Hear the Conversation 16:53 – 9.7 mb mp3
“I had never seen the show before; they had seen some videos of mine and gave me a call a couple weeks before the blind auditions were being filmed. They called me up and asked me if I wanted to be on the show,” Joshua Davis tells Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon and Spartans Athletic Director Mark Hollis about his appearance on NBC’s The Voice. “I said I didn’t know; I better take a look at it first.
“And so we watched it, and we liked it and I felt comfortable with my nine-year-old watching it, which was a big marker for me. The show was a great learning experience, and I met a lot of wonderful people. I was proud to be representing Michigan.”
Davis talks about what drives his creative process and says part of it involves getting out of his comfort zone and immersing himself in a variety of musical genres.
“What I’ve learned is that I need to reach out to a much wider span and range of things to be able to find and create my own voice.”
Davis has put his personal touch on the iconic MSU Shadows.
“It’s got such a legacy and it means so much to so many people. It’s a song that has a lot of nostalgia and tugs at the heartstrings. So I wanted to be careful with it and treat it with care, and I wanted to make it more intimate and bring it a little bit more into the present but also maintain a lot of that history because that’s what it’s all about is the legacy and our memories of Michigan State and what they mean to us. So it had to be handled delicately.”
Davis co-founded an organization called On Stage 4 Kids “that brings working musicians into schools to talk about their lives as creative people and puts organic, real music in front of kids from kindergarten through high school.”
“For me, music is all about community in a lot of ways. And one of the ways is that you have to have a supportive community to be a successful artist, and so a big part of what I do is working with organizations and giving back and playing benefit shows and making sure that I’m using my skills to make the world a better place in little ways.
“And that comes back to you. That’s one of the things I tell young people who want to get into this business is that it’s not all about me, me, me. It’s about forming and building a community.
“And hard work. A lot of people see artists or musicians as people who can be inspired and just make a masterpiece out of nothing, and that’s not what it’s about.
“A bigger part of it is the daily hours of work that you put into editing, arranging, learning and working at your craft. If you love something enough and you work hard enough at it then you’re going to be successful.”
Davis is a proud Michigan State University alumnus.
“I’m proud to be a Spartan. It was a really formative time in my life, and I’m really excited about people hearing MSU Shadows and hoping that people feel the way that I feel about it.”