Josh Krajcik is well-known and well-respected as a singer, songwriter and musician in his hometown area of Wooster, but despite all of the love, he found it difficult to make a mark in the music industry. Until The X Factor.
Krajcik was among the performers featured on the inaugural season of the latest singing competition from Simon Cowell. The singer’s rendition of Etta James’ “At Last” went viral and catapulted Krajcik into the country’s consciousness. He was an overnight sensation after about 14 years.
Eventually, Krajcik would finish as runner-up behind Melanie Amaro. Despite the second-place finish, Krajcik seemed poised to have a better, longer-lasting career than the Amaro or third-place finisher Chris Rene. His soulful, bluesy voice, described by “The Rolling Stone” as a combination of a “young Joe Cocker, Bob Seger and old Joe Cocker, just seems to have a staying power what will not be as susceptible to changing fads.
The second season of The X Factor did not do as well as the first. After reading about some of the ratings struggles, I posted this:
Krajcik provided a compelling story line for that first season. The 30–year-old burrito slinger resigned himself to working at burrito joint and playing gigs when he could. Then came the audition for The X Factor. Once that aired, it looked as if it would be smooth sailing: Incredible voice; incredible talent; and incredible response.
Despite turning in wonderful performances and being a fan favorite, trying to get a contract signed and album recorded was very trying. Even though Krajcik wanted things to move at a faster pace, he was always able to separate the business side from the music side.
Whenever Lydia Gehring of The Daily Record would interview him (and I would shoot video, as in the photo above), Krajcik always remained upbeat that something would happen soon. Well, finally something is happening. He released an EP on iTunes, and it was a top seller. He recently announced his new album, “Blindly, Lonely, Lovely,” to be released April 2. (You can preorder it through this Amazon affiliate link: Blindly Lonely Lovely.)
“The Rolling Stone” had a reader’s poll, and Krajcik’s album came in as the sixth-most anticipated release of 2013, behind U2, Pearl Jam, David Cook, Arcade of Fire and Queens of the Stone Age. (I can understand being behind U2 and Pearl Jam, but not the other three.) To understand how impressive this is, consider the rest of the Top 10: Black Sabbath, Brittany Spears, Tool and Lady Gaga all finished behind Krajcik.
Until Krajcik demonstrates he can sell records (or digital downloads), all he has done is shown a potential. However, he is in a position to be successful because he never quit, he never gave up, he pursued a music career on his own terms and played with the hand he was dealt. We can learn about persevering from watching what he has done.
In the times I have been with Krajcik (and he has been generous with his time at the Cleveland House of Blues and College of Wooster concerts), he never complained about what was happening on the business side of the ledger. Instead, he focused on those things he could do.
Life might put up obstacles in your way, but let’s focus on what we can do and start there.
Check out this video I shot and edited featuring Lydia Gehring interviewing Josh Krajcik:
Updated April 5, 2013: Listen to the first five minutes of this video. Everything Krajcik was talking about in September is playing out right now, including the promotional tour.