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Joshua Radin's "Beautiful Day" — Exclusive Interview and Song Spotlight

I’ve been lucky enough to check out this gorgeous track from Joshua Radin’s new album, Onward and Sideways.

Here Radin pairs with Sheryl Crow for a lovely version of his song “Beautiful Day.”

An uplifting and inspirational song, Radin truly touches the heart with this one!

Radin tells the story of traveling to Stockholm to be with a girl he is mad about. He spent the days while she worked lying sideways on his bed writing. He shares, "The motivation was really that when she came home from work, I wanted to have a song to play to her," he says. "That's really where they all came from."

Radin’s Onward and Sideways is set for release on January 6, 2015 on Glass Bead Music. Known for his precise, gentle vocals and penchant for vivid songwriting, the 13-track LP's dynamic production shines here.

Love and the complications surrounding it have long proven to be Radin's songwriting forte. Though he never intended to be a live performer, there was little choice when the first song he ever wrote, "Winter," was featured on an episode of "Scrubs."

The resulting fervor around the song soon led to a record deal, and over the last decade, Radin's toured the world countless times, sold hundreds of thousands of records and topped the iTunes charts, earned raves from Rolling Stone to The Guardian, performed on The Tonight Show, Conan, and more, played Ellen DeGeneres' wedding at her personal request, and had his songs featured in more than 150 different films, commercials, and TV shows.

For Onward and Sideways, his sixth studio album, Radin enlisted an all-star team of collaborators including drummer Matt Chamberlain (Elvis Costello, David Bowie), pedal steel guitarist Greg Leisz (Jackson Browne, Willie Nelson), keyboardist Patrick Warren (Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris), and producer/guitarist Tony Berg (The Replacements, Lucius).

Here we talk to Radin about the new album and more…

You had some great success pretty much immediately. Did you feel pressure to continue that success? Was it hard to move forward?

I did feel quite a bit of pressure immediately. Most musicians have years and years to develop their sound, where I was thrust into the spotlight a mere one year after beginning to play my first few chords. I'm not complaining at all, but it was a process - i feel like I've grown up musically in front of an audience. They've seen every blemish along the way.

Can you tell me about the recording process for the new album? Did you try anything new?

I tried to use a bunch of different producers on this album, including myself. There are six producers on twelve songs. That's pretty different for me. I wanted to see if I could write a consistent album, in terms of subject matter, and then get a bunch of different perspectives from different producers to make the album sound more diverse.

Can you share some info about the guitars and gear that you use?

I pretty much stick to my 1943 Gibson J-45. It's a classic, it sounds incredible, and it's the workhorse of acoustic guitars. It sounds great when I finger-pick, but also sounds full when I bang away on it in a live setting with a rhythm section behind me.

Do you write and play in any alternate tunings…or are you pretty straightforward with standard tuning?

I wish I could say yes, but I never really play with alternate tunings. That's something I'd like to employ in the future. I see it like the final frontier and I know it will affect a lot of my songwriting.

Check out the gorgeous “Beautiful Day” here:

I love the song “Beautiful Day.” Did you think of having Sheryl sing with you on it when you wrote it, or did that come later?

Thank you so much! That song is definitely one of my favorites on this record. I wrote it a while ago, sitting on top of this mountain in Los Angeles, on a little backpacker guitar, and then later on, after releasing it on 'Wax Wings,' I asked Sheryl to sing on it in order to give the song new life.

Is there anyone else that you’d like to collaborate or perform with that you haven’t had a chance to yet?

So many artists. I don't even know how to choose, but if I had to pick a few I would love to collaborate with Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Tom Petty. I would love to just sit in a room and get to pick the minds of the best songwriters of the last forty years. I can't even imagine how much I'd learn.

What has been one of the most surprising things for you to come out of this album?

I would have to say finding a mentor in Tony Berg, who produced the lion's share of the album (six songs). I've never been fortunate enough to have a mentor since beginning my new life in the music world and Tony is so brilliant. I know I want to work with him on future projects, but he's also become someone I can call when I'm at a crossroad and I need advice.

And most importantly, did you convince the girl?

Most importantly, yes, I did.

Tell us about your involvement with Little Kids Rock.

It's an amazing organization. I find so much inspiration when I visit the schools in the inner-city where music programs have been cut due to lack of funding. These kids just want to be able to experience music education and so many people don't realize that fostering creativity in children helps them succeed in so many different ways later in their lives. When I bring them on stage at my concerts, and the audience applauds them, the smiles on their faces are so memorable, more memorable than anything I ever experience on tour. You can literally see their lives change in a single moment. How many kids get to have that feeling? An entire theater screaming for them. It's an amazing feeling to be a part of it.

You’ll be touring extensively through the beginning of 2015…any dates of performances that you’re really looking forward to, and why?

I'll be on tour promoting Onward and Sideways from January 2015 through May 2015 - all over the world. I always look forward to certain cities, of course, but mostly I look forward to just playing music in front of an audience. I'm jonesing for it at the moment as I've been off the road making the album.

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Laura B. Whitmore is a music industry marketing veteran, music journalist and editor, writing for (opens in new tab), Guitar World, and others. She has interviewed hundreds of musicians and hosts the She Rocks Podcast. As the founder of the Women’s International Music Network (opens in new tab), she advocates for women in the music industry and produces the annual She Rocks Awards. She is the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Positive Grid, making the world safe for guitar exploration everywhere! A guitarist and singer/songwriter, Laura is currently co-writing an album of pop songs that empower and energize girls.