Joshua Radin’s big break in the music business came before he even knew he was in the music business.
He was in his late 20s, working a variety of jobs, when he took up guitar and learned some Bob Dylan covers.
Soon, he decided he needed to express his own voice in his new-found hobby, so he wrote a song.
The song — “Winter” — became part of the sound track for the hit NBC sitcom “Scrubs.” It was the first song he had ever written.
Radin had the good fortune of going to Northwestern University with Zach Braff — the star of “Scrubs” — and it was Braff who played “Winter” to the show’s producers.
Radin went on to place eight songs on the show, and since 2004 has had his songs appear in dozens of TV episodes including CW’s “Gossip Girl,” ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” and NBC’s “Parenthood.”.
Four of his five albums have made it high on the Billboard album charts, and one single, “I’d Rather Be with You” made the Billboard singles chart. He’s known for songs that are largely acoustic folk, with soft vocals and thoughtful lyrics.
What might have happened if Radin had been trying to make it in the music biz?
“I wasn’t setting out to be a professional musician. I just wrote that song because I was starting to play guitar and wanted to express myself a little bit beyond doing covers,” said Radin, 39.
Expressing himself has helped Radin build a pretty good career for himself. He’ll be performing Saturday night in Freeport, in the final show of L.L. Bean’s Summer Concerts series. His latest album, “Wax Wings,” debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard folk album chart in May.
Besides having music on lots of TV shows, recording albums and touring, Radin has got fans in high places. He was asked to perform at the wedding of comedian Ellen DeGeneres and actress Portia de Rossi in 2008.
Radin grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. He was more drawn to art than music. When he attended college at Northwestern in Chicago, he studied drawing and painting.
Radin says that his musical exploration, which began when he was almost 30, was a result of some introspection. He said he thought that he wasn’t maturing, he wasn’t growing, and he thought expressing himself creatively would help him with that. He had worked in an art gallery, as an art teacher and as a writer, before turning to music.
Now that he’s been successful in music and has toured and recorded for nearly 10 years, he’s not sure the maturing he had worried about earlier will ever really happen.
“I’m getting better, I think, but I realize now that you probably never figure this maturing thing out,” said Radin. “I mean, I’ve toured the world and met all these people and have had all these crazy experiences, but really, not much inside me has changed.”
Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:
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