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Josh Savage – Lost and Found

May 29, 2016
Josh Savage; Photo: Common Spark Media

Josh Savage; Photo: Common Spark Media

Anyone familiar with the acoustic music scene in London will have heard of singer/songwriter, Josh Savage.  In their ‘Ten Artists to Watch,’ The Huffington Post says:  “Fantastic song writing and a resonant, rich voice, Josh exhibits real skill as a musician and singer.”

At just 24, Savage has garnered himself an international following, performing his own acoustic rock and folk compositions in the UK, USA, Europe, Canada and the Middle East, despite being unsigned and without representation.  The self disclosure of his lyrics, coupled with unexpected phrasing and emotive musical composition engages the ear, and once heard, lingers like the scent of French perfume on a silk scarf.

Listen to him once, and it is easy to get hooked.

Following the success of his first EP, Savage recently launched himself as a bilingual singer/songwriter with his 2nd EP, the french-language Quatre Épines. To promote the EP, Savage booked his own “Living Room Tour,” packed up his guitar and a bag, and with his cameraman, set off for a dizzying schedule of shows in living rooms across Europe. The tour culminated in a sold out EP launch at historic Winchester Guildhall, surrounded by friends, family and fans from across England and Europe.



We caught up with Josh Savage shortly after the launch of Quatre Épines.  He had just moved to London and was working on writing his first full length album.  We asked him about his sound:

“When I get asked, I say my sound is Folk/Rock but I don’t really know. I don’t believe it truly represents my music but it gives an idea. I don’t like labelling my own sound. When I write music I don’t aspire to sound like someone else, I write songs to get things off my chest. I am obviously influenced by other people’s music but more on a subconscious level.”

Savage’s voice, sometimes soulful, sometimes innocent, has a clarity that blends and contrasts with his instrumentation to generate a timbre of perfect harmony.   Vocal purity, delicate features, floppy curls and a gleaming smile mix with evocative lyrics, to create a cocktail that earns Savage a place in the tradition of medieval French troubadours:

“I would say ‘troubadour’ is an accurate summary of what I do, perhaps not what I sound like. I definitely travel a lot! In time, I’d like to tour with band and more ambitious arrangements.”

Ambitious arrangements are well within Savage’s grasp.  As a child in Paris, and a youth in the UK, Savage stretched and refined his voice, performing as a choral soloist in France, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. A piano player from the age of 4, it wasn’t until Savage began to sing that his passion for music was born.  After school, Savage went on to complete a music degree at University of York in the UK.

The influence of classical choral and orchestral arrangements is clear in his music, as Savage moves with virtuosity between guitar, keyboards, trumpet and vocals, and glides from ballad to rock with ease.

“I recall Henry Purcell was a favourite of mine when I was singing in choirs when I was 10 and Coldplay influenced me into writing songs. I’m a sucker for melodies and I love all sorts of music like Bonobo, Bear’s Den, Olafur Arnalds and Yann Tiersen.”

For Savage, writing is something that begins with melody and composition.  A piece will run through his mind and he hums out the chords, refines and rewrites the melody before he begins to work the lyrics into his melody.  Yet time for composing can seem difficult to find:

“To be fair, I’ve done very little writing since releasing Spaces EP. When you’re managing, booking and tour managing yourself and couchsurfing, it’s very hard to find the right balance and unfortunately it’s difficult to find time to write songs. That’s why after 3 years since university, I decided to move to London to focus on writing.”

Part of the urban myth that has grown around his music is the story that Savage chose to write his final University thesis in French, in order to prevent his professor from grading him on his lyrics.  Those who understand French will know that he is equally versatile as a French and an English lyricist.

Sais-tu je rêve toujours aux mémoires de nos baisers
Mais tu m’as brisé le coeur car tu préviens du malheur
Avant que rien n’ai vraiment commencé

Do you know I still dream of the memory of our kisses?
But you broke my heart because you foresee misfortune
Before anything really happened

Lyrics © Josh Savage, from ‘Quatre Épines’


Even those unable to understand French cannot fail to be moved by the title song from his EP, Quatre Épines, inspired by the devotional love of the Prince for his ‘Rose’ in Antoine de Saint Exupery’s famous parable, The Little Prince.



