Welcome back to my personal project, Spotlight:INSPIRATION!
Last time I spoke with the ever-lovely Sarah Racine about her passion for using visual arts to bless people around the world! Sarah is currently in New Zealand and you can read about her story here!
This time around, the Spotlight is on my friend and musician JOSH MARCK!
Josh is 26 and currently works with a painting business but his real passion is music.
For as long as I have known him Josh comes most alive when he’s talking about music, theology and nature…and maybe food too. ; ) We sat down over burritos to unpack his story and inspiration.
Me: Tell me about your journey with music.
Josh: My journey with music started when I was very young. When I was a kid my dad would play guitar and I would sit right in front of him and watch him play. I was just mesmerized by the sound I was hearing, what he was doing, and what he was creating.
I got my first mini guitar when I was in third grade. I also got an Elvis CD!
(Josh as a youngin, playing on a guitar before he got one of his own.)
Me: (Laughing) Who got you that?
Josh: My Dad. I would listen to that Elvis CD a lot. Then I started playing guitar more.
When I was twelve, my Dad brought home a DVD of a Jimi Hendrix concert and I was blown away. That was it. I started learning everything I could from that moment on.
I would go to school, come home, play guitar, go to bed. That was my life for a long time…
Me: So then after High School, what happened next?
Josh: I went to University for music for a year, one lone year, in the city. And it was good. And also really hard. Because it forced me to play in a lot of ways that got me out of my comfort zone.
But then I left University of the Arts because it was very expensive. And I had already done two years of college prior to that. So I would have been there for another three years, and I would have a lot of debt. Being a starving artist as it is, that doesn’t work out too well.
I ended up graduating from West Chester University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy…and I’m clearly using it now. (Laughing)
After I finished there, one of my buddies had just started a painting business and his former boss was looking for help. He offered the job to me and I took it. That was fall of 2013…
Me: And here we are with present day Josh. What does music look like in your present day life?
Josh: I often play [worship music] for church on Sunday, which I love. I’m also working on a couple of projects that my friends are doing. One you know, is Lindsey Steim. And my friend, Danielle Wilson.
Me: Where do you look for inspiration?
Josh: I find that it’s a combination of a lot of really good things: God, the people He’s put around me who are super musical…like my Dad, my brothers, Steve Henricks, Matt Magarahan, Lindsay Steim, Daniel Pishock, Brian Young, Ross Peterson, Brendan Michael, you could go down that list…there are so many people I’m inspired by because of what they do and that they do it so differently than I do.
Truthfully, I used to struggle with competition…I wanted other people’s gifts.
In High School, I knew I was good at the guitar and I would kind of act like I was ‘it.’ Even though I was this kid who didn’t have a whole lot of friends…I attached myself to it. I had ego the size of the universe. One of my best friends now, we hated each other then because of it. Behind other people’s backs, I would tear them apart. I wanted to be better than them for the sake for being better at them.
I didn’t want to see the talent in other people. I wanted it for myself. I wanted to go to Los Angeles and do the music thing and become famous. And now I don’t want to mentally go to that place. And when I think back to it, I can’t believe I used my talent in that way. It’s terrible.
Me: What changed?
Josh: I think what changed (and is still being changed) was realizing that God created me to be me. Using this gift of playing guitar was how He wired me. He created me to play guitar for His glory and to bless other people.
I’m learning that God loves it and actually delights in it when I play the guitar! Because that’s how He has wired me. And He doesn’t want me to strive after other’s talents. He wants me to play in a way that’s true to myself.
Of course, it’s a battle still to this day to remain in that frame of mind and heart, because I still get prideful and comparative. But guitar playing is not only for me, it’s also for God…
And that inspires me to do what I do to the best of my ability and bring my gift to the table, because He has created me with it. And also being part of a healthy community of friends who are artists and musicians helps to keep me in check and reminds me of the truth of it all.
Me: What role does social media play with your music?
Josh: There are some Instagram accounts of guitarists that are incredibly talented and I get so much inspiration from them.
But also social media can be tricky. I can think, ‘well if I put something up like this, I’m not sure people will like that, so I won’t put that up’ – even if it’s really good. So you’ll put something up that you know what people will like. So it’s almost like a sacrifice…you’re sacrificing yourself and who you are.
Me: …To play that game.
Josh: To play the game of feeling validated.
Me: What do you do when you’re not inspired? When you’re in kind of a dry spell?
Josh: Those days are difficult. I usually stare at my guitar and go, ‘ugh.’ It goes back to me comparing myself to others and I think, ‘I could never sound like that…’ But sometimes I just let it go and say, ‘Ya know, I just don’t have any inspiration today.’
Me: Speaking of inspiration, if you could have lunch with any musician who would it be?
(Long pause. I eat chips and salsa while Josh thinks a while.)
Josh: Honestly, it’d probably be John Mayer. He’s amazingly talented. And also I think he’s grown to not take himself too seriously which I appreciate. Because I feel that musicians are thought to be super introspective. But we’re just letting life happen and then the inspiration comes with it…
Me: What encourages you to keep on this journey with music?
Josh: That’s a very good question. What encourages me is having people around me that affirm me and we can get fired up talking about music together.
I see people living their passions like this and think,
‘Maybe only certain people get to have their dreams. And other people go about the daily grind. And they do it on the side.’
I remember telling somebody that I wish I were living my dreams. Dreams of serving lots of people with my music more often.
Then they kind of pointed out, “Well, you kind of are.”
Me: Wow, that’s powerful.
Me: And what hopes do you have for the future of your music?
Josh: I definitely want to play with other artists more because it’s inspiring to work beside another artist. When they ask you to come on board [their project] and you add your take on it, I love that. I definitely want to grow more and be better musically. There’s a lot. If there were a way I could do music full time, I’d totally take it. But I definitely want to continue serving the church with it, maybe teach lessons.
I just want to serve other people and music is one of those things…because music brings joy to people.
Check out Josh’s music here!
Visit Providence Church in West Chester to hear him play. Say hi to us all!!