Joshua Webb is an Australian-based New Zealand artist who has released his debut Christian rap album 'Kingdom Rap'. Louder Than The Music chatted with Joshua (pictured alongside Switchfoot's Jon Foreman) to find out more about his background, the music that he records, and his plans for more new albums.
For those who haven't heard of you before, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved in making music?
I grew up in the biggest city in New Zealand, Auckland. I began writing songs at the age of 15 and discovered I could rap at 18. I began to write and perform with a friend at school, including on a pop radio station a couple of times. I was brought up in a Christian home and never left the faith. I performed a lot in a church (plus community events) that had a strong hip-hop culture. I also created music for the secular scene and performed at different events (and a big Christian festival called ‘Parachute’). I was given the nickname ‘J-DUB’. I became a qualified elementary school teacher in 2010. In 2011 I created an award-winning children’s music group (now animated) called ‘Hey DUBY’. I moved to Brisbane, Queensland, Australia in 2013. I married Ramina Mae from the Philippines (where the wedding was held) in 2016. My wife and I moved to Tianjin, China in 2017 where I was employed as an international school teacher. I worked there for just over 2 years before returning to Australia. Last July we had our first child, a girl named Janaya.
Tell us about your album 'Kingdom Rap' and what the inspiration behind it was?
The album is a collection of songs revisited from my journey through faith and rap music as a young fella in New Zealand. It has been 20 years in the making. It has a youthful energy to it. It’s an empowering album from someone who had suffered a lot of rejection for being different. I share stories from my own battles and the battles of others. It’s ultimately about overcoming and being a champion.
Which is your favourite track on the album and why?
‘Champion’ as I mentioned is the main theme for the album. It’s an uplifting song with memorable lyrics in the chorus. It features Christian American-Filipino artist Saint Klutch which I’m a fan of. There are actually 3 very different versions of the song, so I may never tire of it! The rock mix is my favourite version which is on the remix album ‘Kingdom Rap (Reimagined)’.
What message would you like people to take from your music?
With God anything is possible. We can overcome the challenges that life presents us and make a positive change to this world.
How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?
Pop rap. I listen to a variety of music and dab in different genres. Tobymac would have been the biggest influence. His live shows are amazing too!
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?
Jon Foreman of the band Switchfoot is a brilliant songwriter. His lyrics are clever, deep and meaningful. I heard him speak at a songwriting workshop once too, very inspiring. So I’ll go for him just slightly ahead of Toby and Ryan Tedder from OneRepublic.
How would you define success in your career as an artist?
Making an impact in people’s lives. Being able to create music full-time.
What is your favourite album of all time?
That’s a hard question. I think the album I played the most was TobyMac’s ‘Diverse City’. Such a cool, fun and uplifting album!
You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your phone. What track is it?
‘Island in the Sun’ by Weezer!
What does the next year hold for you?
I’m finishing off an album called ‘Rushing To Wait’ and had been working on a worship album which I’ll return to and release as well. I’ve also been working on a pop album for my wife Ramina Webb and a new children’s album under the name ‘Hey DUBY’. A few music videos. Will be keeping busy!