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Music » Sound Stories & Interviews

On Demand

How a sitcom landed singer-songwriter Joshua Radin a career in music



A famous friend with connections to the music industry is a good thing to have if you're trying to launch a singer/songwriter career. The thing for Ohio-born Joshua Radin and his college buddy Zach Braff ("Scrubs") is that the last thing Radin wanted was to be a musician.

"I didn't grow up playing music," explained Radin during a phone interview with the Source. "About nine years ago, I was going through a breakup with this girl and I didn't know how to tell her it was over. At the time I was frustrated and needed an outlet. The creative things I was doing at the time weren't working. I picked up the guitar and learned a few chords just to get my mind to open up and dwell on other things."

Radin didn't necessarily use a song to do the breaking up, but he did pen a hauntingly sorrowful letter by way of acoustic guitar and his pillow-y voice that eventually led him right where he had no intention of going.

"I ended up writing up my first song and I played it for Zach [Braff] who was a buddy in college," remembered Radin. "He told me that 'Scrubs' is always looking for music and suggested I record a demo. So I did one for the song 'Winter.' The producer called me and asked if he could use it for a really sad scene he had coming up in a show."

The song starts playing during a funeral scene that showcases one of actor John C. McGinley's (Dr. Perry Cox) most vulnerable moments on the show as his character mourns the loss of his best friend (Brendan Fraser) to leukemia.

"After it aired, it shut down the NBC website from so many people trying to find out who was singing the song," said Radin. "I had only been playing the guitar for six months at that point. This whole career sort of came out of a demand from the public."

"Scrubs" producers tapped Radin's quickly growing catalog of music for future episodes and in 2006 his first collection of songs appeared as the album We Were Here. The album was a spot-on representation of the singer-songwriter genre, but Radin had one thing in particular going for him aside from his very poetic lyrics.

His voice—the one he never intended to use for anything other than mere conversation—developed into a deeply emotional springboard, whet with softness.

"I always knew that I could carry a tune," said Radin. "But I hadn't ever done anything but sing in the shower or the car. My voice is so whispery. You really have to strip away most things to hear my voice properly."

From that unlikely start the 39-year old Radin has—as of last May—released five studio albums, and his songs have been featured in more than 100 television episodes and movies.

Joshua Radin

with Gregory Alan Isakov and Ivan & Aloysha

6 p.m. Sunday, August 25

The Athletic Club of Bend

61615 Athletic Club Dr.

Tickets $28 at Newport Market

About The Author

Ethan Maffey

Both a writer and a fan of vinyl records since age 5, it wasn't until nearly three decades later that Oregon Native Ethan Maffey derived a plan to marry the two passions by writing about music. From blogging on MySpace in 2007 and then Blogspot, to launching his own website, 83Music, and eventually freelancing...

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