Next Wednesday’s December 9th Vanessa Carlton show at World Café Live has been sold out for quite some time now and I’m sure those with tickets are anxiously anticipating the return of the piano pop singer/songstress, they should also be aware that her support for the evening, Joshua Hyslop, is well worth getting excited about (and getting to the venue by about 8, when he takes the stage). Hyslop has been on the road with Vanessa for the majority of November on a batch of dates that wraps December 19th in Asheville, North Carolina. He’s touring behind his second full-length, In Deepest Blue, which came out this October on Nettwerk. The sound of the Canadian singer/songwriter and guitarist is delicately penetrating folk pop, perfect for the most poignantly pensive of youth or anyone looking to re-live the trials and tribulations of the heart that come along with the experiences of young love and “finding yourself.” The album was apparently largely inspired by Joshua’s extensive “house show” tours, where he quickly got intimately acquainted with the stories of a plethora of strangers. Over this holiday weekend I got a chance to chat with Joshua about his ongoing, music-driven travels.
Izzy Cihak: So you recently released your sophomore effort, In Deepest Blue. Have you had any particular favorite reactions to it?
Joshua Hyslop: My favorite reactions are when people take the time to write me or come up to me at a show and say what the album has meant to them. It’s an amazing feeling to have written something from my heart and to have it connect with people in that way.
Izzy: How do you feel like the album compares to your debut LP, Where the Mountain Meets the Valley? Were the processes of writing and recording significantly different?
Joshua: I’m not sure I can compare the two. I feel like Where the Mountain Meets the Valley was a snapshot of a chapter in my life and, in the same way, In Deepest Blue is a snapshot of a time in my life. I love them both but for different reasons. The way In Deepest Blue came together was different from the first record mainly because I had a clearer picture of what I wanted the finished product to be when we started.
Izzy: What were the most significant influences behind In Deepest Blue?
Joshua: A lot of my songs are inspired by different conversations that I’ve had, or books that I’ve read. It’s like they’re the culmination of several different experiences. A lot of this album came from a time when I was feeling very down but trying to hold onto hope.
Izzy: So I realize this is a pretty big question, but what have for you, been some of your own personal highlights of your music career so far, which is still relatively new?
Joshua: It ranges. A few years ago I flew out to Maui and got to play a show with Mic Fleetwood at his rooftop bar and this year I got to open for Ron Sexsmith a few times. Those were pretty incredible and humbling experiences. But I’ve also been doing house shows across Canada for a long time, and some of those nights have also been highlights for me.
Izzy: And how has it been on the road with Vanessa Carlton? Were you a fan or friend of hers prior to these dates?
Joshua: It has been great being on the road with Vanessa Carlton. She, and everyone on her crew, have been so lovely to me. I was familiar with a couple of her songs but I checked out her new record a few weeks before the tour and it’s solid.
Izzy: What can be expected of the live show when you perform here in Philly – for a sold out crowd no less – in the very near future?
Joshua: I’m very excited for the show! I’ll be playing songs off both of my records and my EPs too. It’s going to be a lot of fun!
Izzy: Since we’re nearing the end of the year, I’ve been asking artists what their favorite music of 2015 has been. Have there been any songs or albums to drop this year or live performances that you got to experience that you found especially great or inspiring?
Joshua: I got to see David Bazan perform in Vancouver, BC in a room with about 30 people in it. That was hugely inspiring.
Izzy: What’s in the works for 2016? What are you hoping and planning?
Joshua: I’ll be playing a lot of shows in 2016, and I’ve been writing a lot as well so I might be heading back into the studio sometime next year!