We asked Savage about his influences, as a writer:

“My granddad has an endearing habit of muttering random lines of poetry to himself. I ask him about his favourite poems and borrow his poetry books from time to time and they sometimes inspire me to write songs but other than that I know little of poetry.

Of course, I aspire to get better and better. The danger with art is that success tends to have an influence on your creativity. You can end up taking less risks and trapped in creating what you think you should create rather than what you want to create.”

Savage manages to keep taking risks, writing emotionally complex and mature lyrics with authentic vulnerability.  Deeply personal, his unguarded songs invite the listener to visit their own private places of love, loss and hope.

New bonds won’t stretch thin
In this high tech world we live in
I could see ours rust across our shores
Then I stumble upon clues
And I see them haunt you
You’re so scared to tell the truth

Lyrics © Josh Savage, from ‘Your Lips’


Being an affable and optimistic young man, we wondered how Savage managed to achieve such melancholy in some of his lyrics:

“…When I hit rock bottom, I write a song about it and it gets it out of my system. I always aim to add an optimistic spin on my sad songs though. When I’m happy, I tend to be too busy making the most of it rather than writing about it, unfortunately.”

An old soul in a youthful form, Savage achieves a wide range of lyrical moods.  He is a musician that is hard to categorise.

“My demographic is actually pretty spread out and I’m not sure why. I have an international fanbase and my music seems to suit older audiences as well as younger ones. When I first toured the US, Poland and Germany for the first time, I often had people coming up to me after the show saying they’ve been listening to my music for a while and it blows my mind!”

Savage is particularly beloved in Europe.  While in Poland this spring, Savage was invited to participate in his first TedX performance.  The performance has helped to showcase him to a large crowd in Warsaw, and to a larger, worldwide, TedX audience.

Savage has striven for every bit of exposure he has achieved.  As a teenager in Winchester, he worked the summer music festival circuit, studying the bands and meeting people in the business.  Over time, he has been steadily invited to play more and more of these same festivals which are so important for showcasing musicians.  His summer tour schedule is already filling up with festival gigs.  Large audiences, according to Savage, bring a great energy and unpredictability to his performances.

But perhaps it is in intimate settings where his poignant music is best experienced.  Savage holds the worldwide record for performing the most shows (over 40 shows as of last month) with Sofar Sounds, the secret-location, indie gig organiser that was founded in 2010.  Taking the ethos of Sofar to towns even without a local group, Savage booked 44 living room concerts across the UK and Europe in the summer of 2015.  The previous year, Savage undertook a similar living room tour of the UK and France.



TTDOG has had the pleasure of hearing Josh Savage perform in both large and small venues, but the living room concert is a uniquely intimate experience.

“If I had never played my first Sofar Sounds show in Oxford back in January 2013, I might not still be doing music today. It was the best show I had ever played and it was such a breath of fresh air compared to demoralising shows playing to drunken audiences who talk over you. Sofar Sounds has been a great way to introduce my music to new audiences in new cities where you don’t have the pressure of bringing an audience and can actually focus on playing a good set.”

Savage doesn’t just show up and play Sofar concerts.  This enterprising musician took the idea of these gigs to his own town, organising local acts and venues.  TTDOG wondered how Savage, a singer/songwriter, manager, performer, promoter, and tour manager found the energy and time to take on the committment of organising a concert series involving other bands.

“The energy and hard work I’ve put into setting up Sofar Winchester has never been an issue. Hampshire in general doesn’t have a great music scene and I felt it needed something like Sofar. It’s made me really happy to see Sofar Winchester flourish in the last 3 years and supporting other struggling acts I’m passionate about. I’ve had people help me in my music career and it’s my way of giving back.”

