When we last checked in on Josh Fudge, a bright young bedroom pop singer-songwriter from Oklahoma City, it was when he released the tender folk ballad “Meet Me In Seattle.” But in the year since, he’s released some more upbeat, poppy material, and become a rising star in the process: his debut album has racked up over 140,000 listens on YouTube, and I can only imagine the Spotify numbers are even higher. Success can sometimes feel confusing and arbitrary in a music world ruled by the whims of streaming and algorithms, but Fudge richly deserves it: he has a sharp ear for textures and melodies, and an appealing presence in his own music.
“FEEL LIKE,” Fudge’s latest single, is clearly a song with ambitions for mainstream success. The production is shimmery and summery, and it would fit comfortably on just about any feel-good playlist Spotify could care to make. But what makes it work is the clear sense that this song was made with care. Fudge has a genuine love for his material, the same way his chillwave antecedents did, and there’s nothing cynical or pandering about his populist impulses. There’s something friendly about “FEEL LIKE,” and about Josh Fudge’s music on the whole: there are no ulterior motives, just low-key warmth and a desire to share good vibes.
The last time we checked in on you was with “Meet Me In Seattle,” but this song is a major stylistic leap forward. Could you chart your development as an artist and songwriter from that point to here?
Absolutely. “Meet Me in Seattle” was a special song to me, but I just kind of wanted to try the acoustic sound to see how I liked it. It was fun to create, but my next song, “7 in the morning” is when I really found myself. I had always loved the indie pop/bedroom pop kind of sound, so I figured it was only natural to pursue it (I also love synths as a keys player), and found myself falling even deeper in love.
Was there anything that inspired this song in particular?
“FEEL LIKE” is a song all about how it feels to be rendered completely useless by love. After falling for someone, I tried to sit and think about how they made me feel, and it felt indescribable. I thought to myself, “How can I encapsulate this dopamine rush in music?” Then “FEEL LIKE” was born.
What would you say is the most important musical element in “FEEL LIKE?”
The most important element to “FEEL LIKE” is easily the bass. I love playing bass, and the line in the song was actually an improvised first take. Bass drives everything, and without a good bass line, “FEEL LIKE” just wouldn’t slap like it does.
Who is your major stylistic influence?
My major stylistic influences come from many different places, but I am a huge fan of Boy Pablo, Mac DeMarco, Jakob Ogawa, Clairo, Fiji Blue, BENEE, Thundercat, and more. I incorporate a lot of sort of retro textures too, drawn from my love for Tears for Fears, Depeche Mode, and other awesome synth driven sounds from a few decades back.
What are your ambitions for the future?
My ambitions are very big. With “FEEL LIKE” being placed on 4 Spotify editorials, including New Music Friday and Anti-pop, the future is looking really bright. I hope to continue growing my audience and building my fanbase until I am able to do music full time, and then just keep running. I am currently working forty hours a week in a warehouse, and would love to do music full time. I want to be able to write, record, and perform for a living, and be able to get my music shared all across the world. The end goal is Madison Square Garden concerts and collaborating with my favorite artists.