Josh is an Accountant & Rapper
Josh returns to the podcast from episode 178 to talk about his continued passion for writing and recording his own music! He also talks about how he has gotten more comfortable with sharing his music, how it helps him in the office, and much more!
• Working on his own music projects
• Growing more comfortable with sharing his music
• How being able to share his music helps him in the office
• It is better to have a bad day than no day at all
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Welcome to Episode 388 of What’s Your “And”? Follow-Up Friday edition. This is John Garrett, and each Friday, I follow-up with a guest who had been on the show a few years ago to hear what’s new with their passions outside of work, and also hear how this message might have impacted them since we last talked.
I’m so excited. My book is out. You can order it on Amazon, Indigo, barnesandnoble.com, a few other websites. Check out whatsyourand.com for more. If you want me to read it to you, that’s right, this voice reading the book, look for What’s Your “And”? on Audible or wherever you get your audio books, coming June 4th, very, very soon.
Thank you so much to everyone who’s read it so far and been kind enough to leave those Amazon reviews. It just really means a lot that you’re taking the time to do that and also change the cultures where you work because of it.
Please don’t forget to hit subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss any of the future episodes. I love sharing such interesting stories each and every week, and this Follow-Up Friday is no different with my guest, Josh Hemmrich. He’s a senior accountant at Sentara Healthcare in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and now he’s with me here today. Josh, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
Josh: Thanks for having me on, appreciate it. I had fun last time.
John: For sure. Yeah, last time with Episode 178 with you and Fred and Tonisha, with the rap song and the video that you guys did. That was super cool. Yeah, I can’t wait to hear more. I’ve been following your social media as well, so I already know a little bit, but for everyone else to hear. First, rapid-fire questions. These are ones I didn’t ask last time that I probably should have, now that I think about. No, I’m just kidding. All right, so here we go. If you had to choose, Harry Potter or Game of Thrones.
Josh: Oh, Game of Thrones, man. I binged that like crazy when it was out, the last season especially.
John: Okay, okay. How about hamburger or pizza?
Josh: Oh, man, I’m going to have to go with the burger. Yeah.
John: Burger. Okay. All right. What do you load up on it?
Josh: Oh, man, you’ve got to put everything on there. You’ve got to get the grilled onions. That’s a must-have. The cheese kind of makes it, but it all depends on your mood. Then you’ve got to put the mushrooms on it, the grilled mushrooms, all the sauces. I love the ones with the fried egg on top and the bacon as well.
John: Oh, yeah.
Josh: Yeah, yeah, a little breakfast burger.
John: Okay. Nice. I love it. That’s fantastic. All right, oh, here’s a good one, shower or bath.
Josh: Oh, man, I don’t take baths. That’s disgusting. I take showers. I don’t like sitting in my own filth.
John: Fair enough. Fair enough. When it comes to books, audio version, e-book or real book.
Josh: Oh, real book, for sure. I love the feel of a real book, just turning the pages, old school.
John: Yeah, yeah. No, absolutely, I totally agree with you on that. How about a most memorable concert?
Josh: Kendrick Lamar concert at Virginia Tech, right before he started blowing up and he released, I think, Good Kid, MAAD City. Back when he was only doing the Section A stuff, I went to a concert where he didn’t even sell out Burruss Hall, which is just an auditorium. It was not that many people in there. I went there, one of my college buddies who liked him too. Yeah, we were really close up to him. It was awesome, man.
John: That’s very cool. Yeah, it’s so cool when you catch somebody before they blow up huge. I remember when I was in college, no doubt, opened for live. We were all like, who’s this Gwen Stefanie girl? What is going on? Like? We had no clue. Yeah, it was awesome. All right, how about a favorite movie of all time?
Josh: I guess the easy answer for me would probably be Step Brothers. I love Step Brothers.
Josh: And Kicking and Screaming. All the old Will Ferrell movies were great, but I don’t know, maybe thriller movies.
John: Oh, yeah, that’s a really good one. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, Dark Knight, I think, that one was.
Josh: Yeah, there are so many good movies, man, but I would say Step Brothers is probably the easiest answer.
John: No, solid answer. Solid answer. We’ll go with that one, for sure. The last one, maybe the most important one, toilet paper roll, is it over or under?
