Guest Writer Josh Rosenthal:: The Mind of an Artist

Due to my full schedule, I have asked some of my favorite people to guest post here on Backseat Writer.  Fascinated with the Villages Suite and the book singer/songwriter Josh Rosenthal is working on, I asked Josh if he would share a bit more about his project.  In the following post, he takes readers into a journey into the deep recesses of the mind of an artist, which can be a tormenting place indeed.  Thank you for this intuitive post, Josh!—Amy @ BSW


By Josh Rosenthal, special to Backseat Writer I’ve struggled with giving myself a title as long as I’ve been in the music business.  I even made business cards once, but I put only my name.  No title.  Yes, I write songs, but I struggle believing I’m a songwriter. Especially after writing with guys like Josh Wilson, Mitch Dane and Jeff Pardo.  I perform on a stage for a living, but am I an entertainer?  I’m no Dave Barnes, Michael Buble or Oprah.

I want to be somebody.  Every artist desires to distinguish themselves from the masses.  Sometimes, I feel like Antonio Salieri in Amadeus when he feels cursed to know music well enough to know that he’s not as good as Mozart.  I like to think that I handle it differently that Salieri.  I have no plans to kill anyone.  But I’m certainly guilty of comparing myself to the point of stealing my own joy and devaluing the gifts I’ve been given.  I have searched for my identity by measuring myself against others.  All guilty of this have lived in Salieri-like, self-pitying moments of failing to meet irrational self-imposed standards.

But isn’t that the plague and blessing of every artist?  We all want to be the better than Mozart.  It is a plague in that we never rest fully because we can’t stop dreaming, yet a blessing because we believe our life and message matter enough to display for all to see (and hopefully purchase).  We all want to reach Malcolm Gladwell’s tipping point or assemble Seth Godin’s tribe.  And should we believe in the strength of our message in the hands of the masses, we are challenged to create more and better.

Every artist has a message, even if it is unspoken.  I believe my message warrants representation in various medium.  That’s why I’m writing a book now.  I recently released four albums in four months– the Villages Suite.  Each album explored, in various ways, our innate need for real, meaningful relationships.  God did not create us to be alone, but in America we love the myth of the cowboy.  He rides into the sunset alone and we idolize his disappearing silhouette wishing we were as strong and noble.  But we don’t see that he goes to sleep alone at night and eventually dies alone.  The images we envy are not conducive to a happy, sustainable life when played out in reality.

Through therapy and other cathartic means, I’ve searched for who I am.  God willing, I have many years left in me; thousands of songs to write; a dozen more books; thousands of more people to influence positively.  My business cards might forever be without a title, but I know my role as a creative-type: to affect positive change for God’s kingdom with the gifts God gave me until I stop breathing.

Josh Rosenthal is a singer/songwriter music lands somewhere in between John Mayer and Willie Nelson, creating a unique sound and honest tone. Originally from Texas, Josh and his wife reside in Salt Lake City.  You can learn more about Josh Rosenthal at his website:

0 thoughts on “Guest Writer Josh Rosenthal:: The Mind of an Artist

  1. I totally relate. It took me years to call myself a Writer and officially put it on my business cards.

    But I am a writer! That is what I do for a living, so why be fearful of admitting the facts. It’s fear of failure. It’s fear of not living up to the billing. Sometimes I’m still hesitant to introduce myself as a writer, but the title is growing on me.

    Great post.

  2. As I was editing Josh’s piece, I thought the same thing as Heidi. I still don’t know what to put on my business cards–mostly because I want to put “Super hero” or something goofy like that.

    I think this post strikes a nerve because we creative types all have people we look up to in the trade, and we wonder if we’ll ever be as good as whoever.

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