Canadian R&B-Pop Artist Josh Sahunta is kicking off 2022 with the release of his brand-new album, “Mellowdrama”. Hitting all streaming platforms on May 20th. the 13-track album features songs that touch upon themes such as love & heartbreak, nostalgia and mental health struggles.
Recently, I spoke with Sahunta about pursuing a career in music, his artistry, his upcoming album and more.
Kyla Pearson: For those who are unfamiliar with your music, can you tell us a bit about your path to pursuing music? What made you want to pursue a career as an R & B- Pop artist?
Josh Sahunta: I’ve been playing music for as long as I can remember. I met a lot of musicians with similar tastes in High School, and we would jam and write songs together. It was at that point that I developed the comfortability with singing in front of people. Fast forward to University, where I was studying Psychology, I started getting opportunities to perform at various student union events, and this made me more and more excited about the idea of being a legit musician. The performance opportunities kept piling in, and I was also recording an album of my own original music with a producer in Edmonton by the name of JDats. I would go to school all morning, go to work at my serving job right after, and then head to the studio late at night to work on music. This was essentially my routine for 5 years while I was completing my degree. Upon graduating, I released my first album called Dissonance, which ended up charting on campus radio across Canada. It was also picked up by a few commercial stations in Canada and the UK.
A couple songs from this album also ended up being used in two Netflix Original TV series (The Order & Tiny Pretty Things). All of these accomplishments ultimately led to me being able to perform and produce music as a full-time job, which is what I am still doing currently!
Kyla Pearson: Your melodic approach to music blends R & B and pop together. Who would you say are your primary influences that have influenced this stylistic choice? How would you say this unique sound helps you stand out as a contemporary artist in the genre?
Josh Sahunta: I was drawn to R&B quite early on in my career. I found the genre to be such a beautiful blend of real, live instruments and sampled, digital synths, and I couldn’t think of any other genre that used both types of sounds so tastefully. My two primary influences have always been Ed Sheeran and John Mayer. Ed Sheeran inspired me to start writing my songs, and John Mayer inspired me to pick up the guitar as my main instrument. Since then, I’ve been inspired by artists like Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, JP Saxe, and Charlie Puth, who all can tell great stories in such catchy ways. I’ve been told on multiple occasions that the thing that makes me stand out as an artist is my versatility. I’m a singer-songwriter, I produce my music, and I can hold my own on the guitar in a live setting as well. I’ve also never found myself to be limited to the genre of “Pop/R&B”, as I have written songs across genres that have all been received incredibly well. I’m working on a Pop/Punk song right now!
Kyla Pearson: As a songwriter, your aim is to share stories with sustenance. Why is this something that’s important to you, and what are some of the messages you hope to share with your fans via your music?
Josh Sahunta: I’ve always believed that a good song has to tell a good story. I’ve tried to make this the case with every song that I write and release. Some of my songs of course are very “commercial pop”, and focus a bit more heavily on creating a fun sound, but even in those songs, I am very cognizant of making sure that the story is compelling and relatable enough to be worthwhile telling. My songs tend not to “convey messages” as much as they instead try to create a relatable scenario that many (if not most) people can somewhat relate to. I think of my songs as being a friend that is there to listen to your problems and relate to them because they have been where you have been too. I think this gives me a lot more freedom to be creative with lyrics.
Kyla Pearson: On May 20th, you are set to release your album, “Mellowdrama”. The 13-track album features songs that cover themes such as love & heartbreak, nostalgia & memories, mental health struggles and more. Can you tell us a bit more about the inspiration behind each of the songs, as well as the songwriting and recording process? What do you hope fans will take away from the album?
Josh Sahunta: I am so unbelievably excited for this album as I have been working on it for the past 3 years, and have finally gotten it to the point where it is everything I wanted it to be.
Mellowdrama got its name because a) I liked how it sounded, b) the topics covered in this album are often very dramatic, and c) “mellow” is the best word I could have used to describe how I felt when listening to the album in its entirety.
This album is in many ways a culmination of a lot of things I’ve felt and gone through over the past 5 or so years. A lot of heartbreak, a lot of spiralling out of control into really unhealthy thought patterns and behaviours as a result of those heartbreaks, but also a lot of more uplifting moments as a result of meeting the love of my life and marrying her last year. It’s a bit of an emotional rollercoaster of an album in terms of themes, but in many ways, the past few years of my life have been nothing short of a rollercoaster. It’s been hard, its been messy, but also beautiful in its own ways too. I’ll talk about a couple of the songs below.
The song 16, which opens up the album, is in many ways a story of my experiences as a follower of Jesus in the last few years. It’s about wrestling with, and running from your faith, feeling inadequate and undeserving of unconditional love, and ultimately coming back to it with a renewed heart because it was the only place that you ever felt whole. It was inspired by my own life experiences, but also the story of “The Prodigal Son”, which I highly recommend reading if you haven’t before.