Josh: It’s got to go over.
Josh: Over, for sure. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I was trying to do the logistics of it in my head.
John: Against the wall or coming at you?
Josh: Oh, coming at you, man, coming at you.
John: Coming at you, which maybe isn’t the right terminology when you think about that. I don’t need anything coming at me. What?
Josh: Yeah, I’m an older guy. I’m an older guy.
John: All right. No, I agree. I agree, totally. So, let’s chat. The music and all of that, you guys did the rap video for the Thanksgiving, which was so cool, like I said, with Fred and Tonisha. You’ve got your own stuff going on as well. Is that, you’ve been putting out music since then?
Josh: Yeah, yeah. I think last time that I talked to you, everybody in my firm was really excited to listen to me and Tonisha, or Tonisha and myself and Fred, talk to you. That was just a really cool time. We had just made that music video for Thanksgiving. It was about what we were thankful for as an office, and we got everybody in the office involved. Our partners, they were loving the whole idea and concept of our video that we made. It got us exposure to a lot of different offices so whenever we go back to training, people will be like, hey, I just want to talk to you guys, really what you guys are doing.
What was really cool was my good friend at the firm, Cali, who was a senior manager in another office, actually had us perform at our audit convention, I guess, you would say. It’s like an annual training for CPE that CPAs need. She basically let us skip half a day to be able to get ready for the performance and prepare for it. We wrote a song up and basically got on stage and had a little slideshow in the background on the big screen. People seemed to really like it. It was a lot of fun. We had a picture with the CEO after the performance. She was dancing along. It was really cool experience.
John: No, that’s so awesome. It was beyond the video. It was original music. I’ll do song parodies and stuff, but the music is already there. The structure is already there. You started with nothing. Here’s the beat, let’s write some lyrics or vice versa. Do you typically do lyrics first, or do you get the beats? Or you just probably have a bunch of beats ready to go that you think are cool and then try and bring them in? Or how does that process work?
Josh: Right. For that song in particular, I was just kind of rolling around the internet and came across it. I had sent it over to Fred just to see if he wanted to make a little song because me and him had been working together a little bit. He was like, we should make a song for the training. Cali said she wanted us to do something. I was like, okay. I think I wrote and recorded my verse at my house and then sent it over to Fred. He sent it to Tonisha. We all kind of did it piece by piece.
I usually pick the beat first. I don’t really like writing unless I already have the tempo in my head. After I have the tempo down, you’re able to manipulate your tempo in a couple of different ways, depending on the beat pattern. I like to slow down at certain parts and speed it back up at other ones. I think with the new school age of music, it’s more like, how many different tempos and styles can you do in one song to keep the listener interested? Whereas it used to just be, how can you maintain one consistent flow throughout? That’s kind of the old school approach which is dying out.
John: Yeah, yeah. No, that is interesting. Yeah, it does make sense that once you have the beat, then you can fit the words in. I need a four-syllable word. I need a two-syllable word. I’m running out of space here. How can I say the same thing with less words or whatever?
Josh: I will say though that some of the cooler verses that you write are kind of after the fact. You might write it to one beat and one slower tempo usually. Then I found that a lot of my better verses that are really fast are just ones I wrote to a slower tempo beat and then was able to just adjust to the faster beat. Because it’s easier to compress your words while you’re — you already have them written, and you’re just speaking them as opposed to trying to fit that many words in when you’re writing.
John: That’s a good note. Yeah. You’ve been doing your own projects as well, on the side, since then, which has been pretty awesome. You go to a studio, and you record. Some of them I’ve seen, even like when you got a new one, you just throw up the camera in your bedroom, on your dresser or whatever. Here’s something I’m working on, which is kind of cool to see the behind-the-scenes of it all.
Josh: Yeah, yeah. I think during quarantine, I was just so bored and not wanting to go out and do a whole lot because my parents who live around the area, and I was seeing them a lot. I didn’t want to put them in danger, but I wanted to keep them sane because they were really stressed out about it. So I was just staying in the house, making a ton of music. I think in 2020 alone, I probably wrote and recorded and uploaded 30 to 40 songs, I think.
John: Holy cow.
John: That’s awesome.
