From Brighton to Nashville, Introducing Josh O’keefe
Nashville, Tennessee is known as the birthplace of country music and home to the world-famous RCA Studios, where the likes of Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton, and Willie Nelson have all recorded. One singer-songwriter hoping to follow in their footsteps is former BIMM Brighton student Josh O’keefe, who has been making a name for himself as a rising country music singer in Nashville, where he currently resides.
Since leaving BIMM Brighton, Josh has gone on to achieve incredible success as a country music star. At 23, he has achieved what most budding musicians can only dream of, including sharing the stage with Grammy Award-winning artists Alison Krauss, Jamey Johnson and many more.
A worldwide publishing deal with renowned Nashville-based independent record label Black River Entertainment has also seen him go from a regular face on the Brighton music scene to an international country sensation.
We caught up with the Derby-born troubadour to talk BIMM, his upcoming album and what life is really like in Music City, USA:
“Surreal. I feel lucky that I get to write songs and make music for a living’. Never expected it, never thought about either.”
Josh’s list of ‘surreal’ achievements goes on and on. He has topped Billboard and iTunes charts as a songwriter and as an artist. His debut EP has been a chart smash, hitting number 15 on the top 100 iTunes country albums chart. But, despite this incredible feat, the singer is not resting on his laurels.
“I’m grateful that people listened to the record, but I was already set on making my next one,” he quipped. “I just wanted to write something to ease my mind, but it’s always good to know people are listening to what you are doing.”
The achievement is a reflection of Josh’s hard work and talent as a singer-songwriter. His expertise and a keen eye for a hit haven’t certainly haven’t gone unnoticed. Last year, he received his first Gold record for a song he penned for Danish DJ duo Too Many Left Hands.
“It’s pretty incredible that a song I wrote in 30 minutes can go on to reach gold status and win a DMA (Danish Music Award). It’s nuts, going from hearing the song in a small room – when I was writing it – to hearing 70,000 people sing the song back at a huge festival,” he beamed.
So, has he picked up an accent like Alex Turner? The Arctic Monkeys frontman has all but lost his Sheffield accent after spending the last several years living in Los Angeles.
“I have never really thought about it. I would think that it would be hard to lose a British accent. However, all my friends in the US are from Texas so it could be possible” he jokes.
Josh later praised BIMM Brighton and the help he received from our lecturers.
“I think what a year at BIMM did for me is give me the belief and push to make it to the next level in music,” he enthused. “I listened to my mentors, and I tried to learn everything I could from them, even down to the last piano lick. You never know where that lick might come in handy.”
His advice to prospective students and those already studying at BIMM is always to listen.
“Listen to your mentors; they are great musicians after all. Learn everything you can and don’t take it for granted. The opportunity might never come again to have that invaluable knowledge at your fingertips,” he explains.
Josh is currently recording his debut album, which he promises will be ‘honest’. As well as the album, the hotly tipped star is gearing up to a December tour of the UK, which will include a very special homecoming show in his hometown of Derby. Good luck Josh!
For more details of Josh’s upcoming tour and news, check out his website here.