Joshua Henry is an acclaimed New York-based actor, musician and singer/songwriter best known for his Tony-nominated roles as Flick in Brian Crawley’s Violet and Haywood Patterson in David Thompson’s The Scottsboro Boys. Henry has also starred in Gerswhin’s Porgy and Bess, Green Day’s American Idiot, Lin Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights and as Aaron Burr in the first national tour of Hamilton. Although his successes on Broadway was fueled by a lifelong passion for music and performing, Henry longed to tell his own story. “I’d been writing songs for nearly a decade, but my incredible wife, Cathryn, pushed me to not waste any time and follow that passion,” Henry recalls. “I continue to love acting, stepping into someone else’s shoes, but this year made one thing super clear to me: We don’t know what will happen tomorrow, so I had to really give it my all.”
Henry’s Theron “Neff-U” Feemster-produced debut EP Guarantee is slated for a February 12, 2021 release through S-Curve Records/BMG and the effort will reportedly showcase the voice that won accolades on Broadway paired with thoughtful, intelligent storytelling-based songs that thematically touch upon vulnerability, love and hope. Written during pandemic-related lockdowns, the New York-based actor, musician and singer/songwriter found that the inspiration and creative process of art became intertwined. As his wife took on nursing shirts caring for COVID patients in the earliest days of the pandemic, Henry would sneak into the music room in the family’s apartment to record vocals. “It was an amazing exercise in watching something grow through constraints — to know what’s possible if you have the right people supporting you,” he says.
Small. intimate, daily events like walking through Central Park, a conversation over breakfast, time with his wife and son proved to be deeply influential on the EP’s material and on Henry’s songwriting. “In the past I’ve been a really private person, but they gave me freedom to break my chest open, to get into conversations about self-discovery and vulnerability,” he explains.
“This EP is full of my heart, but I also want people to jump and groove to it, to feel it cerebrally, spiritually and bodily,” Henry adds. ‘There was a blank canvas that took me back to when I was seven years old, just writing from my heart, with nothing to lose.” The EP’s lead single “Hold Me” is centered around a warm, neo-soul production featuring a rubbery and propulsive bass line, soul clap-led percussion and a spectral backing vocal paired with Henry’s plaintive yet regal falsetto. Unlike most contemporary pop songs, you’ll hear on the radio right now, “Hold Me” is full of a pure ebullient joy that feels like a great gospel tune — and as a result it gives the material a wholesome air.
And while the song may be an infectious, joyful delight, the song is intelligently underpinned by a very deep understanding of romantic relationships: Satisfying and truly adult love requires an immense vulnerability of us. But when it comes to the relentless and uncompromising pursuit of a lifelong there’s a deeper fear of rejection of the much-needed love and support you may need to continue, and of having to make a choice between love and your dream.
The recently released video manages to simultaneously evoke the infectious joy of its accompanying single while also being an intimate look into the loving relationships of a young artist with a big dream.