From living in a Toyota in Los Angeles, a new musical talent has travelled a long road to arrive at Redwood Meadows as the chosen location for his debut album release party.
Joze (born Jose Deverze in Montreal) released his new single “Why” earlier this month. The album, “IKIGAI Vol.1”, is the first of a concept compilation that explores the Japanese concept referring to something that gives a person a sense of purpose, and a reason for living.
He chose Redwood Meadows for the launch party because he just loves the vibe there. The natural setting appealed to him on his first visit to his friend Seth Anderson’s home. He met Anderson, a Redwood Meadows resident, in Miami, Florida, where they immediately connected as friends. Anderson has since become Joze’s business partner.
“When you live in a city, it’s loud and people step on each other’s toes. It’s a fast pace,” Joze said.
“When I got to Redwood Meadows, it was silent. I could hear the silence. It reminded me of the country, and that’s a good place to start.”
Joze came out to Redwood Meadows in May to make a music video and podcast at the Bragg Creek Barber shop with local filmmaking company Strange Giant Media & Ridgeline Audio. While in Bragg Creek, he also played songs for a class at Banded Peak School and did a show at the Powderhorn Saloon. He said he was inspired by the generosity, spirit and kindness he received on that trip.
Clearly, the sentiment was reciprocated, as Joze was chosen as one of the performers at the “Arts, Beats & Eats” festival in Bragg Creek, held Sept. 16 and 17.
When he moved to California to pursue his musical dream in 2018, it didn’t go as planned. He had one gig at the famous Viper Room on the Sunset Strip in L.A., which has hosted the likes of Johnny Cash, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Bruce Springsteen.
But he said he partied too much and musical success eluded him. He ended up eventually living in a Toyota Yaris (one of the smallest cars Toyota makes) with a friend.
“That was like rock bottom, but I feel like that’s where I lived the most,” he said.
“One morning I woke up with three dollars in my pocket and I was hungry.”
His carmate told him he needed to start thinking further down the road, instead of living day-to-day. The hard advice spurred Joze forward in pursuit of his music dream.
“I got mad. That was a slap in the face,” he said.
“I learned I needed to focus on the essentials. And I didn’t ever want to go hungry again.”
Shortly after that moment of awakening, he got a job as a security guard, and after his first cheque, he realized he could afford an apartment rental if he kept at it.
But the music came first.
“What I did instead was I bought a battery-powered amp, so I could plug in my guitar and a mic, so I could go busking,” he said.
He made enough money busking to move into an apartment, but decided to go back home to Montreal in December 2018. From there, he moved onto Toronto, where he learned more what it takes to make it in the music industry.
The EP is volume one in a five-part series, representing Joze's origins as an artist and a person. (EP commonly stands for extended play, a musical recording which is commonly understood as shorter than a full album).
“It’s about finding what you love to do,” he said.
The single “Why?” features what his website calls “dreamy lyrics that include a verse inspired by Kanye West and 50 Cent on the trials and tribulations” that musicians come to deal with.
“In this track Joze commits to being himself and pursuing his dreams, despite all odds to accomplish his life's purpose,” his site reads.
It is a predominantly vocal track, with a fusion of hip-hop and country soul vibes.
The album release party, set for Oct. 1 at the Redwood Meadows Community Centre, will feature Calgary artist Rondel Roberts opening the evening at 6:30 p.m. and Joze at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance on eventbrite.com or $20 at the door. Kids under 12 are free.