TTDOG asked Savage if he had further plans to work with other musicians in their own careers:

“I would love to produce other musicians but there are only so many hours in the day. That may be something for a later time.”


What strikes everyone about Josh Savage is his unwavering hope, both for himself and for others. Perhaps the most personal piece he has written is ‘Mountains in Hurricanes,’ a track from his first EP, Spaces.  Savage explains that the song is about someone close to him, who was suffering psychosis.  The way this person managed his psychotic episodes was to take long runs along a path that led up a local hill.  His lyrics reveal a man willing to go to almost any length to overcome, and to help others overcome adversity.

If it’s too much, give me a call
But I doubt that too much will be enough

You can take it all
You can take on mountains in hurricanes
And if you fall…
I’ll give you my bones to break ’cause I have faith
I’ll give you my bones to break ’cause I have faith

Lyrics © Josh Savage, from ‘Mountains in Hurricanes’


At many of his gigs, Savage tells the story of his talented friends who have given up practicing their art, because it is unlikely that they will succeed in the business.  Josh Savage is not so daunted.  He is a man of passion and determination to pursue his dreams and that serves as an inspiration to other musicians and to his audience.  Savage relates a story of a former heroin addict, who, upon hearing his music, decided to walk to the South Pole and achieve his own dream.  TTDOG admits that on days when it seems difficult to be inspired to write, the memory of Josh Savage quoting Nelson Mandela to inspire his audience to never lose sight of their dreams is enough to shake off any lurking defeatism.

Josh Savage is no starry-eyed dreamer.  He knows the odds and yet, he persists:

“I have 3 part-time jobs to keep me going and the reality is that you may never be able to make a living solely in the music business, which is why if you go down that path you have to be very very passionate about it. If it never leads to anywhere, I can safely say I’ve had a fantastic journey and no regrets.

…I don’t see any point in thinking that far ahead. If it feels right to move on from being a singer/songwriter, I will know. However, I have a feeling that whatever I do will always involve music.”

Savage has begun work on his debut album and plans to release another English language EP, shortly.   Yet, he knows that everyone must have a Plan B.  Should he fail in the pursuit of his dreams, Savage’s plan B is to get lost in his childhood city, Paris.  The thought inspired this song and video from his Spaces EP.



Whether at a Sofar gig, in the recording studio, on a festival stage, or lost in Paris, we at TTDOG are grateful that Josh Savage has found and continues to share his passion:  Music.


TTDOG asked Josh Savage:  For what are you most grateful and where do you find your greatest joy?


“My friends and family who keep me grounded and have helped me on my journey.

I find my greatest joy after finishing a song, performing or losing myself in a beautiful place.”



To hear more of Josh Savage’s music, buy his EPs , attend a gig, send him jars of honey, or fresh roses, click the links below:


Josh Savage Website

Josh Savage of Facebook

Josh Savage on Twitter




Ten Thousand Days

Gratitude, Joy, Oneness and Service (Day 385 – 391)

September 14, 2015
Photo: Michael Hall

Photo: Michael Hall

Well, I guess this is officially the first time I’m writing a weekly post.  Summarizing this week is not sunshine and peanut butter.  It is more like swimming in mercury runoff, dancing on “e” at a rave and silently whale watching.  What a week it has been!

Last time I wrote I said I was confused.  Wow, have I ever been.  I met up with a friend and even she noticed it.  I think I would get lost on the way to my own toilet these days, if I didn’t have a GPS.   This isn’t brain fog.  It is a kind of existential discomfort and confusion.  I can only have faith that whatever weird thing is going on at a deep level and taking all my mental energy is some form of creative destruction.  Watch out.

Kali is the goddess of destruction and she is usually depicted with a severed head in her hands.

Swimming in Mercury Runoff

I know that people consider me a kind person.  I am, but I’ve come to the point where I am ready to burn a lot of bridges.

