About me . . .
Hi, I'm Josh.
I'm a composer, a cabaret artist, a graduate of the Elder Conservatorium of Music, and a big fan of trains.
My pronouns are they/them, and I live and work on unceded Kaurna land, in Adelaide, Australia.
I believe in the power of music and lyrics to call people to action, to communicate a message through feeling and to capture moments in history.
I have synaesethesia. This means that every time I write a word or play a note on the piano I see an associated colour in my mind.
I love the way music can colour a story.
I love how it can key directly into an audience’s emotions without them even knowing.
Almost like an ancient code that we all subconsciously know.
I think the world needs more colour.
And more things that bring us all together.
I can do this with my music.
And so that’s why I do.
Here is some of the music that I have written . . .
Some of my independent work
This is a song that I wrote in response to our times. It’s a collaboration with 23 artists that I greatly admire, who all sung their parts from their homes and/or places of isolation, from all around the world. In total, 10 cities and 4 countries were represented.
Pay what you want to download this song, and all proceeds will be donated to the fundraiser to support the family of Aunty Tanya Day for her death in custody coronial inquest.
'Our Mum, Tanya Day a proud Yorta Yorta woman, mother, grandmother and activist, died in custody as a result of her mistreatment in Victoria Police custody on 5 th December 2017.'
The singers, in order of appearance, are:
Mama Alto - Bunurong (Boon wurrung) and Wurundjeri (Woi wurrung) land of the Kulin Nations, Melbourne, Australia
Raymund MontePio de la Cruz – Kaurna land, Adelaide, Australia
Jemma Allen – Kaurna land, Adelaide, Australia
Lindsay Prodea – Kaurna land, Adelaide, Australia
Bianca Levai – Kaurna land, Adelaide, Australia
Jade Delos Santos – New Jersey, USA
Michaela Murphy – Dublin, Ireland
Benny James – Missouri, USA
Jamie Burgess – Bunurong (Boon wurrung) and Wurundjeri (Woi wurrung) land of the Kulin Nations, Melbourne, Australia
Oliver John – Kaurna land, Adelaide, Australia
Matthew Nassida – Kentucky, USA
Carrie Caffrey – Chicago, USA
Lena Eversheim – Kaurna land, Adelaide, Australia
Blake Ascione – Kaurna land, Adelaide, Australia
Ben Gillard – Kaurna land, Adelaide, Australia
Amy Hein – Kaurna land, Adelaide, Australia
Charmaine Jones – Kaurna land, Adelaide, Australia
Kelsey McCormack – Kaurna land, Adelaide, Australia
Josh Boyce – Kaurna land, Adelaide, Australia
Vaibhavi Mohan – Arizona, USA
Tim Waurick – Florida, USA
Emily McGlynn – London, UK
Mitchell Smith – Kaurna land, Adelaide, Australia
And here is a little interview that I did with Scenestr TV talking about how this single fits into a very exciting new project that I'm working on (the cover image is of Jason Mraz and his cat, because Jason Mraz was also interviewed on this program, and he introduced us to his cat).
In my synaesthesia, 30,000 Notes is green.
This show was a cross-artform theatrical experiment
with a surround sound choir and string quartet,
a series of monologues,
and everything I've ever written spread out on a 13 metre-long wall.
I wrote the words and music, conducted and performed it.
It's all about memory and how we capture the past.
It's about my Nonna
and how, in music and words, I tried to capture everything she meant to me.
30,000 Notes premiered on the 19th of February 2019 at the Adelaide Fringe.
At the Fringe awards, it won the Adelaide Festival Centre InSpace Development Award, the Holden Street Theatres Award, the Best Emerging Producer Award, and was nominated for the John Chataway Innovation Award.
It also won the Adelaide Theatre Guide Best Cabaret Award and was nominated for the Adelaide Critics Circle Innovation Award.
Sheet Music and Educational Resource
Dear Malcolm Turnbull
'Malcolm', the former Prime Minister of Australia, is blue in my mind.
So was his political party.
And in 2017 he did some things which made me feel pretty blue:
He decided to put Australia through a divisive and traumatic public debate over gay marriage
when he could have just legalised it with a vote in Parliament.
So I wrote an open letter to him
Where, in rhyme, I outlined my outrage and grievances against him.
And it sort of became my own queer rights anthem
during a period that was so horrible for so many of us.
I posted it online, and it got shared around a bit.
(Okay, about quarter of a million people saw it).
So I released the song for purchase, where the money went to charity
and as a result some very generous people raised over $3,000 for QLife
– Australia's national queer counselling service.
Even though the plebiscite has long since passed, you can still buy this song below,
and the funds will still be donated to QLife.
Scarred For Life
Scarred For Life is red to me.
(well, it's actually orange, but my scar is red, so the show is red by association).
This was my debut solo show.
I filled it with original songs
about the time I fell off my bicycle,
ruptured my spleen,
and almost bled to death.
What I'm left with now is an eight inch scar on my abdomen.
I know – perfect material for a musical comedy.
I premiered it at the 2017 Adelaide Cabaret Fringe Festival
and something really interesting happened:
all kinds of people came up to me afterwards and told me their own medical stories.
Many showed me their scar(s).
And their willingness to share their stories inspired me to keep telling mine.
