IMM Web Edition

Josh Damigo

The man with "HOPE" chats with Jenny about his new album ...

Jenny: What inspires your passion for music and who has been there supporting you from the beginning?

Josh: I'm FUELED by my friends/fans who come to shows. They are the ones that I play for. I regularly let them know that I would have given up on this ridiculous industry without them. I enjoy those who enjoy me. They scare off Internet trolls, fight for me, and push me to write better and stronger songs. I wouldn't be who I am today without them.

Ex-girlfriends also inspire me, but in an evil way... Like the way u smell your own breath and decide its time to brush your teeth... ;-)

Been there from the beginning is a great way to put it. People come and go regularly in life, but I can still remember my good friend Dr. Dave at one of my first shows, and he just ordered my new album. It means an awful lot when you get to enjoy someone who has been through the thick and thin with you. I think he comes to mind because he's been in my band, been a fan, and was probably the first person who accepted me as an artist!

Jenny: What influenced you to pick up a guitar? What kind of guitar was it?

Josh: I remember my father having a Takamine when I was a kid. It was an acoustic, light skinned guitar, and I would throw picks in it, which would really make him angry. (I guess I was a brat back then too...)

As I got older I wanted to play that guitar again, so I bought one. It had some problems eventually and I had to sell it, but that was my favorite and first guitar that I bought for myself.

Jenny: Do you play using music theory or do you play by ear? Or both?

Josh: A little bit of both. As a kid, I had to practice piano regularly, and took lessons for about 6 years. Then I moved to the trumpet. Then I moved to the baritone(tuba) then I moved to the guitar. Much of what I do now stems from my lessons as a kid, but now I'm more likely to be creative and make things up.

Jenny: How many guitars do you own? Which one is your most precious and why?

Josh: I have a bunch... I'll have to answer this at home! Don't let me forget! :-)

Jenny: Please list strings, pedals, amps etc that you use.

Josh: I use D'addario custom light strings and a digitech loop station to loop my vocals/beatbox and guitar. I'm kind of a minimalist, since acoustic music is my absolute favorite!

Jenny: Who are your musical influences? Why? Name your favorite techniques from your influences.

Josh: Jim Croce is probably my all time favorite songwriter. I love storytelling and rhythmically smart melodies. I also like Shawn Mullins. His song "lullaby" has been my favorite song for a really long time and is probably the reason I do what I do today.

Jenny: You write all your own music. Who do you draw inspiration from when you write songs and what is your favorite part of the songwriting process?

Josh: I like captivating an audience. There is not much better than taking a full, loud, obnoxious group of jersey shore types and playing a song that takes them fall out of their fist-pumping lifestyle into something deeper and more meaningful... Even if it only lasts a minute and a half.

My favorite part of the process is when it's done and I have that, "this is a good song" vibe... I probably get one of those after every 20 or 30 songs unfortunately. :-)

Jenny: What is your own process of songwriting? How do you go from a spark to a finished song?

Josh: I am very scientific when it comes to songwriting. It's similar to writing a term paper in high school. I start with a feeling/idea and branch out from there. I make sure every line is sound and if it doesn't get stuck in my head, I toss it out. Melody comes after I find my hook, and all lines are pretty close/relevant to each other.

Jenny: Who do you think is the world's greatest singer/songwriter? Most underrated?

Josh: Greatest would be Diane Warren or David Foster. Most underrated used to be Jason Mraz, but now I think it's Taylor Swift or Katy Perry. People are quick to write them off because of who they are, but I've made a dozen or so fans for them by making peeps sit down and actually listen to their tunes. Maybe you don't like pop, maybe you don't like girlie tunes, but there are some FANTASTIC lines in their tracks... Some that make me slap my head and say, "damn... I wish I had written that..."

Jenny: What is your motto? What advice do you live by?

Josh: There are only 2 things in your life that you can control. Everything else is completely out of your hands. Those two things are your Attitude and Effort. That's probably the best way I can explain my view on life. No matter what happens, if I keep those two things in check/a good balance, I can set myself up for a smile at the end of the night.

Jenny: For our readers who have never heard your music, how would you describe your music in one sentence?

Josh: Catchy, smartly crafted tunes that grab you, then shake you up inside, and make you pop, violently fizzing with gooberish smiles.

