We recently caught up with rapper, poet, and producer Joshua Luke Smith to talk about about music, confidence, and positivity online.
Think Before You Type: Why did you start making music?
Joshua Luke Smith: I started writing music out of the curiosity of what could happen. It was that simple. It was as if I stumbled across a laboratory full of potions when I first picked up the guitar and started strumming chords. The liberation and trepidation of being able to create…. anything. From there it became solace, a place to explore my thoughts and craft words that would speak to the chaos around me.
TBYT: How would you describe the style of your music?
Joshua: I would say it’s what would happen if Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) could rap (ha!). It’s story telling, folk music that feels at home in His Hop.
TBYT: You have a very positive presence online. Why is that important to you?
Joshua: I write to Speak Into the Chaos. To speak words of life and hope in the midst of some darks days. Whether it’s a tweet, a song or speaking to a room full of people, it’s a soapbox I can stand on, and I don’t take that for granted!
TBYT: If you could speak to someone who is being cyberbullied, what would you say to encourage them?
Joshua: I would say you are not the words that have been spoken over you, nor are you defined by the pain others have chosen to hurl at you. You’re meant to be here. You matter and you have a future worth waking up for. I would say I’m sorry. Not because I’m involved but because it breaks my heart every time someone is subjected to the hurt that another has not found healing for. I would say you are not alone, though I know it feels like it. I would say Hope is Real and Help is Real.
TBYT: What is one positive way that you would like to see the internet change?
Joshua: I’d love to see nothing written and about anyone, anywhere by another person who wouldn’t say the same words if they were together standing in the same room. It’s harder to hurt another person when you can see you shared humanity.
TBYT: It takes a lot of confidence to get up on stage and perform in front of people. What advice would you give to someone who needs the confidence to get up in front of even a small crowd?
Joshua: Don’t run away from your nerves. To be nervous is to recognise you’re about to do something drenched in purpose. If it doesn’t cost you, it’s not worth as much. Embrace that feeling, own it, and hold onto the truth that your voice, your story, your song matters. Ask for feedback. Be humble. Take people on the journey with you.
TBYT: If you could play a show anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Joshua: I think it would be NYC. The home and birth place of Hip Hop.
TBYT: What is the biggest thing that you want people to take away from your music?
Joshua: That what it means to be human is far more sacred and special thing than they realised.
TBYT: What do you have coming up in 2018?
Joshua: ALOT. New music, touring Europe and the U.S. More poetry. More opportunity to live with less fear. The chance of being a better man, a more caring husband and a more faithful friend.