Chart-topper Josh Kumra excited about Hartlepool gig

Josh Kumra
Josh Kumra

“Out of all of the gigs I’ve played this year, this is probably the one I’m looking forward to the most.”

And considering Josh Kumra has spent the summer touring Europe as well as rocking up at many a festival, that’s some assessment.

Jools Holland and his army of cameramen have welcomed him onto the famous Later stage, the hundreds of thousands of festival goers have watched on in the mud and he’s not long been back in the UK from a summer of major European stadium gigs touring OneRepublic.

Yet tonight Josh finds himself the headline act at a different kind of gig – an open mic night – and he can’t wait.

If the words of the British singer-songwriter with the huge 2011 number one hit, Don’t Go, to his name are anything to go by – and he is well qualified to make such a prediction – the very first audience at the launch of a brand new night in Hartlepool tonight (Wednesday, September 18) are in for a treat.

“I love playing festivals because it’s a different atmosphere, completely different to anything else,” explained the talented 22-year-old.

“But I love playing intimate gigs as well and to be honest out of all of the gigs I’ve played this summer, this is probably the one I’m looking forward to the most.

“Hopefully it will be a smash.”

It will if Hartlepool musician Al Devon has his say.

One element of Hartlepool band The Jar Family, Al got to know Josh on the road, crossing paths at a number of gigs.

So when Al came up with the brainwave of his Jack2Jack weekly open mic night at Odd Bar, in Church Street, which will boast an established headline act once a month, Josh was at the top of the list to come to town and steal the show at the launch night.

“I’m just on my way up north now on the train so if my line cuts out I haven’t put the phone down on you,” laughs Josh as he chats to the Mail just hours before tonight’s gig.

With the phone line running as smooth as his journey into town, he continues: “Me and Al have bumped into each other three or four times and it’s always been down in London or down south.

“He has always told me about the music scene up north, it’s something he’s very proud of so when he gave me this opportunity to come up and play I jumped at the chance.”

Josh will be supported by local acts tonight - all chosen by Al - and the key element of his new music night in the town.

And the headline act admitted it was the type of opportunity he longed for as he, like thousands of other musicians across the country, jostled from gig to gig trying to make a name.

“I have always loved open mic nights, I still do them now when I get the chance,” said Josh.

“And going back a few years if I had known there was a chance to support a headline act I would have went to every open mic night going to get that opportunity.”

Going back a few years Josh moved to London with his progression as a musician at the forefront of his thoughts.

Within a matter of months he had done exactly that. Progression to a UK number one with Wretch 32 wasn’t a bad start to life in the capital.

And he admits his life changed from that moment on.

He released his first album, Good Things Come To Those Who Don’t Wait, in April this year - but has already started writing his second - and predicts his best is still to come.

“I’m really proud of the first album but I’ve got a lot more to say now,” he said.

“They say that you have got your whole life to write your first album but I’ve started to think off my own back a little more now and I’m excited about my next album already.”

He has a lot to look forward to. And so do Josh’s fans who are going to make sure the Jack2Jack launch night is a “smash” tonight.

*Tickets are available on the door for tonight’s gig priced at £8. Doors open at 8pm.