Hear the Conversation 7:40 – 4.4 mb mp3
by Hannah Watts
Michigan State University alumnus and musician Joshua Davis finished in third place on NBC’s hit reality competition show The Voice last season. He talks with Russ White about his time at MSU and how it impacted him, what made him dive into the world of reality television, and his rendition of the university’s iconic alma mater, “MSU Shadows”.
“I had never seen the show before and I didn’t really have a taste for reality television in general,” Davis says. “But, I felt comfortable watching it with my nine year old. That was a marker to me that it was a very supportive show that focuses on positivity rather than knocking people down.”
Having gone through Michigan State University’s theatre program, Davis attributes his work ethic to his time in school.
“If you really love something and work hard at it every day, you can be successful,” he says. “That’s what being a Spartan left me with. Work ethic and the sense of community here at Michigan State is what started my musical career.”
Davis’s advice for young people looking to break into the world of music is to work hard and treat people well.
“Even before The Voice, I worked as a full-time musician for 15 years,” he says. “I made a living and paid a mortgage. I wouldn’t be in the place I am now if I hadn’t put in the work. It really paid off and being on The Voice gave me a lot of national recognition – you can’t buy that kind of press.”
Some of Davis’ success arose from an ability to recognize and value his connections.
“Every interaction that you have could be a really important hinge in your life or career,” he says. “I try to treat every relationship I have with respect and I think that’s been everything for me. Treat people well and you get treated well.”
With the help of talented students and staff, Davis arranged a cover of Michigan State University’s iconic alma mater, “MSU Shadows.”
“I feel honored – it means a lot to my family and to me,” he says. “The song has a lot of legacy and means a lot to alumni. To be trusted with this piece of music and cornerstone of a community is really special and I definitely don’t take it for granted.
“Now, I’m trying to shine a light on the great music we have here in Michigan. I’m doing what I used to, just on bigger stages with more interesting opportunities.”