Up Next: Joshua Luke Smith

Words by Hrishika Maniar

Immaculate rhymes, hard-hitting lyrics, and melodic tenacity – Joshua Luke Smith’s
newest single, Shine On, is the song we need right now.

Smith’s notoriously powerful and blazing wordplay paints a picture of struggle and success. Twisting verses weave a story of sorrow and salvation, retelling the rollercoaster of his life – dipping deep into the lows but rising tall for the highs. Born in London, raised in an impoverished area of Pakistan, and then settling in Bath, Smith has had a unique journey. Shine On was written during a time of particular hardship for Smith – his dad was battling cancer, he was struggling financially, and the coronavirus pandemic was unfolding. The track the tells the story of triumph and victory over emotional turmoil. The rousing chorus, addressing God, captures the sentiment of a phoenix rising from ruins, harnessing the power of hope and faith to overcome difficulty. ‘After all the things we’ve been through, all the heartache and the hardships, after all the things we’ve lived through, we’re only getting started’ he says.

Shine On’s mighty verses are underpinned by electric and energetic production. Gritty guitar riffs underpin the rolling beat. Melodies of a Gospel choir and are interwoven with hints of Funk and Pop, making the tune an invigorating listen. It spearheads his next album, releasing in 2021.

The triumphant track illuminates a side of life often forgotten when in times of darkness. Each battle-cry verse bursts brighter than the last in this anthem of unyielding optimism – much needed in times like these. The song mirrors Smith’s own outlook on life. Deeply spiritual and socially conscious, his empowering message was only accelerated by the recent birth of his daughter. He has been vocal about his support for social equality. Featuring on Jake Isaac’s Brother, Smith says ‘The waters tainted, so I gotta change the source before my daughter tastes it’, in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Smith’s social conscience has driven his stirring spoken word. His TED Talk in Bristol provided sharp commentary about social media obsession, social anxiety and self-analysis, and hit home that the desire to create a better world outside can only manifest by healing what is within.

Shine On appeals to that ‘within’. Enthusing hope and authenticity, the song, like its artist, shows us that we are more than our circumstances, and that regardless of whatever happens to us, we really can Shine On.

Listen to Joshua Luke Smith’s latest single Shine On here.

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