Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal combine soul, funk and R&B to put on an electric show. Inspired by the sounds of Stax, Motown, Muscle Shoals, New Orleans, Philly and San Francisco, the band continuously crosses musical boundaries both in style and era, and joins forces each show with a common goal - to have the crowd dancing so much they forget even their smallest troubles.
2017 was a big year for the band as Josh was featured as a contestant on NBC's The Voice, along with their 27-city European tour capped with a live album release from their show in Brussels, Belgium.
In 2018, their tour takes them to Chattanooga, TN on Friday, January 12 at Clyde’s on Main. Showtime is at 9pm. Tickets sold at the door.
We had the pleasure of speaking with Josh about his love for music, his experience on The Voice, and his upcoming show in Chattanooga.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get starting playing music and singing?
I’m 41, from Lincoln, Nebraska, and I’m a family man. I have two little girls whom I love very much and a wife I love very much. I’m still playing music at this age and am very thankful for that. As a young boy, I was always singing and dancing around the house. My dad took me to his high school talent show when I was six years old, and that was the first time I ever sang in front of people. I sure enjoyed it. I sang “Hurts So Good” by John Cougar Mellencamp, which was a hot song during that time. The girls liked it, and I liked that the girls liked it.
Does anyone in your family sing?
I’m not one of those guys who has a long lineage of famous musicians. It’s difficult to be independent and create your own story. My folks met in band class, and music wasn’t anything they pursued after high school. My grandparents on my mother’s side used to play in a band in a barn where they do barn dances, so there’s music in the family, but it’s never been a career path for anyone I know in my family. It’s a difficult path, but when we connect with people musically, it makes a big difference. I still believe in the magic of it.
Have you ever been to Chattanooga before?
No, but I’ve heard it’s really beautiful.
Have you spent any time in the state of Tennessee?
I’ve played Nashville and Memphis shows, and I’ve actually made a couple of records in Nashville.
What’s your favorite thing about Tennessee?
I haven’t seen enough to know, but I know that there’s a spirit of the unexpected there that could happen around any corner. A lot of that has to do with the industry and who all is there. I’ve really enjoyed the people we’ve met from Tennessee. The locals are the salt of the earth, great people. They seem to really enjoy life, and are very hospitable to us, making us feel at home. It’s similar to Nebraska, but Tennessee has better whiskey and cooler accents.
How would you describe the sound of Tennessee music?
Tennessee has a lot of different flavors. I’m a Stax guy, personally. That’s the style of music that my band plays - soul, R&B, and funk. There are so many different sounds from Tennessee that are great. But that’s my flavor...down home, dirty R&B that came out of Memphis with Stax...full of life, greasy, and funky. That kind of music is what we probably lean towards the most, and that’s what I love the most. There’s also some really beautiful music outside of that genre. For example, Jason Isbell…even though he’s from Alabama, he moved to Tennessee. And I love some country music…it’s honest music.
Tell us about your time on NBC's The Voice. What was that experience like for you?
The Voice experience was really interesting. It pulled the curtain back a little with how Hollywood works. I like how it provides somewhat of a connection between Hollywood folks and regular folks. They give you your chance to reach out to people and be heard by the masses, which is neat. I made good connections with people all over the country because of that. But like anything, it’s a mixed bag. That’s what one of our songs is actually called, “Mixed Bag.” I don’t want to say anything too negative, but I’m a really honest guy. And what’s interesting to me is that I think people who watch the show, they get used to performances being over stimulated and over-sensationalized. And also, it’s just for a short period of time, the performance is close to a minute and a half. Suddenly, this person is now a star. That has its positives, but it also has its negatives. Because when someone comes to see you perform, you’re not on the big stage anymore. You’re playing music you wrote, for three hours. I’d like to bridge the gap between people who are used to over-sensationalized performances and connect them to what I’m doing as an artist. Most everyone on that show writes their own music. It takes some time. It hit me once at a show in Nebraska…everyone was excited to see us perform, and then they lost interest. I put my full heart and soul in everything I do. We’ve made great connections, and if you’re going to spend the money to go out, you should have a full-on experience. Sometimes, the audience doesn’t see that you’re an artist. But I’m thankful for the experience, don’t get me wrong.
Watch a video of Josh's blind audition on The Voice here.
Tell us about the decision to play in Chattanooga on this tour.
I have an agent out of Colorado that helps us out, and he has some southeast connections. Chattanooga’s a beautiful town. Clyde’s loved what they heard, and asked us to come play. We’re thrilled to break into a new market and play for some new people. It’s joyful to play to new people, meet new folks, and have a good time.
What can we expect from your show?
The audience can expect a world-class soul, funk and R&B show. Every player in the band is world-class caliber. In fact, I’m the worst player in the band. Everyone loves to do what they do. We don’t go through the motions. We want to connect with people and the songs. We give everyone our full heart and soul at every show. It wears us out after ten days of shows, but that’s just what we do. It’s a sweaty, joyful, funky mess.
Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?
I’m trying to live a little healthier, eat better, and cut down on my smoking...the typical ones. I’m also working on having more faith in people and remembering that most people are really good deep down. I’m allowing myself to open my heart to more people.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
We played our first European tour last year, performing thirty-six shows in forty-two days. Every place we went, the places were packed. We encourage people to go check us out on the web to see if it’s your flavor. I promise a good time and an experience you’ll remember. Give us a shot.