Joshua Hyslop is taking no breaks

Vancouver-based artist will play Kingston’s the Mansion  

Joshua Hyslop.
From Joshua Hyslop's Facebook

When Joshua Hyslop was 21, he decided to give up pursuing music.

His Canadian tour, which launched in Victoria, will bring him to The Mansion on Jan. 31.

“I had to say to my friends and family, my girlfriend, that I was only going to keep doing music if things kept working out,” said Hyslop in an interview with The Journal. “I really wanted to do it, but I also knew the odds.”

Then, after his Friday night farewell show at Vancouver’s Backstage Lounge in 2011, Hyslop was approached by Terry McBride. Bride is the CEO of Nettwerk Records, an international record company based in B.C., which at the time was located around the corner from the lounge, and invited him to a meeting the next Monday.

That Monday, Hyslop signed with Nettwerk. Almost 10 years since that moment, he has released four full-length albums, gone on multiple tours, and played a sold-out rooftop concert in Hawaii alongside Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac.

“It’s more than I ever thought I’d be able to do,” Hyslop said.

Now at the tail end of his 2020 Canadian tour, Hyslop says he’s grateful for everything that brought him here and is excited to see what the future will hold.

Hyslop first began playing music at 15 when his family moved to Scotland for a year. In an effort to make friends, he decided to teach himself the bass. Quickly discovering that it was not the instrument for him, he switched to the guitar and has been playing ever since.

He began his career with an indie-folk sound inspired by artists like Sufjan Stevens. Since then, he’s gravitated toward Canadiana. Hyslop is reluctant to genre his music in the realm of country music, so he focuses on the foundations of each song more than ascribing to any one genre.

From the beginning, Hyslop has been working at a breakneck pace. His latest album, 2018’s Echos, came quick off the heels of his 2017 holiday album, and he anticipates the release of his yet-untitled fifth full-length album in July. Despite having released 70 songs over his career, he still gets the sense that every song he writes could be his last.

“Every time I finish a song, I always have this feeling like I just got lucky, and I’ll never be able to do it again,’’ he said. “It’s a very exciting moment, and also melancholic, like, ‘I think I’m done.’ I really hope it’s not [the last song], but I don’t know.”

Still, he shows no signs of stopping. Following the release of his new album, he plans to jump straight into recording the next one.

His ultimate goal as a musician is simply to be more grateful for the life he gets to lead.

“I get to do music for a living, and that’s already pretty incredible.”


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