Joshy J: Rapping to his own drum

Bringing it back, sauce with the raps, call me Alfredo

Killing the track, cuz it's my own, I guess that's okay tho

Lord give me a sign, I can not find it my own

way though

Doors closing, but wait, He keepin em open cuz He say so, uh

By Gary Weckselblatt

Josh Szabo remembers a time when he had no use for rap. These days, that seems like ages ago for the talented Quakertown Community High School musician, who changed his perspective while attending the Harvey Cedars Bible Conference the summer before his eighth grade year at Strayer Middle School.

"I used to hate rap," Josh said, shaking his head at the thought. "But at that summer camp there were people playing hip hop and I'm thinking to myself 'This isn't that bad.' Now it's all I listen to."

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Not only does he listen to it, but he has developed a passion to record it as well. The junior drummer for the QCHS Jazz Band is making money from songs he has written, engineered and placed on YouTube.

"I just love making music," Josh said. "This is my passion. If I can make this my job, I get to do what I love. I feel God is calling me to do this."

Here are the links for songs by Joshy J, Josh's nickname, on his extended play album:

Dreaming - https://youtu.be/ASheUvS8nIY

Toast - https://youtu.be/DnuGfNgP6j0

Good Days - https://youtu.be/YAwdGI7rQAw

Miss You - https://youtu.be/KWse_chlAmY

"Never in 20 years (as a school counselor) did I have a student with this kind of plan," said Patty Sabol, Josh's counselor. "He's a fantastic kid. Very talented, very bright."

It likely helps that music runs through Josh's genes. His dad, Erik Szabo, studied music in college and was assistant band director at Penn State. Mr. Szabo is president of the Quakertown Music Promoters Organization (QMPO.org). Josh's older brother, Caleb, is studying music education at Penn State. Rachael, his sister, sings in the Strayer Middle School choir.

During his elementary school days, Josh worked on a music composition program that allowed him to compose music. He's also been able to obtain software that's helped him create. That, combined with his talent, has helped him figure out "I'm somehow really good at this. If other people can make it as rappers, I don't see why I can't."

Josh describes his style as "more creative than a lot of rap." His lyrics, he said, contain no cursing, and his storylines are not about sex nor drugs. "I'm trying to put the art back in artist. I don't copy and replicate," he said. "I'm trying to break from the mold and make something different."

He's been inspired by Tyler, the Creator, a rapper who writes and produces his own recordings in addition to directing videos.

"He's a master of all trades," Josh said. "I can see myself merchandising and making a brand for myself. That's my goal. I'm only a (high school) junior, so I have some time to figure out what the future holds. But I know that I have a blessed, innate talent for this. My music is in a land of its own."

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at 215-529-2028 or gweckselblatt@qcsd.org.

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