16 then goes into Broken, which is the 2nd single that I released from this record. Broken was written by myself and my friend Dan Johnson, who is a songwriter in the UK. It’s basically a song where I complain about constant failed relationships and becoming tired and cynical of ever finding love again. It’s also about that period of time shortly after a messy breakup, where all your friends treat you differently because they know you just had your heart broken. It’s almost like you’re walking around wearing a sign around your neck that says “I’m emotionally damaged”, and everyone can see it.
This Party Sucks, is one of the most commercially targeted songs on this record, and one that I love a lot. It was written with Robbie Jay, who is another phenomenal writer from the UK, and produced with Edgar Vargas, who I worked with on a few of the tracks on this record. We essentially wanted to write a party song, but I felt that “partying” isn’t something that is authentic to who I am (mostly because I hate parties), so we instead decided to write a song about leaving a party to hang out with someone you actually want to be with instead.
I’d Leave My Happy Home for You was a song that I wrote, recorded and released years ago, but still to this day, it is one of my favourite songs that I have EVER written. I cannot even tell you how many times I’ve been asked to sing it at a wedding or have it used in somebody’s wedding recap video. It’s a constant favourite at all my live shows, and it will probably go down with me as being one of my “classics” when I’m dead and gone. Even though it is an older song, I wanted it to be “immortalized” in a way by having it as part of a larger body of work. This album seemed like the perfect place to have it resurfaced, and I’m excited for people to finally be able to listen to this song on an actual vinyl record.
Flowers Don’t Bloom is the most recent, and final single that I’ve put out from this album. It was written and produced by a producer in the UK by the artist name “GETH”. I’ll be honest, it’s easily in my top 3 favourite songs on the record. This song is a bit of an exaggerated portrayal of a major downward spiral I went on after a pretty significant breakup I experienced in my life. It represents the lowest of the lows during a heartbreak where you get locked into a spiral of making bad decisions after bad decisions because your sense of self-worth is so horribly impaired. It never got quite as bad for me as the song describes, but it was pretty darn close.
Kyla Pearson: Pockets, in particular, brings up some interesting points on how social media affects relationships (during and after breakups). How would you say social media can play a positive or negative role during a relationship and the healing/moving on process after a breakup?
Josh Sahunta: I would say with complete honesty that social media does nothing positive for relationships whatsoever other than giving couples an easy way to look back on milestones in their relationship (which can also be done quite easily without social media too haha).
Pockets is essentially about that period, usually between 1-day post-breakup to anywhere around 2 years post-breakup maybe? (I guess it depends on how bad the breakup was). It’s the period where you are obsessively checking on your ex’s social media to get any sort of idea of what they’re up to, who they’re with, where they are, etc. I don’t know why, but we all do it. It makes it impossibly difficult to get over somebody when you can get somewhat of a feel for how “moved on” they are (unless they’ve blocked you of course). I think social media has made dating very, very difficult. It’s not even just the explicit problems it causes (ie. cheating, comparing your relationship to others, etc.), but also the implicit ones that are often just as bad (ie. when your ex stops liking your posts or seeing your Instagram stories, etc.) Maybe I’m just cynical, but I much prefer the days when everything you did in your life wasn’t so rooted in social media.
Kyla Pearson: According to you, what is the ideal setting to listen to the album, in order to fully experience it?
Josh Sahunta: Definitely on a long drive with the windows down on a beautiful, sunny day.
Kyla Pearson: Moving forward in 2022, what is one goal you hope to achieve by the end of the year?
Josh Sahunta: Right now, my only goal is to have a successful release of this album in May. Everything after that is totally not important to me just yet!
Kyla Pearson: Lastly, do you have any upcoming shows that fans can catch and hear you play the tracks off “Mellowdrama” live?
Josh Sahunta: Yes! On May 28th, I’ll be having a MAJOR CD release concert at Midway in Edmonton, Alberta. It’s shaping up to be my biggest show yet and it will be the first day to get all my new merch (new clothing, CDs, Vinyl Records, etc.) I’m extremely excited about it!
Listen To The “Mellowdrama” Album Now:
Grab Your Tickets For The “Mellowdrama” Album Release Concert:
Sahunta, Josh. Interview. Conducted by Kyla Pearson, Mar 23, 2022.
Unknown. “Featured: Canadian R&B-Pop Artist Josh Sahunta.” Photo courtesy of Josh Sahunta. Accessed Mar 23, 2022.
Unknown. “Featured: Official cover art for Josh Sahunta’s upcoming album, Melodrama.” Photo courtesy of Josh Sahunta. Accessed Mar 23, 2022.