By Jena Howie
Josh Grider ’02 has always known his heart belonged in music. From playing guitar and singing in church as a kid in Las Cruces, New Mexico, to signing with one of country music’s most talented and highly esteemed publishers, Grider has found a way express what he believes and make sense of his world through song.
“Art is the most uniquely human trait we have. We are the only species who chronicle our history through art, song, and writing,” Grider said.
As a Baylor freshman living in Martin Hall, Grider had a plan to fulfill his dream of becoming a musician.
“I went to college with the intent of starting a band,” Grider said.
He quickly met guys on campus who would become a part of his “Baylor band,” and got to work creating Riverside, his first band. Riverside was made up of members from the class of 2002, including Josh Stumps, Seth Allen, Jacob Rucker, and Joe Crump. Three of the other band members lived in Martin with Grider. The band’s first regular gig was at The Continental Cowboy, a local bar. The band also played at various Greek life events on campus, but nothing that made them famous or very much money.
“It would be much more beneficial if I liked tax accounting – I’d have a much more stable life,” Grider said.
Grider spent a significant amount of time building his name in the Texas country music scene once he left Baylor. In 2011, he had some luck. He won a contest based on fan votes to perform at Billy Bob’s Texas in Fort Worth and was introduced to country music visionary Tim DuBois in the same year. From there, his career really began to take off. Dubois is noted for having signed big-name country music artists such as Alan Jackson, Brooks and Dunn, and Brad Paisley.
With high aspirations and a drive to succeed, Grider moved to Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Kristi Foster ’02, and son in late 2011. The previous bands Grider was involved with, including the Josh Grider Band and the Josh Grider Trio, came to end before his move.
“I didn’t think I had a good chance at success unless we lived in Nashville,” Grider said. “We took a chance on what could be a good idea, and it’s played out well for us – it’s very fulfilling.”
In October, Grider officially signed with AMP Entertainment, which was founded by DuBois, is a new publishing and artist management venture in Nashville.
“Signing the publishing deal was a moment of validation. Someone thinks I can write well enough to get a major artist to do one of my songs,” Grider said.
Grider is also participating in a documentary show called Troubadour, Texas, which features a unique, behind-the-scenes look at the lives of country musicians who are chasing and living the dream of making it big. Other artists featured on the show include Jack Ingram, Cory Marrow, and Ray Willie Hubbard – who are living the musician’s dream – and other musicians such as Kylie Rae Harris and Cody Johnson who are chasing it.
“It’s very bizarre to be miked up and your every move filmed, but part of it is totally cool,” Grider said.
Grider has given his life to music, and it’s finally giving back. He has released four full-length albums and two EPs since the start of his career in his dorm room in Martin. His latest album, The Gettin’ There, was released in October and is making significant moves up the country music charts.
With much success and validation of his talent in Nashville, Grider will continue to play music and do what he loves.
For more information on Josh Grider and his music, visit joshgrider.com or find his songs on iTunes by searching “Josh Grider.”