This Blog is designed for the lovers of House Music (True Househeads)and those who are discovering house music for the first time. Come get your daily fix of House Music..Come get Lost in House Music with me..
Josh Milan is one of those
rare artists in this business whose music is truly timeless. You can
play his remix (along with co-producer Kevin Hedge) of Cold Cut
featuring Lisa Stansfield’s pop dance hit, "People Hold On",
today and it still sounds as fresh as it did 16 years ago, or
Blaze's, "Can't Win for Losing", you'll find lyrics that
are forever relevant. His catalog totals over two-hundred published
works, making it the largest catalog produced by any single entity in
the genre. As artist and businessman, he has been involved in almost
every facet of the music business.
After 25 years on the
scene, Josh Milan is just as current as he was then, producing
relevant hits today as he did back in 1985. "I'm doing what I'm
supposed to be doing." Josh further explains, "Music is
Gods voice and my ears are pressed against his lips." JOSH MILAN
has been a student of music ever since he was in grade school in
Brooklyn, NY. At an early age, through the influence of his mother,
he learned to appreciate music from many different genres. "I
believe that music is an extension of a man’s inner self" Josh
says. He grew up in a religious household, and learned to play the
organ in the church. He later teamed up with Chris Herbert and Kevin
Hedge and the three of them formed the performing/production team
known as Blaze. Co-writing and producing many artists, along with
Hedge, became the primary focus. As his career blossomed, Josh
learned to arrange vocal harmony, and vocal performance.
After 20 years of writing,
arranging, and performing music, Josh is yet playing in the church
and staying true to his roots in Gospel music. Josh Milan is writing
and producing a full length CD that will feature songs written and
produced by him. "Sandra St. Victor, ChinahBlac, Crystal
Johnson, Cinnamon Brown, Honey Sweet, and a few others have lent
their talents to complete this project. It's going to be awesome"
Josh says. "There is a lot of live instrumentation that the
industry has gotten away from. That's the main reason I'm starting
Honeycomb Music. I wanted to be in full control of the music that
comes out. Labels like to have a hand in your music. The industry has
a way of dictating what some producers feel they should produce. I'm
choosing to march to my own BEAT. After that project comes out
sometime this Summer, I will be finishing my solo project. I'm
looking forward to an extremely creative year!"
Diva: We know
your career first kicked off with Blaze, but how did you get started
with the group?
Josh:The lead vocalist and myself
were church buddies. I was a musician in my church and he was a
singer. He introduced me to a DJ friend of his that wanted to form a
group that was patterned after Larry Levan's "Peech Boys."
After a few jam sessions we began to write songs together and
eventually landed a session in the studio to record our first song.
We gave the music to a few local DJ's and won the attention of a
small record label in NYC, and our career began.
What happened to Blaze and is there any plans in the future for any
Josh: Blaze's demise is an all too
common story in the music industry. To make a long story short, I've
been a producer, songwriter, artist for the past 27 years in Blaze
and not a business man. And therein lies the problem. The
artist/musician wants to record music and have people listen and
enjoy their creations. Business is an after thought. The artist
would much rather have someone else handle the business. I allowed
my partner to handle the business. And I was totally taken advantage
of for many years. Lots of money was taken from me, that I truly was
unaware of. But I take half of the responsibility. I should not have
allowed anyone to handle MY business. And that's something I want
your readers to understand. This music industry is brutal, and very
much a business. There's plenty of talented people in this world.
And we wonder why so many less talented people make it. It's
because somebody handled their business incorrectly. In this business,
talent, musicality, and even swag, IS NOT ENOUGH to make it. The
ARTIST has to learn the BUSINESS of music.
Diva: When did you first
full in love with house music?
Josh: When I first heard "Move
Your Body" by Marshall Jefferson. And also back in the mid 80's
when Tony Humphries rocked the Zanzibar.
Diva: How do you tend to
write? Where does your inspiration come from?
