’ and parents’ thoughts on your career in singing?
That has always been a slippery slope. I don’t have many friends that aren’t connected to me through music or who are musicians and artists in their own right.
As far as the friends I’ve had a go with, I believe they all have the best intentions, but they can be divided into two camps. On one side, you have people who encourage you, believe in you, and have a lot of respect for what you do. Then on the other side, you have people who still respect you but think that your successes take something away from them. like there are only so many seats at the table.
I guess you can make anything competitive if you choose to. In my experience, nothing good comes from stepping on someone to get ahead or get the best out of him or her. Maybe some people need that to drive them to deliver, but it’s never worked in my case on any level.
Growing up, my family really encouraged me not to pursue music. They saw it as just a phase I was going through, like collecting Star Wars figures or playing Dungeons & Dragons. People who listen to the radio to get from point A to point B, in my experience, have one default response: “You just want to be a rock star.” Well, yeah.
When you’re 14, you’re closer to make-believe than real life. In my case the rockstar fantasy didn’t last long, once I started trying to write my own songs I found something else. It was my friend when no one else was; there through thick and thin.
My parents didn’t see what I saw in it, and unfortunately for them, when I was younger, the most surefire way to make sure that I would do something was to tell me not to, and back then, my family sounded like a broken record continually stuck on repeat.
What are some of the challenges you face in your career path?
The music industry has changed so much since I was a kid. It’s hard to keep up with it at times. It has kept me on my toes, to say the least. The biggest challenge that I’ve ever faced, though, would be myself. I’m always getting in my own way, and if you give me a great opportunity, I’ll probably try to talk you out of it.
I would be hard-pressed to recount the times someone has told me over the years, “I’m going to make you famous.” I’ve heard it from people who were already famous, and from people with the best intentions from all walks of life. And throughout history, the words “trust” and “music industry,” in my experience, haven’t mixed very well.
With that said, to have someone who you’ve seen in countless movies look at you and say they think you should be famous is a memory that still makes this small-town Illinois boy smile, even if that was only as far as we got. I’ve had my share of “almosts,” and every single one of them has made for a great late-night story, and some of those stories have found their way into my songs.
How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?
Social media is a necessary evil these days. Honestly, I don’t understand it. But the internet has made a lot of avenues accessible for artists that were previously not, and I do think that this is a great time to be making music. So I would say it’s had a huge impact, it turned the whole industry upside down. Change is a good thing.
Do you have any advice for aspiring songwriters?
Write, write, write and don’t be afraid to change things, nothing is set in stone. Work on it until it says what you want it to say, the way you want to say it. Don’t be scared to be yourself and tell your story, that’s what sets you apart. There’s only one ‘you’. Hold onto it.
What is your current project about?
My latest record out now is titled “Blood.” It consists of 12 songs, all based on a true story. The lyrics centre around how I remember feeling while trying to find my feet as I was growing up and coming of age.
It is the most honest record I’ve ever written. It captures the spirit I had back when I thought I was invincible, and the times when I wasn’t. It’s loaded with great players and performances. I’m very proud of it. I think everyone should listen to it at least once.
What does this song mean to you?
‘No Stopping Us’ is based on my own life experiences. The first line in the chorus is “We were right outside of glory,” and I think it really speaks for itself. I knew when I finished writing this song; it was the start of a record.
It’s the first song on the record. It has a strong coming-of-age story attached to it for me. It takes place in the space between who you are and who you want to be, as well as all of the paths you take to get there.
What are your hobbies?
I have no hobbies right now, when I’m not working on music, I’m watching a movie. There is a lot of “rinse-and-repeat going on around here.
What do you do aside from this profession?
All I do is music these days when I’m not making music for myself. I help other people make music, whether it’s playing on a record, producing a record, or mixing one. I hang my hat in Nashville these days, and Nashville is all about songwriting.
I love getting together and co-writing with other songwriters. Pulling an idea out of thin air and having a song by the end of the day still seems like some sort of sorcery to me. It’s magic.
What is one message you would give to your fans?
Thank you for always being first in line to jump on this rollercoaster with me. We’ve taken this ride together so many times in the last 14 years. Thank you for your continued support. You guys are the best. Thank you, thank you.