(bwahahhaha!!! That was a really stupid sentence... I hope it made u laugh!)

Jenny: Do you think singer/songwriters are the best interpreters of their own work or do you believe some cover versions can be better than the original?

Josh: You must pay homage to the original tunes, but I've heard covers that are better than the original.... It's not very often to me, but a good example is "I Started a Joke" by the Beegees. They wrote it, but the Wallflowers perfected it (in my opinion)

My new album has a cover on it, called "I'll have to say I love you in a song". It's a Jim Croce tune and I feel like I've made it my own.

Jenny: What is the greatest thing about working in the Music industry? What would you change if you had the opportunity?

Josh: Greatest thing is being able to sleep in.

Worst is the pretentious/fake "friends" that are only using you to get to their musical goals. (listen to LA is Not My Home...)

Jenny: Have you had any vocal coaching? Have you had any schooling and/or lessons

Josh: I was only in choirs. I haven't had any coaching. I have a hearing problem which allows me to hear my voice better than most people do. I think I lucked out on that one. :-) at the same time, I'd rather not be able to sing if it meant I didn't have to go through all the surgeries/ ear infections I had as a kid...

Jenny: How much playing did it take to get to the level you are at today?

Josh: A lot. I've played over 400 shows at this point and practiced in my room for a bazillion hours... Not to mention all of the women I had to date in order to be inspired...

Jenny: What classes or courses would you recommend for someone wanting to be a professional singer/songwriter?

Josh: School of Hard Knocks. Don't get book smart. Get gig smart- go play open mics, go to shows, go sit at a guitar store for 8 hours a day and learn how to apply music and not just learn about it. Be a DYNAMIC performer. Don't be boring. :-)

Jenny: Share with us your proudest moment in your career. What awards and/or titles have you received? Which one are you the most proud of?

Josh: In order of my favorites: 1. San Diego Music Award for my album "Raw" and then repeating with "best acoustic" the next year. (people can still help me win this year by voting online!!!) 2. Having Ingrid Croce tell me that my cover of her late husbands song was "The best version she had ever heard and that Jim would have love it." 3. Opening for Shawn Mullins. 4. Opening for Switchfoot 5. Having Ramblin Jack tell people at my show to shut up cause he wanted to listen. (you'll have to look him up.) 6. Winning the Singer-Songwriter contest at this year's San Diego County Fair.

Jenny: What current projects are you working on?

Josh: My new album coming out is really my only focus. I'm also working hard to catch up on Breaking Bad and training to become an ultimate fighter... (Okay... The fighter thing is a lie... But with the way people drive these days... Jussayin...)

Jenny: Your new album "Hope" sounds pretty personal. What was in your heart when you wrote the songs?

Josh: I had just moved to LA (for a girl... Bad choice...) and she broke up with me. (I know... Wtf????) "Hope" is about that. The highs and lows are what inspired the album. I think girls have the ability to be angelic devils and flip to devilish angels as quickly as a hummingbird's wings flap. (I'm sure guys do it too, but I haven't ever dated a guy, so I wouldn't know...) most of the songs on the album deal with the idea of hope, whether it's for a relationship or something more intimate/personal. Conquering fears. Supporting our troops. Learning to love. Apologizing for not being able to. It's all in this bad boy. You should make people buy it... Then I could eat Captain Crunch all day and never get out of my pj's... ;-)

Jenny: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Josh: I'll be doing a bunch of touring this year and I'd love to meet new friends/music family along the way. I guess I'd just like to say "thank you" to everyone who is helping to make my musical dreams come true. Thank YOU for taking time to listen to me and other new artists, ask questions, and plug our albums. Even returning emails can be a pretentious waste of time with some magazines/writers because this industry is just about being cool many times. It is so refreshing when people just love music. Those are the peeps I want to meet and hang with. I blog at joshdamigo.com and Facebook at Facebook.com/joshdamigomusic and tweet at @joshdamigo, but in all honesty, I want to meet real people at clubs and house shows. I want to know you guys by name and let you inspire me.

I guess that's all my ranting. I'm just so full of gratitude for my fans believing in me enough to pay money to make this record happen. (Signing a few hundred "thank you" notes will do that I guess.) :-)