Joshua Radin tour stops in Strip District, shares journey

Courtesy of City Winery | Pittsburgh Strip District Location | Joshua Radin (center stage) is slated to perform at a number of City Winerys, like that in Pittsburgh’s Strip District.

Eliyahu Gasson | Opinions Editor

Singer-songwriter Joshua Radin is back on the road for his Spring Tour after a stint with Insider Expeditions’ Artists in Antarctica, a luxury tour through the seventh continent, and is now performing at City Winerys across the United States, including the location in Pittsburgh’s Strip District.

A native of Shaker Heights in Cleveland, Radin attended Northwestern University to study drawing and painting. It was during his time at Northwestern that he met Zach Braff, who would go on to play “Scrubs” protagonist and main character, J.D. The two became friends, and it would be Braff who introduced Radin to medical television drama “Scrubs” creator, Bill Lawrence.

Radin first gained national attention in 2004 when his first song “Winter” was featured in “Scrubs,” during an emotional plot twist in the episode, “My Screw Up.”

According to Radin, he had only just learned to play guitar two years before his song’s debut on “Scrubs.” Now, he says, the stage feels like home.

“I was thrown to the wolves right away,” Radin told The Duke. “I was terrified on the stage, and I just had to sort of learn by doing. And then it took about a year or two of touring and playing live shows before I got comfortable on the stage.”

Before his professional career took off, Radin took a number of art-related jobs.

“After college I was teaching middle school kids art from the inner city of Chicago and working at an art gallery thinking that was going to be my path,” Radin said. “Then I went traveling and teaching in South Africa for a year. Then I went to New York and started writing screenplays.”

Radin spent six years writing screenplays in New York before moving to Los Angeles, where he would learn guitar.

Though he ended up occupying the stage, Radin said he never really craved it, preferring a career behind the scenes.

“I always wanted to do something creative,” Radin said. “I had been trying different mediums for quite some time. I stumbled into music when I was 30 and bought a guitar and taught myself to play and then write right away, writing my own songs. I just kind of fell into it.”

Radin’s feature on “Scrubs” caused waves, with his first album in 2006, “We Were Here,” charting number one on iTunes upon its release. His success started a bidding war between the major music labels for the right to publish his music.

“I picked Columbia because they had all my heroes like Bob Dylan, Miles Davis and Paul Simon,” Radin said.

Radin’s music would go on to be featured in a number of popular television series including “Brothers & Sisters,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “One Tree Hill,” “Leverage” and “Studio 60.”

“[Music] just felt natural, I guess,” Radin said. “I never really tried when it came to music … growing up.”

Radin’s latest release, the two-part “though the world will tell me so,” was released one song at a time before being compiled into a couple of EPs.

“I was trying to experiment with a new way of releasing music before because it’s ever changing in this industry,” Radin said. “People consume music so differently now than when I started.”

Though he conducted the experiment, Radin said he didn’t know the results.

“I find that if I get too concerned with the album sales or streaming, then it sort of takes away from the whole reason that I got into this, which was to be an artist,” Radin said.

Radin played to an audience at City Winery Pittsburgh on March 26 and 27. Michael Darin, front of house manager and life-long Radin fan, was present for both of the shows.

“[His music] is very mellow … I think that his music is very contemplative. It’s not something you get really excited about,” Darin said.

Regardless, Darin said, Radin’s live shows were fun and his involvement with the audience added something special to his sets.

“One thing he did, there was a song that he did where he had everybody clap, and then he would change, and we would all snap,” Darin said.

“[His songs] are very soft. They’re about love and romance and healing yourself. People just kind of sat there and listened. It was so nice.”

After his tour, Radin says he’s off to Los Angeles to record a new record.

As for what audiences can expect from his new album, Radin said only that the general theme is “falling in and out of love.”

“There’s a lot on this album that’s reminiscent of a lot of music that I grew up listening to, which was old soul music like Sam Cook and Bill Withers,” Radin said. “I think it’s going to be a kind of acoustic soul album with some Americana sprinkled in.”