My life experiences tend to be my biggest muse. I like to tell a
story in my songs. I focus on healing the world lyrically. I always
want to be an encouraging voice to hurting people. These days, the
world is in pain. So many senseless deaths, and war. Corrupt
governments, dysfunctional families and the like are permeating our
planet. It's nothing to see a mother cursing at a 2 year old child. And
then there is the lover, romantic side of writing that I also enjoy.
There seems to be a lack of love, true love in the world. There are
way more single people than there are married or committed couples.
My thoughts tell me that it's because of the lack of true love or
the understanding of it..I listen to a barrage of awesome
songwriters that definitely influence my songwriting. There's James
Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Sting, and instrumentalist like Pat Metheny,
and Robert Glasper that are huge influences on me.
Diva: Who were some of your
musical and lyrical influences?
Chaka Khan, Jaco Pastorius, Jay Dilla, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Robert
Glasper, Andrae Crouch, Oteil Burbridge, John Coltrane, Donny
Hathaway, Pat Metheny, Lionel Loueke, Gretchen Parlato, Minister
Thomas Whitfield, Louis Armstrong, Oscar Peterson, James Taylor,
Louie Vega, Joaquin "Joe" Claussell, NYC, and many others.
Diva: Who are some of the
artists in the music industry, would you like to work with in me
future if given the opportunity?
Dwight Trible, Chaka Khan,
Lawrence Hobgood, Jazmine Sullivan, Ledisi, Tonex, Flora Purim,
Nicole Cabell, Barbara Streisand and Toots Theilemans.
Diva: What do you look for
when you decide to work with someone?
Talent that moves my heart, to be able to feel the person in my heart when they perform.
Diva: Do you play any
I play keys, guitar, bass,
drums and percussion, and the mic. :-)
Diva: Even though you've
had many releases in the
Music genre, you've worked with a lot of musicians from
genres of music. How essential is that element to the music you
Josh: I like music that has
different influences, it taste better. Think of it as food;You
can't expect food to taste amazing, when cooking with only one
ingredient. Musically, I take from my Brazilian, Latin, African,
Hip-Hop, Gospel, and Jazz experiences. It's who I am.
Diva: Do you think there
are a lot of great musicians being cultivated now?
Absolutely. They are definitely out there, Jacob Collier comes to
mind. He's a 19 year old musical genius. He plays many instruments with
the skill of a master. He sings his own arrangements of jazz
standards and originals in the style of Take 6, and The Singers
Unlimited. That style of harmony is extremely hard for many many
singers. The reason why we don't hear of musicians and singers like
this is because there is little to no money to be made. So major
companies like Sony, and Universal, won't give these people a chance
because this is a business. They are in business to make money, but
there are plenty of amazing singers and musicians being cultivated.
Diva: Do you still get
nervous before a performance?
I sure do. Anxiety attacks
happen sometimes, depending on the crowd. If I'm performing in front
of a crowd that is familiar with what I do, I'm still nervous, but
not as much.
Diva: You recently
performed in Chicago at The Wonder Bar and how was that experience?
Whew!!!!!! I did sing. And
the people enjoyed it. But the highlight of that night for me was
when I DJ'ed. I played music from the 70's through today. I even played a
rock record and it worked!!! That was an unforgettable night for me
as a DJ.
Diva: What draws you to the
deeper, soulful side of House? Why has it often been overlooked by
mainstream audiences, yet thrives underground and how can that be
changed to reach a broader base?
For me, soulful is the only
way I know. I need to feel fed and the only way to feed me is
through the element of a humans touch. That could be musically or
lyrically. I don't have a problem with computer generated music, but
in terms of Soul, there must be a person involved. A computer
program doesn't have the ability to touch my soul, or feel my pain.
It can't give me hope, like a human can. That's what soul music is.
Music that touches or moves the soul. Music one can feel.
The reason I think soul music is not thriving is a direct reflection
of the synthetic world we're living in. There is a strong demand for
plasticity and quick fixes such as microwaved food, cell phones, and
such. Book reading is slowly becoming a thing of the past.
Libraries have fewer visitors. Musically, there is no difference.