Josh: It was a lot of fun, and I got more positive feedback than I’ve ever gotten on any music. I think it was just better than any other music I was making just because I was, I guess you would say, training a little more. I was just writing every day and experimenting with different flows that I hadn’t done before. Yeah, so I put a lot of them on Apple Music and stuff like that, and Spotify, but I’ve kind of taken them down. I just want to reset, I didn’t have a concise plan last year. I just put a lot of stuff out. I think whenever I get back into it again, because I’m on a little bit of a low right now, I would want to have a little bit more of a concise plan for if one song were to take off. So, I just want to take all my stuff down and then start fresh whenever I get the motivation to do that.
John: Yeah. No worries, man, but it’s cool that you threw it up there because that’s the only way you can know if it’s good or not, is well just throw it out. Somebody told me about my book is my work is done. I wrote the best book that I thought I could write. It’s on the reader now to decide whether or not you like it. That’s not my — my work’s done. The same with your music. Once you write it, and you put it together, and you’re like, this is as good as it’s going to get. This is what I got. Then it’s on the listener, which takes a lot of pressure off, I think. Because then when another author told me that about my book, and I was like, oh, all right, yeah. Because I can’t control how or when someone’s — or what state of mind they’re in or whatever when somebody comes across your music, but it’s cool to hear that good feedback.
Josh: I think when I was younger, I was more reluctant to post songs. Maybe it’s just because I wasn’t probably as good as I am now. I’m not saying I’m great, but I just know I’m a lot better than I was.
John: Totally. We all get better. Yeah.
Josh: I think that the more you put out, the more comfortable you get. Last year, I probably released 30 songs in a six-month time frame. It’s like one of them that I released was, Person A would love it. They would comment on it and like it. Even if it only got 15 likes or 20 likes, it was different people than the next song I would release where another 15, it would be their style, and they would like it. The more that you put out, the more you’re like, not every song is going to connect to every person, just like every book. Everybody has to be able to relate to it in their own way in order for it to be meaningful to them.
I was able to relate to your book a lot when I read it because that was one of the main things at my old job that kept me motivated and probably allowed me to be in public accounting for three and a half years was that whole phenomenon that happened that last year where it was like me and Tonisha and Fred were making music. Everybody loved it, and it got us to be more than just some name on a screen that you see through an email. Then we were talking to you on your podcast and performing. It was something new and exciting that you still had your long days and your long nights, but it made it feel like you were getting a reward from it. It was something that you were having fun doing even if you had to bear the expense of the rest of the job.
John: Sure, and you were around people that cared about you. They didn’t care about accountant Josh. They cared about Josh Josh, all the parts of you.
Josh: That’s what your book was about. When I was reading it, I was like, man, I can connect to what he’s saying. If I hadn’t have gone through that year that I did at my last firm, I probably wouldn’t understand the meaning of your book as much as I do, but I really believe in what you’re saying.
John: That’s awesome. Well, thank you. That means a lot because it’s one of those things that’s simple but not easy, I think. You hear it, and it’s like, whatever. It’s kind of woo-woo, I don’t know, whatever, make-believe. No one does that. Then you experience it, and you can’t unhear it. You can’t unsee what you’ve seen now, and it’s great. So, I think that’s awesome. You’re carrying it with you, going forward. If it’s music or you’re writing or something else, beach life, in general, it’s just cool to have other dimensions to who you are and find out what those are for the people around you. That’s cool, man. Have you seen people sharing their “ands” more now, since you were on the show a couple of years ago?
Josh: That whole experience made me more confident in making my music because I was like, man, if I can get all these a little bit older generation to listen to my music and enjoy it, then who’s not going to like it?
John: Right. That’s a good point, man.
Josh: The young people at my firm were telling me they liked it. The older people didn’t hate it. I was like, well, it’s got to be pretty good then.
John: Yeah, if a tax partner likes your rap music, then it’s got to be pretty good.
Josh: Yeah, I was like, there can’t be a tougher critic than that.
Josh: I got more confident and put out a lot of music. I think it inspired some people, especially during quarantine when there wasn’t a lot to do. I had some friends who were making a lot of comedy videos, and they would ask me for a little bit of advice just with the confidence side of releasing your stuff.
