Ones to Watch in 2012: Josh Kumra
Every so often a voice comes along that stops you dead in your tracks. Seeing that that I typically gravitate towards strong female vocalists, for a male vocalist to draw me in, he has to be REALLY good. Let me tell you, Josh Kumra is REALLY good. What about Kumra's voice struck a chord with me? What didn't, is a better question. Stirring, soulful vocals with plenty of rough-around-the-edges rasp and grit, reminiscent of a Jamie Scott (of Graffiti6) or a young Ray LaMontagne. Kumra sounds like he's been singing for years and years, which just isn't the case given his young age. Simply magical.
In his first single, the beautiful, sultry, soul-stirring "Call Off The Search," Kumra croons about finding "the one," a woman who doesn't care about material things, rather loves him for him. Cliche as the subject matter might be, that's all cast by the wayside as Kumra's vocals envelop you. I find myself hanging on every word, caught on the phrasing of and delivery of each meaningful lyric. Josh is offering up the song as a free download on his Facebook page, so make sure you go and check that out.
Co-written by Josh and the beautiful Maiday (who appears as a featured vocalist on the track), "Call Off The Search" is a brilliant and beautiful debut for this gifted singer/songwriter. Kumra was introduced to hip-hop audiences last summer when he was featured as a vocalist on Tottenham-born rapper Wretch 32's #1 single, "Don't Go," which not coincidentally, was co-produced by Maiday. Check him out in the Ben Newman-directed clip for "Don't Go" and you really get a sense of how versatile Josh Kumra is as an artist.
Josh Kumra hails from Swindon, in South West England - the same town that brought us singer/actress Billie Piper. Growing up listening to his father's music - Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Nina Simone - Kumra was influenced at a young age by real, honest-to-goodness raw musical talent. Being completely self taught, Josh picked up his first guitar at the age of three and has been perfecting his art ever since, which helps explain why he gives off such an air of experience and natural talent. Having already been featured on a #1 single not to mention playing prominent festivals like Glastonbury, V and on Later With Jools Holland and Radio One's Live Lounge series - Josh Kumra is a rising star in every sense. Now signed to Sony/RCA Josh is currently hard at work on his debut album. Check out some beautiful exclusive, acoustic performances over on The Mahogany Blog for an idea of what he sounds like live. I am looking forward to hearing much more from this guy and after listening to "Call Off The Search," I think you will agree.