For Hamptonites who want to take a breather before the craziness of the summer season hits, Joshua Radin provides the perfect opportunity. The breezy, cool singer/songwriter comes to the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center (WHBPAC) on May 6 for a solo acoustic show. “The show will be me and a guitar,” says Radin. “When I write new songs, I sit in a living room on my couch. That’s the feeling I’m going for.”
Radin was 30 years old when he first picked up a guitar. “I wasn’t thinking about music as a profession,” he says. “It was a means to express myself and get ideas out of my head that were bogging me down. It very quickly became a hobby, and then a career.” His career took off in 2004, when his song “Winter” was featured on the hit sitcom Scrubs. Radin had become friends with Zach Braff, the show’s lead actor, while both were students at Northwestern University. When Braff saw a guitar in Radin’s apartment, he asked his friend to play for him. Impressed, Braff introduced Radin’s music to the creator of Scrubs. The feedback immediately made Radin realize that music was his true calling.
He has since received acclaim for both his musical dexterity, and his intimate songwriting. “What works best for me [in songwriting] is living my life, and every now and then a melody pops into my head,” says Radin. “Sometimes, I’ll be sitting around late at night watching a movie, and I’ll throw it on mute. I’ll watch the images, and sometimes it will inspire something.” Melodies pop into Radin’s head while he’s walking around Los Angeles, where the Ohio native currently lives, or while hiking. He starts humming a tune, occasionally recording it on his phone to preserve it and soon pairs song lyrics with the melody. “[The lyrics are] things I’m almost scared to tell people, or to tell myself,” he says of the songs.
Radin has toured extensively, but hadn’t done a solo show until recently. “[At first], I couldn’t really fathom sitting with a guitar by myself and carrying a whole show,” he says. As he grew more comfortable, he would play half of the shows acoustically, but it wasn’t until this past summer, when Radin was in Italy and none of his bandmates could make a show, that he played an entire show on his own. “The crowd came up to me after the show and said, ‘why don’t you do more of this,’” recalls Radin. “It was so intimate, and I was so at ease during the show—just being able to tell any story I wanted and not adhering to a set list.”
Radin decided to devote his next tour to solo sets. “I feel like I’m growing up a lot, as an artist and as a performer. It’s sort of a challenge.” The Westhampton Beach show will be a mixture of Radin’s entire body of work, and the solo nature of the performance means that he can play off of the audience, telling stories and choosing songs on a whim without having to worry about if the band will be able to follow.
“I like to keep it very loose,” he says of the performance. “I like to talk to the crowd.”
Joshua Radin plays WHBPAC, 76 Main Street, Westhampton Beach, on May 6 at 8 p.m. For tickets and info, call 631-288-1500 or visit whbpac.org.