Song of the Day: Andrew Joslyn - Mantra For A Struggling Artist

Local Music, Song of the Day
04/07/2017
Dusty Henry

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the day podcast subscription . This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear.  Today’s song, featured on The Morning Show with John Richards, is "Mantra For A Struggling Artist" by Seattle composer Andrew Joslyn from his 2017 album, Awake at the Bottom of the Ocean, self-released on Lux Finite Music. The song features Augustines' Billy McCarthy on vocals.

Andrew Joslyn - Mantra For A Struggling Artist (MP3)Even if you don't immediately recognize his name, you've probably heard some of  Joslyn's work. Most notably, he helmed string arrangement duties on Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' chart-topping album The Heist. He'd go on to tour with the local hip-hop duo, serving as orchestra leader and even joining them for a performance on the Grammys. But his resume extends far beyond that. For years Joslyn's composed and performed with the Passenger String Quartet, performing with other local favorites such as ODESZA, Allen Stone, and Ivan & Alyosha. The quartet would also go on to tour with David Bazan and record an album of new arrangements of songs from Bazan's back catalog.

But Joslyn is much more than just a collaborator waiting to assist other artists. Earlier this year he released his first solo, Awake at the Bottom of the Ocean. The album allows Joslyn to stretch his orchestral muscles, embracing the full decadence of his craft. He doesn't totally do it alone either, bringing in a wealth of talent from Cataldo's Eric Anderson to Shelby Earl and Adra Boo. On the wondrous "Mantra for a Struggling Artist", Joslyn tapped Augustine's Billy McCarthy to lend his stirring baritone to the track.

The song showcases what Joslyn does best - fusing the regale of an orchestra with the allure of pop music. From the opening twirls of strings, it's clear that this is a grand affair and it only gets bigger and more intricate from there. McCarthy's vocals rumble as he muses on the idea of music as business. While it's McCarthy's voice delivering the message, the lyrics are written by Joslyn. It offers a candid take on what it's like to be a working (or as he puts it, struggling) artist and trying to navigate through cynicism. In the end, he says that he keeps coming back to music, his "distant love", with a hope that he won't be hurt by it again.

You can hear Andrew Joslyn and his orchestra perform live on KEXP on Tuesday, April 18, at 3PM. Then, his next scheduled performance is at the Upstream Music Fest + Summit, playing Thursday May 11 on the Starbucks curated stage. Tickets for Upstream are available now. You can find more information about Joslyn on his website and Facebook page. For now, sample more from Joslyn's debut with this music video for his Mark Lanegan collaboration, "Desiderata":

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