INTERVIEW: Oshua speaks on the value of Discord for artists, the Australian sound and his new single
We spoke to Oshua about his love for the Australian music scene and the value of Discord for artists. He also discusses his new track, ‘AND PLEASE’, dropping June 8th, and his advice for aspiring artists.
Upon speaking with Perth artist Oshua for the first time, one would immediately find it easy to resonate with the warm-hearted immense talent. A force to be reckoned with who is notable for his unique approach to hip hop and trap music, Oshua’s recent come-up in music was spawned out of the COVID-enforced lockdown of 2020. “I first started making music in May 2020 during lockdown in Perth. I’m just trying to release whatever sounds good really, but mainly rooted in hip-hop, I think that’s what got me into music.”
It was in this isolated space where Oshua says he found Discord to be a valuable and inspiring place for an aspiring musician like himself.
“During quarantine I was either gaming or watching YouTube and because I was on discord for gaming, I was like, ‘Fuck it, I’ll join a random music server and see how I go’. I started learning from people in there, binged YouTube tutorials, downloaded the free trial of FL Studio and got addicted pretty fast.”
It was the pure enjoyment and satisfaction of curating his own piece of music that had Oshua hooked from the offset. “The first 50 songs or ideas that I made, they were all terrible, but the actual process of writing, recording, making melodies and mixing - everything in between, I found it all fun from the start. I just kept learning, and people on Discord are pretty giving, I sat in on peoples live streams and just asked them questions,” he says.
“There are a mixture of experienced creators and people just starting out but everyone there enjoys music so there is always something to learn.”
As is the case for artists of a similar ilk who value honing their craft over time and opt for experimentation in the face of music trends, Oshua describes his music career so far as being typified by ‘a lot of trial and error’. “A lot of the ideas I’d initially made, like the first however many songs, it was all me just trying out what works because I didn’t know how to rap, I didn’t know how to sing, I didn’t know how to write so there was a lot of learning. But everything has been really enjoyable so I can’t complain at all.”
And as he felt the embrace of the tight-knit and welcoming Perth music scene, he saw his music elevated to a stronger echelon. “Meeting all the Perth artists, everyone is so supportive, I just didn’t expect it. I’m really grateful that the people I have met have given me very honest opinions. If something sounds terrible or like it could be improved, they tell me.”
Oshua was around 13 years old when he first began immersing himself in music and says there’s a hip-hop foundation to every song he creates. “Hip-hop was the first genre I got into, meaning the music I make is always going to be rooted in hip-hop in some way whether it’s the drums or how I fill space. In terms of different types of genres and
production that I pick, I just choose whatever sounds good to me. Right now, I’m
recording a future bass-y type of song, but it’s still rapping with some melodic
singing. I wouldn’t say my style is pure hip-hop but there are always elements of it in
my music – it’s what I love.”
When asked about the diverse nature of Australia’s current sound, Oshua speaks with admiration about the sheer versatility of sound being produced by artists across the entire country. “That’s something I really love about the Australian music scene – not just hip-hop or R&B, but all genres – I think globally, Australia doesn’t have a known
sound yet, everyone’s doing them, and every city has its own scene that’s growing
fast, even if some of it does sound like music that’s already been done - it’s what
they prefer making. What I hear from other Australian artists is pure and I fucking
Oshua’s fascination with hip-hop and music in general was facilitated upon discovering iconic New York group A Tribe Called Quest, with the jazz-influenced foursome serving to make Oshua fall in love with music. “They made me want to get Spotify. I wasn’t listening to music before 13, it just wasn’t a thing I was doing and then a mate from school showed me Tribe and that got me into music straight away.”
And when asked about his current listening habits, Oshua showcases the range of sounds that perhaps serve as an indication of his own creative variability. “To be honest, at the moment, I’m not heavily listening to an artist’s discography or an artist’s albums, I’m listening to whatever’s in rotation, singular songs. It’s more that I have favourite genres at the moment, not really artists,” he explains.
“Juice WRLD for a few years was my favourite artist, not because of the lyrics or the type of genre that he made, but his voice, the raspy-ness in his voice I found so catchy - there was energy behind every word. More recently I’ve been listening to a lot of techno, Hip-Hop, Afropop, old and new school R&B – artists like Alicia Keys, Rosalía, SoFaygo and Rema are in heavy rotation.”
Oshua’s biggest regret in his music career so far is equally a great piece of advice to freshly budding musicians, moreover, it pertinently speaks to his desire to craft an individual sound and approach to music-making.
“When you’re first starting out, you don’t have to release everything you make. That was my mindset when I first started, I was like ‘I’ve finally finished this song, time to release it’ but those songs I first released, they’re all deleted now because I just don’t think they were good songs. Now I’d rather make a bunch of demos, pick one, finish it, consider whether that finished song’s good, go to another demo and do the same. I spend a lot of time on ideas as opposed to finishing a song. Personally, for me that’s what’s working. You don’t have to release everything you make.”
His other advice for artists, new and old, is to download and utilise Discord as a means of creating connections that will enhance the overall quality of their music. “Get Discord if you’re an artist. I don’t care if you’re just starting out or you’ve been doing it for years, you will 100% meet someone who will learn something from. In my opinion, Discord is still the place to be, the place to connect. I still go in there every day.”
When we ask Oshua if he has any new songs due to release soon, he laughs and says, “Tons! The next song I’ve got coming out is called ‘AND PLEASE’, its dropping
on the 8th of June. The song’s about self-love. ‘shoOsh’ was cheeky, a bit of a vent.
Not at people, but at conversations. ‘AND PLEASE’ is more about taking care of
yourself. Showing love to other people only after you’ve learnt to love yourself.”
Oshua’s new single ‘AND PLEASE’ drops tomorrow, June 8.
Photo 1 by @notoriouslai
Photo 2 by @ryotajade
Photo 3 by @kickflipskateboard
Photo 4 by @sageflicks
Photo 5 by @ffcphotos
Photo 6 by @domllonzo
Words by @livdaangel