Meet Josh Barry – Singer/Songwriter Headlining at Mama Shelter Shoreditch

London born soul singer/songwriter Josh Barry tells us his music influences & icons, how it all started and his favourite East London spots...

Tell us about your influences, icons and how & when it all started?

Having grown up with an eclectic taste and various avenues of inspiration available to me, I like to think I have a wide range of genres influencing my music. Without being here all day, it’s loosely soul based but I grew up heavily influenced by indie/rock music whilst also singing & performing in ‘The Lion King’ in the theatre. I like to think that somehow elements of all of those sounds are in there somewhere.

What’s the biggest problem you’ve had to overcome?

Probably my mental health, although I wouldn’t say that’s something you ever overcome. I suppose you learn to manage and/or understand it better.

Are your lyrics generic or based on real experiences?

I struggle to write about anything that hasn’t really happened. Unless it’s something I think could happen. Either way, not generic.

Do you ever get nervous or anxious before a performance and if so, how do you deal with it?

I don’t think I can share my embarrassing superstitions at this point in my career haha.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Learn to love the things you don’t like doing and value yourself.

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

I would love to do a song with Paulo Nutini. I love his music, big inspiration!

Last live music/concert you saw?

I find myself performing and collaborating a lot, but I think the last concert I actually pre-planned to go to was Maverick Sabre at KOKO. I’m sure I’ve been to others since but for me that stands out. Incredible Artist. Incredible Venue. Incredible Show.

Favourite gig you’ve played so far?

It would have to be Red Rocks with Gorgon City. I’m desperate to go back and play my own show there. There’s a reason that place has won so many awards. The energy is like nothing I’ve experienced. In terms of playing my own music, performing at The Olympia theatre in Dublin with ‘Rag n Bone Man’, back in 2018 was pretty special. I’m actually jumping back on tour with him this summer for a few UK dates.

If you could open a show for any artist who would it be – dead or alive?

There are so many! Jimi Hendrix would be up there, Bob Marley, Amy Winehouse. But if they had to be alive, Paolo Nutini maybe.

What do you like to do if you’re not playing music?

I love watching football. I’m a big Arsenal fan, come on you gunners! spending lots of time with my family cooking epic meals, nothing makes me happier to be honest.

What new music do you like?

Huge fans of Gabriels! Loving what they’re doing at the moment.

What are you working on right now?

I’ve been all over the place creatively, in a good way. I’ve been working on my next EP, having just wrapped up the first single ‘Oh Dear’. I’m also still working in the dance world with Defected Records; ‘Take My Hand’ with Sam Divine comes out in June. I’ve been blessed to work with Moyses Dos Santos on his upcoming record, which is a list of names I’m honoured to feature alongside. But I think I’ve already said too much haha.

Any advice you’d give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Walking your own path is the key. Follow your gut, we’re artists, we’re not meant to do as we’re told.

What does success look like for you?

I’m grateful for everything I’ve achieved so far, so to be honest, I’ll have more of that please. I want to be able to be my authentic self, releasing music and touring it. I’d worked for a lot of other artists, so now I want to do it all again but for my project. I just want to be able to fully support my family and myself with my career.

Any East London stories/memories?

I did a series of secret location shows of my own called the Josh Barry experience where I invited all types of singers, DJs and even poets to perform alongside me – this was definitely a highlight of my life in East London! I’m also working on something with Mama Shelter London Shoreditch this summer which I think will definitely be a stand-out memory, especially after headlining its Jazz Festival last year.

Favourite East London drinking den? Favourite tipple?

A hidden gem of East London is definitely The Dalston Lounge. People make a place and I’ve always had a good time there. And of course, the cocktails at Mama Shelter London Shoreditch are top tier, you’ll find me there this summer for sure

Favourite East London restaurant?

The Ethiopian Vegan Place next to Dalston Junction never fails!


Where to see Josh live? Mama Bar, Mama Shelter Shoreditch, 437 Hackney Rd, London E2 8PP @mamashelterlondon
When? 11 June 2023
Listen Spotify and Youtube

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Josh Barry east london
Photo: Warren Dupuy

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