I think there’s such a stigma when it comes to mental health, and I think more people should research about it and understand how important it is to be mentally healthy. I couldn’t tell you the number of times someone looked me up and down and said “oh there’s no way you’re sad or depressed”. Physical and Mental Health are two different things, if you didn’t already know it. I wish everyone practiced regularly how to handle their emotions and feelings. If anyone is not quite understanding themselves or having a difficult time through something or anything, to talk with someone. Understanding yourself and how to live the best life you can in today’s world is such a challenge, but also the greatest reward.
As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Josey Greenwell. Growing up in Kentucky, a passion for music led Greenwell to Nashville in pursuit of a career as a singer-songwriter. After years of honky-tonks and unfulfilled wishes, he set the guitar down and turned to his next love, fitness, and made the move to the Big Apple. Now, as one of the cities most prominent fitness instructors, his love for music and songwriting prevails as he steps back into his artistry rhythm and gears up to release his first full album in over a decade. Fueled with city inspiration and slick Swedish production, the sound behind the lead single “Where We Going” is almost as surprising as Greenwell’s return.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Thank you so much for having me! I grew up in Bardstown, Kentucky. Did all the normal things you do in a small town, Played sports, sang in my school’s choir, tried to be a good student, field parties, all that fun stuff!
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I started doing small talent competitions in high school, and from that decided I wanted to be a singer. I’d frequently drive down to Nashville to try and “make it,” whatever that means these days! It wasn’t until I met with someone there who told me if I wanted to have a solid career, I would need to write my own songs — so I taught myself the guitar and dove into songwriting. The creative process is my now favorite process.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
There are so many, but the most inspiring was opening for Little Big Town a long time ago. It was my first time playing in an arena and there is no feeling like it.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I wouldn’t say its a funny mistake, but I definitely regret taking advice to hide my sexuality as an artist and songwriter. Being yourself is the coolest and most unique thing you can do, and you are already doing it without knowing! Being your own individual is so important in this business. Its funny because growing up, all you want to do is fit in, then almost overnight you are an adult and trying to stand out. Its a weird complex to wrap your head around.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Recording my new album and connecting with charities is very exciting for me. Being able to give back is an incredible feeling. I’m hoping my story can inspire young LGBT musicians who want to pursue music, that it can happen in a big way!
I’m very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
I think our culture is heavily influenced by what we see, hear, and read. So not having diversity in mainstream media is a huge issue and can affect the way the next generation is raised. We need more diversity in all of the entertainment industry — period! We also need to be careful of not being consumed by social media. We see so much on a daily basis its hard not to let it get to you.
From your personal experience, can you recommend three things the community/society/the industry can do help address some of the diversity issues in the entertainment business?
I think speaking out is the most important. We can all do better about taking action and standing up for what we believe in and what we know is right. Also creating awareness to people who might not be as educated as others.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Everyone’s says “Dont Change”, but when you are young, you don’t even know who you are or who you want to be? I wish instead of hearing that I heard “Become Who You Want”. I was so focused on “holding on” to whatever I was, when in reality I had no clue was going out meant.
- Strive for success
- Stay Humble
- Work on your art/craft everyday
- Find time for “yourself” regardless of how many directions you are being pulled in this world.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Everything is about balance. You can work very hard for days, months, weeks, years, but still need to find time to reset and connect with your soul.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
First of all thank you for that compliment! I don’t see myself that way, but hope I can help people some day. I think there’s such a stigma when it comes to mental health, and I think more people should research about it and understand how important it is to be mentally healthy. I couldn’t tell you the number of times someone looked me up and down and said “oh there’s no way you’re sad or depressed” Physical and Mental Health are two different things, if you didn’t already know it. I wish everyone practiced regularly how to handle their emotions and feelings. If anyone is not quite understanding themselves or having a difficult time through something or anything, to talk with someone. Understanding yourself and how to live the best life you can in today’s world is such a challenge, but also the greatest reward.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My music producers. Through all the years of me trying to figure out who I wanted to be and what I wanted to write about, what I thought i should or couldn’t write about, my producers have always helped and worked with me regardless of what anyone thought of me. At the end of the day, simply putting out music and finding new ways to express myself is the most important part of my creative process, and they allow me to do that — and for that I thank them!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Trust your gut instinct. It has always been right for me or for sure knew something wasn’t.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I would love to talk with Troye Sivan. I think he is doing an incredible job in his career and his songwriting is top notch.. I would love to talk with him about his journey and how he rose to thrive in such a cutthroat industry. His confidence is truly infectious and it’s been amazing watching him shine over the years and at such a young age. It’s really helped me want to share my story and be open.