Josh Roberts is a drummer and composer recognized for his individual, interactive sound on the drum set and his genre blurring approach to composition and performing
Josh has shared the stage with Jamey Aebersold, John Fedchock, Ari Hoenig, Chuck Rainey, Christina Bianco, Janis Siegel, Rich Perry, John Bailey, Tony Kadleck, Tom Walsh, Jeremy Allen, Monika Herzig, Terry LaBolt, Luke Gillespie, Manuel Fischer-Dieskau, Michael Eaton, Andre Nendza and more.
Josh began teaching himself how to play the drums from an instructional video at the age of 6. At 7 he joined his homeschool classical youth orchestra. At 8 his dad, Pastor Lane Roberts, had him play on the church praise band and at 9 he began drumset lessons with Timothy K Pope, who would become his teacher for the next ten years. At 10 Josh won the tots division in Ed McMahon's final Star Search.
Josh Pictured with Ed McMahon backstage of Star Search
Josh grew up in Branson, Missouri, the "Live Entertainment Capital of the World" with over 50 theatres in town. He played in his first music show at the age of eleven with Tracy DeMille Wiggs averaging 200 shows a season, totally around 1500 performances with various artist such as The Rankin Brothers (Texas Touring Artist), The Keatings (Las Vegas Duo), D'Vaughn Pershing (Andy Williams' Previous Music Director), Rodger Butterley (Previous Casting Director for Cirque Du Soleil and Carnival Cruises, MD Phoebe Snow), Gary Freeman (Previous Pianist for David Sanborn), Gail Lennon (original Lennon Sister), just to name a few. Josh won "Best Drummer in Branson" two years in a row making him the youngest to ever receive the award.
In 2009, Josh left Branson High School after his junior year, to pursue performing and touring with The Rankin Brothers full time. Josh then connected with Ryan Hurn, current touring drummer for Texas Tenors. Ryan completely changed the way Josh listened to music, perceived his musical role, and the decisions he made on the bandstand.
In 2010 Josh was a featured performer at the AG National Fine Arts Festival
in Detroit, Michigan where he performed for the opening ceremonies of the festival for 6,000 in attendance. In the following year he partnered with the Festival and at their headquarters recorded and released an instructional DVD helping students begin their journey of learning how to play an effective drum solo.
In 2011 Josh was offered from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University the Premier Young Artist Award, Music Faculty Award, Music Dean's Scholarship and the Jacobs School of Music Access Grant to attend Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music. Josh accepted the invitation where he studied four years with Steve Houghton, LA recording and touring drummer and educator. Steve immersed Josh in Jazz and other music and guided him to his current sound and approach.
During his stay, Josh was the recipient of many humbling awards, such as the Armand Zildijian Scholarship, Kenny Aronoff Award, David N. Baker/Jamie Aebersold Award, and the first annual Freddie Gruber Scholarship. Josh was also selected to perform at the Monterey Next Gen Jazz and the Jazz Educators Network festivals. Josh is the recipient of two Downbeat Magazine Jazz Awards for Graduate Collegiate Ensemble (while Josh was in undergrad) and in Vocal Jazz Ensemble for his drum set and percussion playing.
In 2013, Josh was invited by the Percussive Arts Society to bring his trio to their annual National Convention and perform for the Zildjian Artist Reception for Mark Collenberg, Peter Erskine, Will Kennedy, Craigie Zildjian, Ndugu Chancler, Dave DiCenso, Steve Houghton, and many more.
Josh Pictured with Craigie and Debbie Zildjian
Also in 2013, Josh was invited by Dr. David Baker, one of Josh's most important mentors and the chair of the IU Jazz Department, to attend Baker's Ravinia School of Music Summer Workshop in Chicago, IL where he recieved jazz composition lessons from Rufus Reid, Curtis Fuller, Nathan Davis and David Baker and performed in the Curtis Fuller ensemble.
bottom row (left to right): Lyda Baker, Nathan Davis, David Baker, Rufus Reid, Curtis Fuller
In his last year at IU, Josh was selected to perform at the 2014 NYC Jazz Festival at Lincoln Center and was nominated and the recipient of IU's most prestigious senior award, the 2015 Indiana University Senior Recognition Award by Indiana University and Jacobs School of Music Faculty and Staff.
Provost and Executive Vice President, Lauren Robel
Currently, Josh is based in Bloomington, IN where he performs and records with IU faculty, artist in Indianapolis, Louisville and other cities such as Cinncinati where he performed with the New York extraodinaire Christina Bianco. Josh is the House Manager of McNutt Quad at IU where he works with over 1,300 students on a daily basis acting as an advisor, resource and mentor to students.