Josh: I had some other friends that were like, hey, I started writing. They didn’t record it or release it, but they were like, “I needed something to do. I wanted to write.” They were asking me some tips and everything. I guess, in a way, the more that you see that stuff around you, as opposed to just one person doing it, I think it inspires you to go outside your comfort zone and try something new rather than just watching TV.
John: Yeah, because you see one person doing it, you’re like, oh, well, I can too, whatever my thing is. The other thing I love about your music is it’s all positive. It’s positive. It’s upbeat. It’s not what people typically would stereo — I mean, the same with — I get it all the time when they hear, oh, you did comedy, and they think one thing of comedy. It’s like, no, no. Comedies, there are so many varieties. The same with your music is, I love how it’s positive because we need more of that, especially after last year.
Josh: Yeah. I definitely have some songs that are a little more, I guess, deeper or trying to portray some deeper feelings that time. I try to keep that stuff to a minimum so that it means more when I do release something, but I agree with you.
A couple of weeks ago, I was at one of my friend’s house, who I’ve been friends with for a long time, and he was showing his girlfriend all my songs, or his fiance. She really liked them. Because I was texting them to him every day when I was making them last year.
They were having a housewarming party. I went over there, and they told all their friends, I was a rapper. I think sometimes when people hear that there’s a white rapper, they kind of get this idea that it’s going to be an over-the-top, Malibu’s most wanted type a character.
Josh: So, I was hanging out with them. They’re like, so you’re the rapper guy. You know you can get that vibe when people are like, oh, that’s kind of cool of me, but then throughout the night all right, we’ll put on one of your songs. I put on a bunch of my stuff, and they were like, damn, this is a lot better than I thought it was going to be. I hear people’s music and the quality is awful. They’re like, you recorded this out of your room? I was like, yeah. Once they listen to my stuff, they realize that it’s supposed to make people feel good. It’s supposed to — I put a lot of thought into it. It’s not something that I really take lightly.
John: No, it definitely comes through, man. That’s awesome. It’s just hilarious, Malibu’s most wanted. I’m just picturing you in that. You’re the most chill, low-key, I wouldn’t even tell you I do rap. It’s the exact opposite.
Josh: Well, it’s like, I don’t know, the older you get, the more you’re like, I don’t know if I want to tell people I rap because I know what the stereotype is. Then you have guys like J. Cole. They’re 36, making album of the last two years probably and releasing it this year. You just have to be able to prove yourself to people. Once you can do that, as long as you can do that, they can’t really say much to you. It’s just a form of expression outside work and not anything else.
John: Exactly, and it’s what lights you up. That’s the phrase that I’ve learned from interviewing so many people on here is just I enjoy. I enjoy writing music. That’s not opening the door for your critique. I could care less if you like it or not because I enjoy it, and that’s why I’m doing it.
Josh: Yeah. I think what’s cool about, basically, with your whole brand and the product that you’re putting out is that if you’re a professional and you’re in the professional world, then you should be out doing the things that you love outside of that because it helps you at work. It helps you to enjoy your experience more, but also it kind of helps you just in your personal life, as well as with your confidence and everything else. If you can express yourself to people, they understand and are interested in what you’re doing, then it just gives you all the more confidence
If I’m making music, even if people don’t like it, I’m like, okay, well, I went to Virginia Tech. I did great in school. I got my Master’s. I got my CPA. I did three and a half years of public and had great relationships with everybody I left. I work out five days a week, during the better parts of the year. I’m not not going to act like that’s every week. What else? You know a guy that goes and works out, or you know a guy that did well in school, but I’m trying to be a well-rounded individual. Even if you don’t like my music, I feel like I’m still a successful person. So, I feel like, what part do I really have to lose if a person doesn’t like me for my music?
John: Yeah. Plus, the music is — it’s not like you’re going to get kicked out. It’s not how you’re paying the mortgage or things like that. It’s on the side. It’s for fun. If it blows up, awesome. If it doesn’t, also awesome. I think it’s so cool. I follow you on social, and I see the stuff. I think it’s great. Just keep doing what you’re doing, man, because it’s cool to see.
Josh: I appreciate it. I know sometimes I probably posted stuff on my stories, you’re like, man, this guy’s a lunatic.
John: No, you just eat a lot of food, dude. You eat a lot of food.