People often mistake kindness for weakness or stupidity or simply having no boundaries or feelings.  This week I had a lot of that – in my face.  I have had people think I am stupid and can’t see that they are acting unethically and rather shitty to me.  I have had people stand me up and people place demands on my time and my person to which I have clearly given no consent.

I’m unleashing my inner Kali on ya’ll so don’t cross me.

On the consent issue: I got rid of one crazy and violent weirdo in my flat only to have him replaced by another weirdo.  As my new flatmate, he invited me for a meal.  I should have said no, but I didn’t want to be a bitch just because of someone else’s bad behaviour.

so, I said that it would be fine to have a meal together as long as there were no misunderstandings:

1. I am not interested in dating him; and

2. I am very private and I work from home so while I am happy to maintain a cordial relationship with flatmates, I keep to myself.

So, as long as he understood that, and that it was simply a cordial flatmate meal, I would go.  He said that he understood and although I really did not want to go, we went to the Chinese buffet on my block.  We had a superficial conversation, ate some food and then came home within about an hour and a half. He is not my kind of person, but it went fine.

Then he stopped at my door.  He said: “Let me just….” and he leaned in to hold me and give me a kiss.  Ack!   I turned my cheek.  He pulled back (phew) and came in again (so I turned for the European two cheek kiss).  He pulled back – centred himself and came in again – holding me tighter. WTF?!?

I put my hands up and pushed him on his chest and said NO.

He slunk off but it left me with a skeevey feeling.  You cross a boundary I have already set, regarding my body (lips and holding me count) then you’re finished, in my books.  Kali takes no prisoners on this issue.


On another front, I’ve noticed someone acting unethically and underhandedly.  They made a big song and dance about it and my experience says that the more a person talks about why they’re doing something without saying why they’re suddenly doing it that way, there is an ulterior motive about which they are not being upfront.  I deal with people who are alternative – street art is an alternative subculture.  But I don’t deal with people who are not acting with integrity.



Someone I admire took it upon themselves to treat my boundary statement of my current physical capabilities as an invitation (it was not)  to offer her suggestions for treatment to improve my mobility and to share her belief systems on wellness and illness.

Some new age beliefs have some pretty harsh implications if you follow the reasoning.  

I do not buy into the idea that it is a sick person’s responsibility to manifest miracles of healing with a positive attitude.  The implication of it, if you follow the logic, is that those with illness and disability brought it upon themselves and if they do not heal themselves, they are not spiritual.

I am a yoga and Ayurvedic practitioner and I understand that the concept of “As you think, so shall you be” does not come from Wayne Dyer or from “The Secret” but comes from the ancient sciences of Yoga and Ayurveda. I also understand that karma has a role to play, as well. One cannot be released from karma by practicing yogic principles with an attachment to the outcome (healing). And so, it does no good to practice meditation or mantra with the aim of healing or with its sister – guilt for failure to be healed.  Attachment of any kind will never release ones karmas.  Attachment to manifesting miracles will actually prevent them, if you follow the logic of the belief system.

I offered that I felt that positive attitude through practices like GJOS could not guarantee miracles, but they allowed one to accept and to cope with one’s situation. I felt belittled.  The person told me they were super spiritual (is the implication that, if I differ in belief, I am not?) and so they believed in and have seen miracles through positive thinking.

What happens when miracles don’t manifest?  Is that the fault of the believer or is it the will of God? We either believe that we are all powerful or that God is. If we believe that God is, then surrender is part of the package.  Total surrender is part of the package and absolutely necessary in the Vedas as well.

If you have faith in God, or Spirit or, as I like to call it, The Divine Quantum, then that faith must be present –  always. It is not for us to expect or attach to the results of our practices and devotions.  And people of faith are tasked to have that faith in adversity when miracles do not happen.  I choose my attitude and I co-create miracles, but nothing, in my opinion, happens without Grace.

Grace, by definition, is not guaranteed.  And lo and behold! Acceptance of Grace requires surrender.

