Photo by Jenn Schaefer Photography Nicole Belmont takes the helm of the renowned choral organization (Phoenix,…
We are excited to introduce one of our newest tenors, Josiah Hagstrom. Josiah studied at MCC and ASU for a degree in Choral Education until an opportunity for a different profession took precedence. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from ASU in 2012, and currently manages an optometry practice in Phoenix. Josiah is also a new dad with his daughter, Kayla, being born in September 2015. Read below for a Q&A with Josiah!
When did you decide that you wanted to start singing professionally and why?
I’ve never been able to have singing as my only source of income, but I really just kind of fell into random professional gigs. It was mostly seasonal to start, but now it’s much steadier. The pay has never been the driving factor to any of my experiences.
What singing accomplishment are you most proud of?
This is something I’m looking to just keep topping as time goes on. My list is fairly short, mostly from high school and includes singing in New York (Lincoln Center, then Carnegie Hall), singing all four years in the AZ High School All-State choir, and now singing with Phoenix Chorale.
How is singing important in your life?
Singing for me is the one activity where I can truly connect with everything on my mind and in my heart. It’s the one conduit that can transcend my limitations of language and visual understanding. My personal life allows me to sing at church or in a worship setting and being able to communicate to God in that manner, almost as a prayer, has been a very real gift when stuck in the midst of difficult times.
What is most exciting to you about joining the Phoenix Chorale?
The music. Being surrounded and enveloped in the incredible sound and talent of everyone in the group. There is truly no other experience like this type of momentary creation.
If you were stranded on an island and could only have three albums to listen to, what would they be and why?
Five Iron Frenzy: The End is Here – This was the band’s last live album before breaking up, and the dynamic contrast of a group that can sing such poignant lyrics one second and a joking faux-metal song the next, mixed with the knowledge that they were done is incredibly captured in this album.
Muse: The Resistance – I never get tired of this album, and Matt Bellamy’s ending orchestration in “Exogenisis: Symphony” is just awesome.
Future of Forestry: Travel Series – The lead vocalist and composer, Eric Owyoung has some of the most lyrical lines and layering that create some of the most complex, yet smooth songs that I can listen to over and over.
What musician inspires you?
Reese Roper of Five Iron Frenzy. Yeah, the band seems like a goofy concept, but his realization of how to write your heart in lyrics then perform it exactly like that has always impressed me. He also has this uncanny comfort and complete freedom in being just goofy (appropriately) in a world where things are often taken way too seriously is really admirable.
What was your first concert?
This is super nerdy. My parents took me and my two older siblings to a Christian vocal group literally named “Acapella” when I was 8. I actually really loved it, and continue to be awed by vocal music and especially beat-boxing to this day.
What is your pre-performance routine, if any?
I don’t really have one. I tend to not really have much of an appetite prior to a performance, and I really don’t vocally take much to warm up… So, mostly just drink water and keep gum in my mouth to avoid drying out.
What is your spirit animal and why?
Hands down, the Sea Otter. They’re playful, chill, always treasure family and loved ones, and are only ever “mean” when provoked or protecting other pups. I think that’s a pretty good way to go through life.
What is the strangest or most random talent you have?
I would say it would have to be the cricket whistle. I can make a pretty decent mimic of a cricket chirp that I’ve only ever heard a couple of people match. That, or voluntary Nystagmus (rapidly twitching or shaking eyes)… Not a lot of people can do that either.