Josiah Hawley and Jeff Lewis competed against each other in the Batttle Rounds on Tuesday. Though the judges weren’t too impressed with their rendition of “Roxanne,” Josiah won the round and is moving on in the competition. We spoke with Josiah via conference call to ask him some questions about working with Usher, his thoughts on the Battle Rounds, and moving forward. Follow him on Twitter @josiahhawley.
With Usher as your mentor, what are you learning these days – about singing and the music business?
Usher’s teaching me all about how to connect to a lyric. For the most part I normally do originals. I’m a song writer and so I’m not learning how to connect to a lyric that’s not my own but still to get inside someone else’s head and to make it my own.
My goal is to continue to grow as much as I can as an artist, and to continue to show America and show the world more who I am as an artist.
Are you still living in California and do you plan on staying there for a while?
I really enjoy living in Los Angeles so I, yes I think I’m going to stay here for a bit.
Could you tell us if you’ll be taking your guitar on stage again in the near future?
Actually, with this next performance I will be playing guitar.
After what happened with Jeff in rehearsal, did you feel you had a definite advantage going into the battle?
I don’t feel I had a definite advantage. I think any time there’s a big critique it’s – it make – if someone can apply the critique to their performance there can be a huge growth. So it wasn’t settling necessarily to have him called out and me not necessarily be called out, it just made me more focused, yes.
Early in the judging of your competition with Jeff, a couple of comments were made about the song choice that you all sang, Roxanne, being not necessarily a good choice for the two of you. What do you think about the song selection? Was that a particular challenge for you? And do you have any special challenges trying to pick the right song for yourself?
Well like I said before, I don’t perform a lot of covers normally. Normally I just perform my own music. So any time I’m going to have to try to step in someone else’s skin and perform a cover it’s – it brings a challenge, you know? And Roxanne is, it’s a classic song. It’s a very difficult song. And I’m excited for the challenge and I’m just going to keep trying to pick music that I feel represents me as an artist, or at least represents some of my influences as an artist.
You’ve mentioned in earlier interviews that you had gone into the competition thinking that you were leaning toward Adam, and then you ended up thinking Usher was the coach for you. And I wonder, what was your thought process? What made you change your mind?
Well the show, the producer of the show gave us the advice like, “Have an idea in mind, but at the same time have an open heart and just really listen and take the time to ask questions as to why they turned around.” And so I was able to really ask questions. I asked Blake and Usher and Adam, “Why did you turn around? Why would you want me on your team?” And so once they told me I had to go with my gut feeling, and it was that Usher was definitely the person that I wanted to work with.
At some point in the future, you and Audrey are going to be competing against each other. How do you see that competition – especially because you’re not only on the same team, but a male and a female – does that present any special challenges?”
I don’t know if it necessarily presents a challenge for the most part. If we had to go up against each other in the next round, we’d each be performing our own song. So I think the goal and the challenge is going to be just performing the song to the best of our ability and making the song our own. And so for me personally, I’m just going to do my best to have it rehearsed, have it ready. And I’m not going to think and worry about whoever I’m up against, how they perform, I’m just going to worry about how I’m going to perform it and make sure I’m doing the best that I can do.