Sometimes people look for their ‘calling’ in life, and find it after much seeking. For others, their calling finds them. Yosef, real name Hunter Duncan, is a musician whose road seems to have found him. Hunter was captivated by music as a middle schooler in Lexington, South Carolina and since then has poured himself into developing his natural talent as musician, singer and songwriter. From bands in basements, to solo on big city stages, Yosef has come a long way, and is just now gaining more momentum than ever. In the midst of working the release of his first solo album in July, he took some time to answer some questions for us for this week’s Weekend Jam:
EJ: Can you give me a brief background of how you got started playing music?
HD: This whole journey of mine started when I was about 11-12 years old. I came home from summer camp and noticed a guitar on my bed, but back then I had no interest in music whatsoever. My sister wanted to take lessons and she didn’t want to go alone, so I went with her. I’ll never forget sitting there with that tiny three-quarter size guitar and learning those first chords. It felt right, and I wasn’t going to look back. I played more and more everyday and started to play with my friends in middle school. I began writing songs and tried to sound like Nirvana. I played in a few bands throughout the years, the most recent was The Lion In Winter, but then I decided to go solo.
EJ: Being from the middle of a small state like South Carolina, what was the music scene like, and what would you change about it if you could?
HD: The music scene in Columbia is a love-hate situation for me. There are so many talented musicians here and I hate that the city doesn’t recognize them. I feel like the scene is shaping up though. People are trying harder, going on tour, and putting out solid records. But that’s the city, I’m originally from Lexington right outside of Columbia and there was not a music scene at all.
EJ: How would you describe the experience of transitioning from playing with bands into doing solo projects?
HD: I loved playing in bands growing up and playing music with my friends, but it became more difficult for me to deal with 3-4 other people trying to schedule our lives to make shows and practice work. I miss being loud, though. I will have people play with me later this year when I release my record since the record is a full-band record.
EJ: Who are your influences, both musical and non-musical?
HD: My influences are Jeff Buckley, Nirvana, Radiohead, and recently Sleeping at Last. My non-musical influence would the relationships I have had in the past and present.
EJ: What type of lifestyle would you say represents your music?
HD: The lifestyle that would be best fit for my music would be couch surfing. Floating around from place to place sleeping on floors and couches.
EJ: What is your dream gig?
HD: My dream gig is to play at a stadium or something of that size and sell it out. To know that all those people are filling the place out just to see you, I couldn’t imagine the feeling.
EJ: What are your goals for the future?
HD: My goals are to keep my head up, stop getting discouraged so often, put out my new record and start working on the next. I’m working on releasing my first solo record under the name of Yosef, titled “Run Wild”. It should be out this July. I’ll be getting physical copies of it and I’ll work on getting T-shirts to sell at shows. As far as shows go right now I don’t have any booked for this month.
Follow Yosef music here:
Check out the video of his single ‘Run Wild’ below:
And here’s a song he did with fellow South Carolina artist, Mel Washington (to be featured in the future here soon!)
Photo cred: Alexis Schwallier Photography
*This link is no longer active, as it was a limited time offer*
Americans were required to read it as high school students. A story both exciting and troubling at the same time, it’s possible many of us only remember it as an assignment on our calendar. But from May 10th on, thanks to the vision of Baz Luhrmann and the work of countless others, The Great Gatsby will be remembered as explosive and arresting. The film hits theaters next week, and from the looks of the trailers, is sure to enchant.
This week, while we’re waiting for the roaring 20′s extravaganza, we get to sample the musical morsels from the grand party with NPR’s first listen of The Great Gatsby Soundtrack.
Director Baz Luhrmann and hip-hop great Jay-Z teamed up to produce an album that appeals to a variety of tastes, with remixes of soulful songs, upbeat jazz age tunes and some original tracks from some of today’s most talked about artists including: Lana Del Rey, Florence + The Machine, The XX, and Jack White.
Creating a soundtrack for the Great Gatsby is no easy task. It is a packed grenade of emotional fuel: the story itself a raw layer peeled from author F.Scott Fitzgerald’s own life and heartbreak. Add onto that the turmoil of several characters, each facing their own demons, their own longings, regrets and joys. Then,try to incorporate the weight of an excessive, and often elusive American dream, displayed in the glamour and shine of the jazz age.
We’re not sure a single album can ever capture a timeless book, and we’re not putting that on this album itself; Yet we can appreciate that it is a well thought-out and innovative album. What else would we expect from the creator of Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet, Baz Luhrmann? NPR music states “‘He is cinema’s boldest remixer, infusing familiar works with new rhythms that refresh their relevance.’”
At Surfing The Nations, we love things that are out of the box, and it seems that this film and soundtrack is busting out of the borders to bring something new to the table.
Give it a listen this week and get ready for the main event, May 10th at theaters nationwide!
Have a great weekend!
*Disclaimer: Some of the tracks on this album contain explicit lyrics.*