(Singer, Songwriter, Producer and Label Owner)
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!"
MzHouse 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.
MzHouse Diva: What happened to Blaze and is there any plans in the future for any collaborations?
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.
MzHouse 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.
MzHouse Diva: How do you tend to write? Where does your inspiration come from?
Josh: 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.
MzHouse Diva: Who were some of your musical and lyrical influences?
Josh: 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.
MzHouse Diva: Who are some of the artists in the music industry, would you like to work with in me future if given the opportunity?
Josh: Dwight Trible, Chaka Khan, Lawrence Hobgood, Jazmine Sullivan, Ledisi, Tonex, Flora Purim, Nicole Cabell, Barbara Streisand and Toots Theilemans.
MzHouse Diva: What do you look for when you decide to work with someone?
Josh: Talent that moves my heart, to be able to feel the person in my heart when they perform.
MzHouse Diva: Do you play any instruments?
Josh: I play keys, guitar, bass, drums and percussion, and the mic. :-)
MzHouse Diva: Even though you've had many releases in the
House Music genre, you've worked with a lot of musicians from
other genres of music. How essential is that element to the music you create?
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.
MzHouse Diva: Do you think there are a lot of great musicians being cultivated now?
Josh: 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.
MzHouse Diva: Do you still get nervous before a performance?
Josh: 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.
MzHouse Diva: You recently performed in Chicago at The Wonder Bar and how was that experience?
Josh: 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.
MzHouse 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?
Josh: 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.
MzHouse Diva: Out of all your songs, is there any one that sticks out as your favorite?
Josh: 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.
MzHouse 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 conveying?
Josh: 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.
MzHouse Diva: How did you get into producing?
Josh: 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 consistent.
MzHouse 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 critical acclaim?
Josh: 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.
MzHouse Diva: Tell us about Honeycomb Music. What artists are you currently producing and are excited about?
Josh: 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."
MzHouse Diva: Now that you have the freedom that comes with having your own label, what kinds of projects would you like to work on?
Josh: 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.
MzHouse 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?
Josh: 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.
MzHouse Diva: Could you describe how the EOL Project differs from your other work?
Josh: 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 family.
MzHouse Diva: You’ve been in the music business for a while. What lesson do you wish you’d mastered earlier in your career?
Josh: 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.
MzHouse Diva: How have you adapted over the years to the way the industry has changed?
Josh: 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.
MzHouse Diva: How do you feel about House Music becoming more digital? Do you think that hurt or help the house music industry?
Josh: 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.
MzHouse 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?
Josh: 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.
MzHouse Diva: How does the gospel/Christian community embrace your success?
Josh: 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.
MzHouse Diva: Tell us something we didn’t know about Joshua Milan?
Josh: 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.
MzHouse Diva: So when you finally finish this amazing career, what do want to be remembered for?
Josh: Being a good person. Having wrote songs that helped someone.
MzHouse Diva: What do you see in the future of house music?
Josh: 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.
MzHouse Diva: How would you like to see “Honeycomb Music” in a few years from now?
Josh: 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.
MzHouse Diva: Can you tell us about your future plans or Have you any plans (personal or business) that you can share?
Josh: 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 guitar company.
MzHouse Diva: I definitely can't wait until your next release. Thanks for your time and it was a great pleasure doing this interview with you.
Josh: This interview has been a real pleasure.. Thank you so very much for considering me for it.
***** For more info on Joshua Milan including new music and performance dates please visit ; http://