In our “me”-centric new-age society, we have lost the understanding of the beauty, the poignancy and the total faith of surrender.  We no more understand the difference between a faith filled surrender and resigned apathy than we understand quantum physics.

I am sure she meant no harm in this debate but I was angry.  I realise that it is because I felt I needed to justify my belief to another person – and because I was personalising the discussion. That was borne of my own ego.   I am willingly letting Kali cut the head off of that attachment.

But in doing so, I am aware of the loneliness of illness and disability for those who suffer.  Some people avoid the topic and most of those who don’t will advise without first listening with compassion.  We don’t know how to just sit with illness, in another person, without offering advice or glossing over suffering with hopeful platitudes.   Maybe it triggers our own fears of death and so we can’t go into our compassionate selves.  There, we must suffer with another person and face our own possible future.  Good palliative care is rare in medicine and in the care we give to those in our social relationships.




As if that isn’t enough someone that I like and care about stood me up this week.   They had said they wanted to attend an event with me when I mentioned it 3 weeks ago.  A week ago I reminded them of the date.  He just never showed up.  When I was on my way home, I picked up an online message written around the time the event was ending.

I had a great evening anyway, but he was more than a friend.  He wasted my energy and he is finished.




And in all of this Mercury runoff of nonsense and unnecessary drama, I had some very real grief to process.  My cousin was laid to rest yesterday and we marked the 14th anniversary of 9/11 on Friday.  I can’t comment further on how I feel about the anniversary. There are just some things in my life that have happened that nobody, who wasn’t there with me, will ever understand.  It is a lonely and difficult day. Every year.

Swimming this week in all this has left even Kali a bit defeated and I am feeling ever more confused, lost and uncomfortable.  I know I am in psychic pain because my mother is very much around me right now.  I miss her so much and I wish I could talk to her. I am sure I know what she would say and I think she has sent me Kali to protect me and sever some heads.

Life comes in many colours. I started this journey 391 days ago and it opened my heart.  We can’t expect to feel joy if we aren’t prepared to feel sorrow. And my joy and sorrow is all mashed together this week…as it is, in most of our lives.

It was a joy to hear a new singer for the first time this week at the gig Dan Shears was playing. Josh Savage  came out into the audience and spoke about the inspiration for this song and asked us to sing along with him. I sang from the heart and I am doing it still.

I am grateful to have stumbled across Josh Savage and this song, in particular.  As much as it gave me a joy to hear him, it pierced my heart with its clarity.  But, when your heart is aching and everything feels like it is falling apart, maybe it is easier to sit in the abyss if you have the comfort of another’s story of loss, destruction and rebirth.


Follow Josh Savage at:


Dancing on “E” at a Rave:

Life is never monochrome. While there was a lot of blueness to this week, there was some incredible and joyful pink moments as well.

I didn’t go to a rave, and I wasn’t dancing on “E”.  But, the event mentioned above (The Underhand Show and BSMT launch) was EPIC!  I knew I would see some friends there but I didn’t realise how many and I got to meet a whole bunch of new and wonderful people.    I’m not really a very social person and I have to admit that when I go to a party, you are going to get a person talking rubbish, and “being on.”

I noticed that with one of my favourite new friends – Plin.  When we met and spent some time together a few months ago, it was in a circle of three.  I’ve said before that more than 3 and its a party for this girl.  I am an introvert.

I had wanted to connect with Plin at the event but it isn’t the right environment for me to have a real conversation with someone.  I am not good at party talk or art talk and every time I talked to him, I felt I said the wrong thing – talking crap and not really thinking about what I was saying.  I think he might have become uncomfortable.  I know I got uncomfortable with myself.  At one point we were left standing alone together and I didn’t know what to say because I’d said stupid stuff before. So, I talked about another artist’s work.  I have no idea what I was nonsense I was talking about.  He excused himself and I went outside and found a woman I knew and really, I bet we were both relieved.

