Joshua Kadison (born February 8, 1963 in Los Angeles, California) is an American singer-songwriter, pianist, and writer. He is perhaps best known for the Top 40 hits “Jessie” and “Beautiful in My Eyes” from his debut album Painted Desert Serenade. He is the son of actress Gloria Castillo, who was the inspiration behind his song “Mama’s Arms.”
According to an early press release by EMI, “His maverick ways paid off in 1993 when EMI released his self-penned debut Painted Desert Serenade, a collection of introspective story songs including the break-through single “Jessie” and “When A Woman Cries,” already covered by legends Joe Cocker and Smokey Robinson. “I was so used to being outside of whatever was going on that I didn’t even think I’d get a record deal, much less have my songs played on the radio.” This, from the young man who received the BMI Award for one of the most played songs of 1994. His international hit “Beautiful in My Eyes” is often played at weddings and peaked at #19 in the U.S. Billboard charts. Painted Desert Serenade went platinum in the US and Germany, and went multi-platinum in Australia and New Zealand. According to The Guinness book of British Hit Singles both “Jessie” and “Beautiful In My Eyes” both reached the UK Top 40 with “Jessie” spending 15 weeks in the UK Top 75 with the 2 releases of the song combined and the album reached number 45. “Jessie” is still often heard on UK radio, his musical style and voice are similar to Elton John.
His second album, Delilah Blue, was less commercially successful. His collection of songs were closer to sonic novels than the ballads featured in his first album; he used John Steinbeck’s book The Pearl as inspiration for a song of the same name. The single “Take it on Faith” failed to reach the Billboard Top 10, and shortly after, EMI voided its contract with Kadison. The title track “Delilah Blue” was released as a single in Australia.
In 1998, he published his book 17 Ways To Eat A Mango: A Discovered Journal Of Life On An Island Of Miracles and the 5-track-album Saturday Night In Storyville on his own label Storyville Records, selling it predominantly from his website. It was well received in Germany, where he continues to have a huge following. In 1999 he released another album via his website called “Troubador In A Timequake,” which was the first CD to include “My Father’s Son.” He is quoted to have said that it was a song written about his father, Ellis Kadison, who had recently died.
Shortly after, he signed a new deal with EMI Germany and his album Vanishing America was released. The album, released in May 2001, dealt with his disillusionment with the lost values of America. The album was a collection of songs that told stories about people not realizing their own beauty and full potential. Ironically, the album was never distributed in the United States. The album also included two selections previously used on his late 1990s albums, “My Father’s Son” and “Cherry Bowl Drive-In” and a solo version of “Dragonfly Queen,” re-titled “Begging For Grace.”
In 2005, Kadison relaunched his career on his self-run website “Radio Humanity.” He later bought back his previous website address and re-launched it. The Venice Beach Sessions was released as a download-only album in two parts, including a selection titled “Over The Sad Songs;” this was thought to be inspired by his recently dissolved relationship. Kadison has long been openly bisexual, which he once made mention of on his website’s forum. The discussion which ensued caused him to shut down the site for some time before it was eventually relaunched. His sexuality does not seem to have affected his popularity and sales one way or the other, and certainly has not diminished either.
In 2006, EMI released Essential a collection which included tracks from all three full-length studio albums and three additional selections that had formerly been B-sides.
In 2007 Joshua continued to update his website with regular letters and toured Germany in the spring.
In 2008 Joshua released the download-only album Return Of The Dragonfly and toured Germany again. During the tour he announced that he would no longer be performing his older songs and would dedicate his time to studying the bansuri, a simple seven-hole bamboo flute.
Wherever possible at his concerts, he allows audience members to sit on the stage; this is evidenced by various videos on YouTube. He also has a “requests” and “Q & A” sessions at the end.
Kadison’s career has been quiet since 2012, with him performing occasionally and following other interests and pursuits.
Painted Desert Serenade is the debut studio album by American pianist/singer-songwriter Joshua Kadison, released in 1993 on SBK (a subsidiary of Capitol Records). It features two singles, both of which reached the top 30 on the US Billboard Hot 100: “Jessie” peaked at number 26, while “Beautiful in My Eyes” reached number 19 in 1994. (by wikipedia)
Pianist Joshua Kadison’s debut is chock full of odes to finding romance, longing for romance and losing romance. Propelled mostly by the enormously popular adult contemporary hit Jessie, about the searching title heroine and the hopeful, needing narrator who gets sucked into her longing, he paints vivid portrayals of troubled and hopeful dreamers. With lyrics like “Jessie, paint your pictures/’bout how it’s gonna be/by now I should know better/your dreams are never free,” Kadison taps into the wanderer in all of us. His strength is much like that of the best country music songwriters: Each track brings to life and tells a story about unique characters, whether it’s Lady Jane in the title song, Rachel in Picture Postcards from L.A. or Jessie making a recurrent visit in Georgia Rain. With Kadison being an unabashed romantic, none of these songs rock out or even come close to being edgy, but that works to their advantage because he also steers far from the middle of the road with his strong songwriting skills, yearning lyrics, pretty melodies and simple production. The best cut is Painted Desert Serenade, a swooningly romantic song about a senior citizen trying to convince a fellow senior that it’s not too late to find love. His follow-up, 1995’s Delilah Blue, had no hit singles and disappeared soon off the charts. (by Bryan Buss)
Rod Argent (keyboards, background vocals)
Dave “Clem” Clempson (guitar; mandolin)
Mark Cresswell (guitar)
Martin Ditcham (percussion)
Denny Fongheiser (drums)
John Giblin (bass)
Peter van Hooke (piano, drums, percussion)
Paul Jones (harmonica)
Joshua Kadison (vocals, piano)
Chris Laurence (bass)
Phil Parlapiano (accordion)
John Pierce (bass)
Tim Pierce (guitar)
Tim Renwick (guitar)
Frank Ricotti (percussion)
Ian Thomas (drums)
Jeffrey “CJ” Vanston (organ)
Neal Wilkinson (drums)
Sherwood Ball – Adele Bertei – Carmen Carter – Lance Ellington – Kathy Hazzard – Carol Kenyon – David Lasley – Valerie Mayo – Arnold McCuller – Joseph Powell – Ian Shaw – Helen Terry – Ruby Turner – Carmen Twillie – Fred White – Rosemary Butler – Gene Miller – Tessa Niles
Mark Berrow – Ben Cruft – Roger Garland – Wilfred Gibson – Roy Gillard – Tim Good Rita Manning – Peter Oxer – Bill Penham – Barry Wilde – David Woodcock – Gavyn Wright
Stephen Tees – Robert Smissen, – George Robertson – Andrew Parker – Susie Hansen
Paul Kegg – Ben Kennard – Helen Liebmann – Roger Smith
Frank Morgan – Richard Morgan
Strings arranged by Rod Argent; conducted by Gavyn Wright
01. Jessie 5.19
02. Painted Desert Serenade 2.57
03. Beau’s All Night Radio Love Line 4.26
04. Invisible Man 4.58
05. Mama’s Arms 3.00
06. Beautiful In My Eyes 4.09
07. Picture Postcards From LA 4.34
08. When A Woman Cries 3.31
09. Georgia Rain 4.03
All songs written by Joshua Kadison