Josh: I guess I do, man. I’m still a little too skinny. I probably need to put a couple of pounds on.
John: Yeah. Yeah, I hit that during COVID. I’m going the other way now, so I’m trying to dial it down a little bit. Because when you’re tall and skinny like we are, then even just a little bit, it’s like, boop.
Josh: Yeah, you get that belly on you that it just doesn’t look right, man.
John: No, it doesn’t look right. I’m your ghost of Christmas future, man. It’s not good, so I get it.
Josh: I’ve been there a time or two.
John: Yeah. That’s awesome. Well, this has been so much fun, Josh. I feel like it’s only fair that we turn the tables and make this the first episode of The Josh Hemmrich podcast, since I fired the questions at you at the beginning, right out of the gate. So, whatever you got for me, fire away.
Josh: I guess I would ask you — I tried to start thinking about a concept for a book to write, eventually. I know it obviously takes years to do. I wrote like one chapter. I guess I would ask you, what kind of advice would you give me for trying to write a book? Mine is more autobiographical, to a certain extent.
Josh: Yeah, yeah. The way I did mine is I had a content editor. That’s somebody that helps you figure out. We did a solid five days, eight hours a day, so, like a 40-hour week of just, who’s the book for, what’s the structure of the book, what’s — my book is five sections, the intro piece and then three modules and then a conclusion, so, getting to that point. You just figure out what the skeleton is going to be and then it’s write every day.
Just write every day and fill in that skeleton and write with no filter and no editing, literally just vomit on the computer. If you like, I already told this story, type it again because you might tell it in a different even better way. That’s where someone that’s outside of you can come back and decide, oh, you know what, these two pieces, actually, they should be one chapter. Or you told that story better here, but it needs to be earlier, so let’s move it over here. You just create the bricks for somebody that knows what they’re doing to then build the house, if that makes sense.
It’s just write every day. It’s similar with your music. When you’re writing every day, it gets better. Some days, I would write for like 10 minutes. I’m like, I’m just not feeling it. I just can’t. Some days, I’d be two hours, just stream of consciousness, I can’t stop. It’s amazing. Just every day, a little bit at a time and then before you know it, yeah, you’ve got a book. Yeah, that’s what I would say, but figure out where you’re going and what you want to do first because if you just write then it’s going to be a Frankenstein of a book.
Josh: I think I found that with writing too, even if you sit down for 10 minutes, whether it’s writing a song, or I guess that’s what I do, but the 10 minutes matters because you don’t know until you start writing, whether you’re going to have one of those days where you can’t put anything down, or whether it’s going to be flowing. A lot of the times you don’t know, so it’s better to waste 10 minutes of your life on nothing because in the long run, that’s what leads to the great sessions that you do have, is just starting.
John: Exactly. Yeah, if you’re waiting for perfection, then it’ll never happen, so just give up now. Otherwise, you’ve got to take the lumps. You’ve got to have the days where you’re like, eh, it’s just not here today, but then tomorrow, it’ll be the most amazing thing you’ve ever written, type of thing. It’s like, all right.
Josh: Same with anything. If you want to work out, you’ve got to go into the gym to figure out if your body is too tired to work out or not. You’ll know if your body —
John: Now you tell me. See, I just don’t go. That’s how that works.
Josh: I read another book recently, and he was talking about that. It was basically about every millisecond of work that you put in or every ounce of effort that you put in, matters. So, if you go to the gym and even have a bad day for 20 minutes; psychologically, you went to the gym, so you did something. Whereas, if you don’t go, you’ve got no momentum. It’s better to have a bad day than no day at all.
John: Totally. That’s perfect advice for everybody listening. That applies to work. That applies to your “and”. It applies to all kinds of things. It’s so cool to catch up with you, Josh. Thanks so much for being a part of What’s Your “And”?
Josh: Yeah, I appreciate it. I always have fun coming on here. Thanks for having me.
John: Absolutely. Everybody listening, if you want to see some pictures of Josh in action or catch his links for his music or maybe connect with him on social media, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com. Everything’s there. While you’re on the page, please click that big button, do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture, and don’t forget to check out the book.
Thanks again for subscribing on iTunes or whatever app you use and for sharing this with your friends so they get the message that we’re all trying to spread, that who you are is so much more than what you do.