I was going to bring it to the Adelaide Fringe 2020, at Holden Street Theatres,
But I decided to bring a new show instead. It's here.
Scarred For Life
Some of my work for others
Morning Whiskey [Short Film]
This was a short film score that I did for a horror film while at music school. I'm still a bit proud of it, so I want to share it with you. The film tells the story of a young couple who are crumbling under the pressure of a life they can't afford. That's when a loanshark named Lou arrives with an offer that the two of them can't resist.
Morning Whiskey 2:120:00/2:12
19 Weeks [Theatre]
This was a score that I wrote for a one-person play in Adelaide. It tells the story of how, in 2016, playwright Emily Steel had a termination after her baby was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. It’s sad and funny, familiar and surprising, not self-righteous or guilt-ridden but complex and truthful. The audience were invited to sit by a swimming pool, put their feet in the water, and listen.
Some of my work with my bestie, Millicent Sarre
So this is my bestie, Millicent Sarre. She will probably be okay with you calling her Mim.
Mim and I write songs together, and are working on a new cabaret show for the 2021 Adelaide Fringe called Awkward Activists. We are building towards doing a big release very soon, so watch this space!
In the meantime, you can check out her website here.
And you can have a look at our Christmas song, Homo Vs Scomo, that we released in the middle of the 2019-2020 Australian Bushfire Crisis and debate over the Federal Government's Religious Freedom Bill.
This song has currently raised $223 for the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal.
What else can you do?
Find climate protests in your state here
Donate to Red Cross Disaster Relief here
State-by-State Donation portals:
South Australia Country Fire Services
New South Wales Rural Fire Service
Victorian Country Fire Authority
Queensland Fire Rescue
Write to your Local MP to oppose the Religious Freedom Bill here
A bit more about me.
A bit more about me.
By now, you might have noticed my long hair and rainbow pin, or heard a silly lyric about a dick in my songs. You may have noticed my they/them pronouns, and be curious about why I prefer them. You might just wonder why I really like the colour lavender. So, if you have these questions and would like to learn more, here is an extended stream-of-consciousness piece of writing about my queerness that I would like to share with you:
I used to identify as a gay man. Now I identify as a genderqueer masc-loving ethical slut.
But if all of that is a bit much, I also simply identify as Josh.
‘Genderqueer’ is a better label for my queerness than ‘gay,’ because it better encapsulates my philosophy about my own queerness, and my theory about queerness at large: that sexual orientation is only one, rather perfunctory aspect of queerness. For me, my queerness is really about the fact that I feel both the divine masculine and the divine feminine spirits within me. This mixing of gender spirits, this being 'in-between' of the extreme ends of the gender continuum, is what I feel best defines both myself, and queerness at large.
By nature of existing in this alternative space between 'man' and 'woman,' our queer brains involuntarily generate thoughts that a non-queer brain, more bound to its binary state, would not allow; much like a conventional computer can only permit either a 1 or a 0 in its binary code, but a quantum computer can allow both values simultaneously, Our queer thoughts often manifest themselves as ones of challenging, questioning, and reimagining the status quo. We have done this for millennia, and in doing so, playing vital roles in society.
Queerfolk such as us have been the shamans, the priests, the healers, and the magic people. We have been called witches, deviants, and sluts, and we have been burned at the stake. We have also, in more enlightened times, been held in positions of sacredness and divinity. With our connection to more than one divine gender spirit, we have imagined gods, moral codes and religions. With our queer wit, we have held positions in the King’s court that were immune from retribution, being the only person in the Kingdom who is allowed to criticise the King – a role that we performed with trademark song, comedy and poetry.
I do believe that in discussions of queerness, the more we can take the general public's focus off the thought "Oh my gosh! It's two people who may have matching genitals who want to love each other and get married!", and the more we educate them about the cultural significance of queerness within society, the more we can exist freely and unapologetically as the distinct cultural people that we are.
This is what I mean when I say I am queer, and that I take they/them pronouns. And this is why I want you to know that I am queer and I take they/them pronouns – because I realise that, for quite a while now and without really knowing it, I have been carrying on this queer tradition of provoking, questioning and reimagining the norm in my work.
It is worth mentioning that though I feel the strong presence of the feminine spirit within me, I by no means lay claim to the female experience, and very much am committed to listening and learning from women and trans women, and offering them my allyship. I also do not lay claim to the experience of being trans, and very much offer my listening and allyship to that community.
Other things that I've done . . .
In 2019, I was employed as the live musician for Slingsby Theatre Company’s The Young King North America and Australia tour, which won a Ruby Award for Best Work or Event Outside a Festival.
I graduated from the Elder Conservatorium of Music in 2015 with a Director’s Award and high distinctions for all portfolios of composition. My music has been performed by ensembles including the Australian Youth Orchestra, Canberra Youth Orchestra, and Gondwana Chorale.
Outside of my own projects, I work as a freelance musical director and accompanist, having worked at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Adelaide Festival Centre OnStage Program, and worked with a range of independent cabaret artists, choirs, and even a musical improvisation troupe. I arrange piano music for Sheet Music Boss (1.8 million subscribers), and have taught music at Tutti Arts – organisation for young artists with an intellectual disability. I currently run a private music theory and piano tuition business, which I do both in-person and online. So if learning music has ever interested you, please get in touch with me via my form below.
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