Josh Xantus (otherwise known as Josh X) recently dropped his latest free digital mixtape entitled, Everybody Hates Josh X in preparation for his debut album, Can I Live. I was lucky enough to meet up with the young native New Yorker to discuss his emerging music career, his expectations as an artist and the one person who inspires him to keep reaching for the stars.
Parlé Magazine: How did you know music is what you wanted to pursue?
Josh Xantus: I started playing music since I was 6 years old. I didn’t know I would be in the music business but I knew I wanted to be a musician. My mom gave me a piano when I was 6 and she was insisted that I play but unfortunately the classical music was not my style. I played that until I got old enough to have a say in what I wanted to do music wise and I decided to switch up. I started to sing songs like Brian McKnight’s “Anytime.” I realized I wanted to do this for the ladies. I started writing songs, meeting the right people and those people got me into the right places in the music business.
Parlé: Your latest mixtape, Everybody Hates Josh X, can you bring us into the thought process of how you put this particular project together?
Josh Xantus: First, it started off coming up a lot of times, the circle of people around you becomes jealous of the success you’ve gained, which is life. I wanted to write about the haters and I address the changes. I brought a Bentley GT a few months back and I could instantly see the hate in people’s eyes when I drove by. I’m young, I’ve been blessed and I’m working but they don’t see it that way. All I hear is “Oh, I want a Bentley too!” I tell them you can have one too if you work for it. With that being said, I was in the top 30 for artists under 30 years old to look out for. I came in third, it was Trey Songz, Lloyd and then me then Miguel, Omarion and the list goes on. I only cared about the top three, Miguel’s fans were battling my fans which was perfect because at the time Lloyd’s mom was tweeting me trying figure out who I was so I told her, “Google Me” and she told me she couldn’t front, I was talented but she didn’t want me beating her son. I took all the drama from that experience and put that into Everybody Hates Josh X.
Parlé: How has success treated you thus far?
Josh Xantus: My mom keeps me humble, she doesn’t care what kind of car I’m driving and even though she lives in my house, she’s not afraid to kick me out. I don’t know if you know anything about Haitian culture but Moms does not play. When I come home, I’m not Josh X to her, I’m her son Joshua. I’ve been blessed and I’m aware of that so it keeps me pretty humble. I remind myself everyday that even though you’ve got nice things, all those can go away. Nothing lasts forever especially if you get carried away.
Parlé: You’ve had the opportunity to work with such big names as Swizz Beatz, Jim Jones, Jadakiss and many others. You’re just starting off but who would you like to possibly collaborate with in the near future?
Josh Xantus: It would be Marsha (Ambrosius), I love her work. I’ve worked with a lot of people and they’re like okay but I really would like to work with Marsha and I’m looking to get that done. A friend of mines did a single for her, I thought I was gonna be in the mix but I never got that phone call.
Parlé: Can you tell us about your upcoming projects? I know you have 3 mixtapes out, but tell me about this album.
Josh Xantus: I’m working on crafting my debut album, Can I Live. All my songs have a message, if you listen to my song “Catch A Fallen Star,” that song is about people who have everything but lose it because of hate, which all goes back to what inspired my mixtape. There are people out there struggling to feed themselves and their family and they see people flashing jewelry, driving Bentleys and they can’t wait to take that away from you. A lot of time people think, it’s the material things that make you and that’s what draws envy but they don’t know that it’s really the people behind the scenes that make it all worthwhile like your family and friends. If someone took my Bentley away, that’s fine, I can always get another but if they were to take away someone close to me there’s no replacing that. I’m taking my time with the album because I want people to be able to relate to what I’m trying to say on my songs.
I also started a clothing line called, “Swagga Boy Clothing” I got a couple of artists wearing it, Wyclef being one of them just because we’re both Haitian, we got that shared experience. There’s no website for the clothing line yet but I’m in the works of getting it done.
Parlé: Do you have plans for a single on the album yet?
Josh Xantus: There’s a single out for it called, “I Don’t Care”. This album is all about making choices and once you make those choices can you live with it. When I was writing this album, my mom was diagnosed with heart disease and I was in college, I wanted to drop out to help her but I wasn’t sure if this music thing was really going to happen. I decided to stay in college but three weeks after I finished, I got my record deal. I made the choice and this is what I’m living with. That’s what the albums all about.
Parlé: What is your biggest fear with this new found success?
Josh Xantus: My biggest fear is not being able to provide for my Moms and get her the life she deserves. I come from a single family household with four brothers and sisters. She’s living pretty comfortable but I want to get her EVERYTHING. She’s had a real hard life growing up and my dad wasn’t around, I want to get it to where whatever she needs no matter what it is, I can get it for her. If she wants to fly to Paris tomorrow, I don’t have to worry about saving up the money to do it, I want her love the rockstar life she deserves. Even if I have to give up everything, I want her to have it all.
Parlé: The newer generation of artists rely heavily on social media to get their names and products out, do you feel this is helping or hurting?
Josh Xantus: I would give all my music away for free if I could. It bugs me out to see people singing my songs. Social media is a gift in itself, I know the label won’t be about it but to me it’s not about money, it’s about helping people. If you love it so much then support it. I love social media.
Parlé: What is your goal for the future?
Josh Xantus: Grammys! I work hard and it’s just nice to get recognition. You see artists like Adele, who’ve been making music for a while but this past year she dominated the Grammys. She’s not booty shaking or half naked, she’s just making music and that what I’m trying to do.
Parlé: Would you rather have loyal fans or numerous awards?
Josh Xantus: A little bit of both. I want Grammys, I want to achieve that. I would like them both equally.
Parlé: What inspires your music?
Josh Xantus: Women. I get inspired by the ladies just what they go through and my love for them in general.
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Image by Reggie Wilson for Parlé Magazine