Today's generation want to hear music that is generated with
sequencers and programs. They tend to sound harder and phonically,
high defined. It's like hearing music in 3-D. As opposed to
listening to Stevie Wonder play the piano. There is a rush when
entering a club that's playing this synthetic sound. The music is
loud and fast, and there is lights and action going on. Sometimes,
drugs has a hand in the sound of todays club kids. That synthetic
sound plus ecstasy go well together. It's an unforgettable
experience. And they want more and more of it and less to do with
soulful music. R&B is similar. There is more glory in bling than
there is in being talented and singing or performing music with
meaning. Especially if an entertainer is over 30. The most successful
R&B soulful singers with amazing talent are struggling like
everybody else. While
those with less talent, that sing a more synthetic, sterile sounding
music are topping all of the charts. Angela Bofill, The O'Jays, and
Curtis Mayfield wouldn't stand a chance of they were to come out
with a debut project today. There are a few that actually make it
doing soulful music. But my point is that there aren't enough of
them. Bottom line is money. There's money in synthetic music.
Diva: Out of all your
songs, is there any one that sticks out as your favorite?
Not really. There are some that I adore that haven't been released.
But if I had to choose just one, it would be Found Love. It talks
about a higher love. Not just a romantic, eros kind of love. It's
about more of a godly love. Agape.
Diva: Your single "Children
of the World” is currently out on Honeycomb Music, how long did it
take to write that one? And what is the message that the song is
Children Of The World is co-written by myself and Louie Vega. It's
the first single on The Elements Of Life album "The
Eclipse."It's on Fania Records. It took maybe a week to
complete the lyrics. I'm 43 years old. In only 40 years I will be
83. The children today will be our leaders. We will need them to be
equipped with the knowledge to run the world. And they can't do it
with sagging jeans and being ignorant. I feel that our children,
especially in urban communities are going to need a lot of help in
learning their role as our future leaders. With parents not
parenting, and teachers having sex with them, how can we expect our
future to be bright? This song is an effort to inform the children
of the world that they are our future.
Diva: How did you get into
Trial and error. As a
musician, I would always listen to records and try to pick apart
what instruments was used in a song and how they were used. So when
I got in the studio to do my own songs, I already had a decent
understanding of many instruments and the sounds they're capable of
making. Producing music became second nature to me. For me, Quincy
Jones is the leader of quality production. Especially in the 80's.
He used many different musicians, yet the quality and sound is
Diva: Your single “Your
Body” was a huge success that quickly became a club anthem and it
also topped the charts .Did you expect the track to receive such
Thank you. One never knows
what will or won't be a hit. At least I don't. I just do what I feel
and whatever happens happens. That's the only way for me. I never do
a song with the idea that it's going to be a hit. Nor do I try to
make it sound like something else that was a hit.
Diva: Tell us about
Honeycomb Music. What artists are you currently producing and are
I started Honeycomb out of
complete frustration. I felt that there were no labels taking
chances on soulful music. At least not like I wanted to hear it. I
was missing real musicians and songs with intro's, and breaks, and
endings. Honeycomb is dedicated to doing music like that. We've got
many coals in the fire. Currently, I'm working on a poetry project
that will feature some rare groove sounding music and some amazing
poets. I have new talent that I'm producing singles on, namely Tracy
Brathwaite who wrote her single "Smile". Sheree Hicks has
an EP coming out that will feature songs written by her and produced
by Sol4orce and myself. Cinnamon Brown is blessing us with a new
single "Give Me Your Love."
Diva: Now that you have the
freedom that comes with having your own label, what kinds of
projects would you like to work on?
I'm open to whatever sounds and feels good. There are no rules or
boxes that I live in when it comes to releasing music.
Diva: Considering your
musical career, I assume, you had some very interesting experiences
along the way. Would you be willing to share an unforgettable story
that you fondly recall?
Recently, as part of The Elements Of Life, I was part of a Dance
Parade in NYC. It was a major event. And Louie and his staff put the
Honeycomb logo on the float as a surprise to me. I felt very
emotional at the sight of it. Those acts of kindness and generosity
are rare in the music business.
