Not even 25 years old, Josh Daniel has started a successful business venture, won the heart of the UK population on X-Factor AND been courted by Jay Z’s infamous Roc Nation label!
With the nation’s interest piqued, we wanted to know the inner-workings of Josh Daniel. How did he get to where he is? How is X-Factor as a music platform on reflection? Where will this UK star be heading in the future?
List For Life caught up with the man himself to discuss all of these things and more.
1. How did you decide that you wanted to become a singer?
I started more in performing arts and never really found my voice until I was 15 or 16. I tried out for a part at a school production because there weren’t enough male singers and they were crying out for them and my Mum was like: “Josh, go for it!” I didn’t really think I could sing at the time and I remember singing to one of the teachers who was really surprised.
From there, singing became a regular thing so when I went to college and started studying production, I started taking music seriously and realised it was something I wanted to pursue.
2. What was the first play you were in?
It was High School Musical, a little bit embarrassing but never-mind!
3. What made you want to go on X-Factor?
I think it was because I had nothing to lose going on it and everything to gain. It was a notorious platform for giving exposure to people who wouldn’t have necessarily had it before. I thought that I’d give it a crack and if something came of it it’d be a bonus and if not, I’d just carry on with my life. Obviously it was the best decision I could have made.
4. As an aspiring artist, do you think X-Factor is the best way to break into the music industry?
The only thing you’ve got to bear in mind is that although X-Factor can give you a leg up, it’s also a reality TV show. I guess if you understand what you’re getting into, it’s easier to digest. For the younger ones, who might not understand it as a TV show, it can be tough. It’s a test to see if you can cope with the pressures of the music industry, with all the the long hours and moving around a lot, it’s a wake-up call. If you’re a younger one thinking about doing it, I’d say find yourself first before diving headfirst into it.
5. So it isn’t all glamour and partying?
Obviously you do get the whole glamorous side of it but it’s harder than it looks on TV. A lot of it is done behind-the-scenes like the rehearsals and learning songs overnight and not getting a great deal of sleep. If you’re not used to the industry, it can be a bit of a shock to the system.
6. What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve been spending a bit of time experimenting with different sounds and seeing what works for me as an original artist. We’re hoping to put an album by the end of the year and a single by May hopefully. We’re not sure if it’s with Roc Nation because we haven’t 100% decided what single will be the lead. We’ve got a big UK tour starting on the 11th April and I’m writing as much as I can at the moment. This week I’m going to America for a bit of writing as well as a bit of skiing in Aspen. At this point in my life I’m doing a lot of things for the first time!
7. Who has been a mentor to you in your career?
I’ve not kept in contact with Simon [Cowell] but I have with Nick [Grimshaw] who always extends offers to help with radio play and that. Outside of the show, my management company owner Richard is a mentor in music and business as well. Also my Mum – she keeps me motivated and keeps me inspired.
8. Do you think it’s important for young artists to have the business knowledge to take them all the way?
Absolutely, I ran a business for two years before I went on the X-Factor but I went in with no prior knowledge and learnt it along the way. In a modern day music industry it’s just as important how you understand that an artist is a business as much as you understand the music. It’s getting more difficult to reap financial rewards in music and it doesn’t look like it’s getting any easier.
9. What was your business before the X-Factor?
So it was in foreign currency trading. We used to teach clients how to trade currencies on the online stock markets. It’s a very strange and alternative passion! I don’t teach it anymore because I haven’t the time but I do spend an hour a morning in my office trading on the stock market because it’s what I’ve always done!