The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

JOSCH: Tenafly Alum to Music Maker

JOSCH%3A+Tenafly+Alum+to+Music+Maker

JOSCH—who, if you haven’t seen him on Spotify or Apple Music yet, you may better recognize as Josh Schwartz—is a Tenafly alumnus and now solo music artist. His new single “Icarus in Motion” released September 1, but that does not do justice to the work that got him there. So, how did Josh Schwartz go from sitting in a chair at THS like all of us to taking the stage just years later?

For starters, Schwartz always knew he wanted to pursue music. He played the saxophone starting in third grade and played in bands in and out of school. As for more aspects of his high school career, Schwartz was more of a Humanities student than a science and math one. He took all four years of Mr. Whitehead’s Creative Writing class, where he prolifically wrote poetry, stories, and song lyrics. Schwartz recalls being “kind of a social chameleon.” As president of his class, he recounts being friends with pretty much everyone: the athletes, gamers, and goths. “I was kind of a little bit of everything. I may or may not have had a party or two at my house, but overall, I always liked school,” he said. Towards the end of high school, Schwartz got into the jam band scene, seeing bands like Phish and Moe, which furthered his creative interests. His humorous “claim to fame” is sharing the stage with Lea Michelle in a Tenafly theater production twice.

Schwartz’s senior yearbook photo

Looking back at his high school experience, Schwartz is extremely grateful for the education he received, especially now that he has relocated to Miami, Florida. “I’ve lived [in Miami] for the last two years and just with all the crap that the states are pulling, controlling what the school systems are gonna teach you, I’m just really lucky and feel fortunate for the pretty open-minded education that I think I got,” he said. “I also never feel unsafe.”

Schwartz went on to study advertising in the S.I. Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University while trying to maintain a balance of his interests and his studies. It wasn’t until later that he would reunite with an old bandmate from his high school years. As Schwartz was graduating, his friend was going into his senior year at the Berklee College of Music. He asked Schwartz to move to Boston and live in a house with him and a bunch of other Berklee kids. During the day, Schwartz was working as a copywriter for a startup, but at night, he was jamming out in the basement with his new roommates who would eventually become his bandmates for the next 15 years.

Turkuaz, the Turkish word for Turquoise, was the product of those nights. The band moved to Brooklyn in 2008. Getting into the music scene, Schwartz bartended and waited tables while the band played at local venues. But, soon enough, Turkuaz was touring all over North America, Japan, and Australia. “As the years progressed, the band got more serious and started doing more proper tours and having hotel rooms,” he said. “Sometimes there’s nights on the road where maybe you  have a little bit of a cold or you’re tired. Or your at the mountains of Colorado in January and it’s minus 10 degrees out and you just had to load in all this gear down an icy staircase, and there’s hardly any people there, and the last thing you want to do is get up and perform. There were definitely times like that, but almost always, once you start actually performing, that all goes away.” In these very moments, he would remind himself “this is why I do this. I love it.’”

After years of performing, Turkuaz decided to call it quits. Turkuaz was a nine-piece band, meaning there were many mouths to feed and many creative differences and also a struggle of leadership. “Also … the scene, the touring music scene,” he said. “It’s tough, he said, “especially for people who, if they have substance abuse issues or mental health issues, find the road to be a pretty rough place when you’re performing for a party every night,” Schwartz said. “I think there is a misconception that a lot of music fans… must be like the movies where there’s … groupies and like rock and roll.”

After the band broke up, Schwartz, who played the baritone sax, along with two horn players from Turkuaz, one who played trumpet and the other who played saxophone, formed their own horn section that they called, aptly, “The Horn Section.”

“So we’re like, alright, let’s just give this thing a go as our own kind of unit,” he said. “Pretty immediately, we lucked out, and we got into a national stadium tour with this country band, Zac Brown Band.” The Horn Section played with Zac Brown Band, most notably known for the “Chicken Fried Song” at bucket-list venues for Schwartz: Citi Field, Fenway Park, Rick Wrigley Field, Red Rocks, and the Hollywood Bowl. “The Zac Brown stadium tour  was all of 2022. I think the crazy thing about the music business, especially the live touring music business, is that it’s all about just the next gig,” he said.

Schwartz performing with Zac Brown Band

Now, still a member of The Horn Section, Schawrtz has gone solo under the name of JOSCH (Josh and Schwartz combined). During the pandemic in 2020, Schwartz wrote and put together the chord progression of what would be his song “Icarus in Motion.” Schwartz was determined to make his song a story. Basing it off of the actual story of Icarus from Greek mythology, money-hungry Wall Streeters and Patrick Bateman’s character in the movie, American Psycho, Schwartz was able to compile a narrative. “Icarus in Motion” released September 1st with a music video linked below. Going from being in a band to being a solo act, Schwartz is taking on roles of management that he never did before, including the accounting, media management, and content creation. He is excited about learning the tools that will help him but is determined to keep a good balance of social media. As for the future of his career, this song is not a one-off. “I … plan on releasing a handful of singles and then trying to build up a community around them and build up the Spotify numbers and social media followers and all that, and then possibly shopping it around, shopping the projects around to record labels and publishing companies,” Schwartz said. “But basically, I’m trying to build up everything on my own as, you know, as an independent artist.” His next single will be coming out in the next few months, and with the help of his former bandmate, his album will be coming out soon.

Schwartz continues to make music at home with his wife and two fur babies–his cat and dog–in Miami. After leaving New York during the pandemic, Schwartz has enjoyed the change of scenery… and the parking spots. He has no regrets about his move or his career, for, as he said, the “stories and people I have met throughout my life are priceless.”

 

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Joie Evar, Senior Staff Writer
Joie Evar ('24), a Senior Staff Writer, loves to write and is passionate about informing people with news on The Echo. She likes to cover humor, pop culture, and all things that are relatable to the student life at THS. She never hesitates to write about her true opinion and to tackle the questions students have.