Diva: Could you describe
how the EOL Project differs from your other work?
EOL is a melting pot a
musicians from Cape Verde, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Brooklyn(Me),
and Africa. And I feel that musically, we sound just as diverse.
It's something I love. The only difference is that my productions are
just me. I sometimes use musicians but they are hired. EOL is a
Diva: You’ve been in the
music business for a while. What lesson do you wish you’d mastered
earlier in your career?
I wish I had been a business person from the start of my career
instead of a studio only guy. I wish I'd put as much time in
learning to read contracts.
Diva: How have you adapted
over the years to the way the industry has changed?
The only major change that really affected me was transitioning from
a studio only guy to a Label Owner and business man. The music
industry will always be a business like any other business. One must
know the business in order to be in it.
Diva: How do you feel about
House Music becoming more digital? Do you think that hurt or help
the house music industry?
House music becoming
digital in terms of online sales is great. However, I think that
vinyl, and cds have their place. Part of the reason why sales have
dropped is because those that used to buy records don't go online
and rebel against the new way of digital sales. They'd rather play
vinyl and enjoy music that way. Digital sales have lowered the price
on singles, so a toll has been taken in the pocket of house music.
Causing vinyl record stores to close. At the same time, digital
sales have allowed Honeycomb to reach New Zealand, and Africa with
just the touch of a button or a click of the mouse.
Diva: As a Christian
Artist, who has to live in the "worldly world that is showbiz,
how do you balance that with your duties of delivering spiritual
gospel through music?
Christianity is a
lifestyle. I embrace that lifestyle wholeheartedly. However, I do
music for a living. Not house music, not gospel music, just music. Spiritually
I have a duty to tell others about Jesus Christ to the best of my
ability. And as a Christian, I must strive to be like Christ. But
musically there is no box for me.
Diva: How does the
gospel/Christian community embrace your success?
I think that the Christian world is learning the broadness of God.
When I was growing up, we didn't have such a broad view and
understanding that God wasn't
only at our church. Today we are discovering Gospel hardcore rappers and
heavy metal gospel. So with that being said, I feel respected and
embraced. I certainly won't be singing "Your Body" this
Sunday in church, but the people won't judge me as quickly as they
once did years ago.
Diva: Tell us something we
didn’t know about Joshua Milan?
LOL.. I have a fear of statues, and flying insects. Soul Food, and
Sushi are my favorite dishes. I love 1970-75 Cadillacs. And I ride a
motorcycle. I cry at movies. I'm a foodie. I enjoy cigars.
Diva: So when you finally
finish this amazing career, what do want to be remembered for?
Being a good person. Having
wrote songs that helped someone.
MzHouse Diva: What do you
see in the future of house music?
I like the way Mos Def answered this question with regards to Hip
Hop. He said "If we're smoked out, Hip Hop is gone be smoked
out. If we're doing good, Hip Hop is gone be doing good."
House music is going to be doing whatever we, the lovers of house,
are doing. And I intend on being extremely successful.
Diva: How would you like
to see “Honeycomb Music” in a few years from now?
I'd love to generate enough money to hire a staff of family that
understand the vision of Honeycomb which is to sign life changing
talent from all over the world and to develop artist and release
amazing soulful music, whether it be slow or fast.
Diva: Can you tell us
about your future plans or Have you any plans (personal or business)
that you can share?
I plan to finish my solo
project. It will be a collection of music that will reflect my total
musicality. There's a little bit of everything there. I even covered
a Beatles tune. I recently completed an instrumental project with a
few musician friends of mine. We call ourselves Honeysweet. Look for
that on Vega records. I'm producing an album on the iconic and
legendary Dawn Tallman. I'm working on an endorsement deal with a
Diva: I definitely can't wait until your next release. Thanks for your time and it was a great pleasure doing this interview
This interview has been a
real pleasure.. Thank you so very much for considering me for it.