Its such a shame.  Whenever I meet him, it is a joy.  He smiles with his eyes and they are alight with such warmth and intelligence and he observes everything.  He gives the best hugs and his heart and mind seem wide open and that is so refreshing.  He is youthful and he sparks that youthful side of me.


There is another side to my party personality that comes out.  When she is ‘on,’ she can get a little wild.  After the event, Kt- and I went and did something rather deviant that we had joked with Plin about doing with his art.

His art characters are like my friends and protectors on the street.  When I see one of his characters – and actually, only one of HIS characters –  I touch it and give it a little love, because it reminds me of him and it is like getting one of his great hugs and sending one back.

After we did our thing, Kt shared with him our ‘collaborative artwork’.  I have never done anything like that before and I still can’t believe I did it, but it makes me laugh.  I hoped that it would make him laugh.

And something wonderful happened in that moment, for me.  In the midst of feeling sick and grieving the life I used to have and looking to an uncertain future with trepidation, I felt vibrantly alive.  Doing something crazy and gansta is life affirming in the most exhilarating way.  Defiance is the ultimate act of freedom.

But it is more.  Something happened to me years ago and that left shame scars on my psyche and on my body.  This act of defiance on the very streets near the scene of the crime vanquished those scars and I took back something that I had lost long ago.  I suspect that Kali, as a symbol of feminine power and the force of female sexuality had a part to play in this as well.

Plin’s art touches the essential in me – and that essence is honest and is free spirited and is open.

If it hadn’t been for Plin, and for Kt-, I wouldn’t have had that moment.

Plin leaves London soon and I don’t know if we will meet again. That takes me back to blue again. But whatever the future holds, I am so grateful that he passed through my life.



And I am also grateful for Kt- in my life.  He he is a great supporter of me.  He is attracted mostly to black men and wants a husband so I did my best to get him one that night.  He’s right…I have what the stereotype is of what many black men like – a curvy body with a big ass and blonde hair.  So, I went up to strangers at the event and struck up a conversation with them and then managed to get Kt- into the conversation before I elegantly (or so I thought I was being elegant – but then again – see deviant act above) slipped away.

Unfortunately we were not very rational in our approach.  It seems that most of the men who would love me would possibly not be interested in shagging him.  I love Kt-.  I met him and A0 and Pn the same night and it was like my fairy godmother sent me some lovely people into my life with one wave of her wand.



Whale Watching:

So, no.  I did not go whale watching in the middle of London.

But I have been whale watching in the past and dropping into the moment and being totally one with the experience is what makes it so amazing.  This week was a whirlwind.  I quickly worked up an interview and article with Dan Shears and promoted his event on social media while I was also doing odd jobs for Greg and Lara’s show that opened Thursday. I didn’t get much sleep for a couple of days.

On Thursday night, as I was coming home, I noticed weird pains in my knees and tops of my shoulders. The pain progressed overnight into my back and rib cage and by Saturday it was in my arms, hips and toes.  These are all weird pain places, other than the knees.  I couldn’t sleep because of the pain and so I had to walk a fine line between trying to rest and simply witnessing my pain.

I spiralled into a pain/no sleep cycle and had to listen closely to what it wanted: now a shower, here a light off. Now some soft music, certain food, silence. My pain is demanding that I listen to the story my body is telling.  I don’t understand this new language and so I am having to try to glean meaning from context. My pain is demanding that I sit with it.  And Kali, the bringer of death and decay most certainly sat with me.

And in some moments, the world reduces to just me and the pain. And existing becomes a kind of meditation. Like watching whales, I am absorbed.



I think I will forego the usual format for this week. The only thing on which to comment is service.  As I said, I helped Dan promote himself with my article, and continued to help with Lara’s and Greg’s show, I welcomed a new flat mate and I marched to Downing Street in solidarity with the refugees.  Despite it all, I put myself out there and I kept looking for the good.  I am grateful that I was able to contribute to the world around me, despite all that is falling away, within me.

So it only remains for me to ask…


For what are you grateful, this week?