Ohio-born singer-songwriter Joshua Radin has been to Australia several times before as a tourist, but this month marked his first ‘business’ visit, playing a handful of shows around the country. With venues in both Sydney and Melbourne sold out and extra tour dates added, it would appear he’s been warmly welcomed by Australian audiences.
“I’ve never played here before, and I’ve never had a record out here, so to play for 1000 people a night is really humbling. I knew there’d be some fans out here, I just didn’t think there’d be this many,” he told Sydney Star Observer.
What’s behind the performer’s sudden success? As with all the good things in life, we have the gays to thank. Well, one gay in particular: Radin has something of a high-profile fan in Ellen DeGeneres, who asked him to sing the tender ballad Today at her wedding to Portia de Rossi.
“She had me on her TV show, and during the sound check she came up to me and said ‘I’d love to walk down the aisle to that song, it’s the perfect wedding song’. I thought she was just being flattering.
“Then about six months later — two days before the wedding — I got a call asking if she could fly me in and play for her guests.”
DeGeneres was rumoured to have knocked back offers from both Justin Timberlake and George Michael to perform at the wedding in favour of Radin, which does make sense — SexyBack isn’t exactly tailor-made for a wedding waltz.
Before this scribe could dig for inside info on Ellen and Portia’s relationship — does DeGeneres dance around the coffee table insufferably like that at home? Is there a funky black DJ in the corner of every room in their house to laugh at her jokes? — Radin put a lid on the topic.
“People have asked me ever since then about my friendship with Ellen DeGeneres, but I really don’t know her at all. The few times I’ve met her she’s been lovely, but it’s not like we ever call each other on the phone or meet up or anything.”
From one fabulous female to another then: Patty Griffin. The alt.country singer, whose timeless songs have been covered by everyone from Kelly Clarkson to Jessica Simpson (but we won’t hold that against her), duets with Radin on You Got Growin’ Up To Do, one of the highpoints of his latest album, Simple Times. Sadly, Radin revealed that he and Griffin aren’t exactly besties either.
“We’ve never even met. I was recording my album in LA and she was in Nashville at the time. I’ve always been such a huge fan of hers, she’s so remarkable. When I wrote that song, all I could think was that it needed a female voice on it, and the only person I wanted was Patty Griffin.
“She said yes, and when we got her vocal back and we sat there in the studio, mixing her vocal in with mine, I just sat there stunned. It was definitely the coolest thing I’ve ever done.”

info: Simple Times is out now through Warner Music.

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