6 min read

Artist Spotlight: Q&A with Josh Dorr

Featured Image

Music Audience Exchange (MAX) recently hosted Nashville-based singer-songwriter Josh Dorr in its Dallas office.

Dorr, a 27-year-old country artist signed to Ole Music Publishing, visited MAX alongside a few members of his label to check out our music and branding platform.

After our demonstration, Dorr played his 2015 single “Rocket," as well as a new song entitled, “I Need A Highway.”

He then sat down for a brief Q&A.



Question & Answer:

MAX: Tell me about yourself?

Josh Dorr: My name is Josh Dorr. I’m from Gilette, Wyoming, a coal-mining town, a blue-collar family. I got two older brothers pumping out babies left and right, so I get to play uncle when I go home and that’s always fun. I didn’t really start writing songs until I moved to Nashville; which was about 6 years ago.

Now I’m signed through Ole Music for publishing, so I get to write songs for a living every day. Which is amazing. I’m getting ready to put out a new record. We’re going in to record it at the end of this month with the newly Grammy-nominated Marshall Altman. He’s done Will Hoge and Eric Palsay, Frankie Ballard.

That’s where we’re at, working on that, and trying to build everything. Trying to get with companies like y’all.

[Jarred] just showed us [MAX’s platform and artist tools] and we’re like, “Oh my gosh.” It’s amazing. It’s like, really cool.

Y’all are on the forefront, I feel like. That’s the kind of stuff we like. I’m not a big artist. I played football in college a little bit, so I’m team-oriented. I love building things from the ground up. That’s what they’re doing with me. When we came to meet y’all, I didn’t really know what to expect. We were kind of freaked out at how cool that is.

MAX: So you didn’t move to Nashville until six years ago. Were you always into music?

Josh: Yeah, I love music, but I was terrified. I couldn’t even be in front of my communications class in college. I would almost throw up in class thinking about having to speak. But then I got injured too many times in football, and I couldn’t play anymore. I didn’t know what to do. I randomly met a bar band singer in Wyoming, and he knew who I was because, well, everyone in Wyoming knows everybody. And he’s like “I can make a phone call to Toby Keith’s record label Show Dog. I could make a phone call for you and see if they’ll get you up there to be an intern and then you can figure it out from there.”

And that’s what happened. It was completely by chance. I don’t know if I would have moved to Nashville and started writing songs if it wasn’t for him.

MAX: Did you always sing before that? Did you know you had a voice?

Josh: No. I always wrote short poems and short stories and stuff as a kid, but being in a town where I’m from, the arts aren’t the cool thing to do. It’s all sports, and my whole family is crazy athletic. So, you know, playing music wasn’t something that we needed to do.

MAX: What were some things that you were doing to get your name out there before you were signed?

Josh: When I first moved to Nashville and I was interning from, gosh, 9:00 to 5:00, and from 5:00 to 1:00 in the morning I would be waiting tables, bussing tables, and I’d go home and I didn’t have any furniture, I didn’t have any money. I spent all my money on a Macbook, because God knows those things cost, like, two months of what I made at the time.

We literally just sat on my carpet, sat on the floor. We had one workout ball. I’d just wait tables, and if people would say they were in the music industry, I’d say, “Oh, cool. I’m starting to write songs. Do you want to hang out?” Or you’d go to your friends’ shows. I didn’t know anybody when I moved there. I would just go to bars by myself. I was listening to bands and songwriters, and if I liked them, I was like, “Hey, can I go buy you a drink or something later this week?”

It was good because it forced me to get out of my comfort zone. That wasn’t my thing. I wasn’t that guy who had the confidence to just walk up to people. But then you build this little group of buddies and friends. It’s kind of like a high school, really. You form cliques and then become friends with other cliques. You kind of watch yourselves rise to the top, and then you get your shot in a couple years if you work hard and just write. Every 100 songs you write, there’d be two good ones, and the rest are crap, at least for me anyway. But, you gotta keep doing it.

MAX: How often do you play live?

Josh: There was a point last year, a few weeks when we were doing three in a day. Doing morning shows, a lunch show for Pennsylvania and then a night show in New York, then go out to eat. I was everywhere last year, but this year is kind of nice. We’re just writing and making sure the album’s tight. I’m hoping it’ll come out before June. That’s my hope.

MAX: What would you tell someone who’s either where you were right before you moved to Nashville or someone who just made a big move and is maybe a little lost of anxious?

Josh: I see people like that all the time. And, really, you just have to put yourself out there. If you’re not making yourself uncomfortable at least once a day doing something in that early stage you’re not doing enough. You need to go out and watch a bunch of shows, talk to people you wouldn’t normally talk to.

Mainly, though, you have to write every single day and practice every single day for hours and hours. It’s like the 10,000 rule. Once you hit 10,000 hours on honing your craft, that’s usually when people will start noticing. Sometimes it happens faster or longer. Like Chris Stapleton, for example. I used to go watch his shows at this place called The Basement. It holds like 100 people. I would go and watch him 5, 6 years ago, whenever I first moved there. And he’s been there for 10, 15 years. When I first moved there I heard him and I was like, “How is this... what are we doing guys? Nobody, like, why is he not a superstar?” Right place, right time.

MAX: It’s all about that big break.

Josh: Yeah


Check out Josh Dorr’s music on iTunes or Spotify, and connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.


3 min read

Balancing "Me" with "We"

The Challenge is Real

The power dynamic between brands and people looks nothing like it did twenty years ago—or even...

5 min read

The Pandemic Effect

Before the pandemic, people were already migrating towards more personalized—and often virtual—experiences. It may feel...

6 min read

The Emergence of the “Me-conomy”

Accelerated by the pandemic, technology has enabled a transformation in consumer behavior and a shift in the power...