Josh Gracin is a military man making it on the country music scene. As a United States Marine Corps veteran, Gracin uses the mental toughness instilled in him during his military career on his journey through country music. Gracin joined the army in 2000 and was serving as a Lance Corporal near Los Angeles when American Idol hosted local tryouts. Even though he’d never participated in a talent show, he knew he’d regret not giving it a chance, saying, “something inside was just tugging at me to do it. I’m glad I did!” His strong voice paired with great performance skills gained worldwide attention on the second season of American Idol as he stole the judges’ hearts and quickly became a fan favorite. He finished fourth-runner up in the competition and the seeds for a country music career were planted. However, Gracin still had a responsibility to his country. He quickly returned to his duties as a full-time soldier until he was honorably discharged.
Gracin’s musical inspirations come from a wide spectrum of artists. Some of whom include Otis Redding, Queen, Randy Travis, and Eminem. He has had an interesting path into country music; in fact, he didn’t really get into the genre until his favorite radio station growing up in Michigan switched formats and started playing country music, specifically Garth Brooks’ song “Friends In Low Places,” Gracin was hooked.
After his military career, Gracin moved to Tennessee, got signed to Lyric Street Records and returned to the studio to release his self-titled debut album in 2004. The album received three top five singles on the Billboard Country chart and gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America. His next album, We Weren’t Crazy was released in 2008 and produced another five chart-topping singles as well as a top ten single in its title track. Gracin’s third album, Redemption, was released in 2011. Shortly thereafter, Gracin had a bout with depression and after successfully completing treatment he returned to the studio and released his most recent EP, Nothin’ Like Us, Pt. 1. The album shares its title with his current single and was inspired by his fiancé.
“She saved me from a dark place. I’m a firm believer in everything happens for a reason, good or bad. I thought my time in the sun was over and I was trying to figure out what was next for me. Right at a perfect moment she was there. Her smile alone gave me hope. Her belief in me, made me stand and start fighting forward,” said Gracin.
On stage, Gracin takes pride in his performances, including numerous shows for veterans’ charities, including the USO Show Troupe, Vets Returning Home, The Wounded Warrior Project, and many more. In fact, some of his most memorable shows include performing overseas for troops in Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar. Whatever the organization, Gracin goes out of the way to ensure a high percentage of proceeds go directly to veterans. On these shows, Gracin added:
“Anytime I have an opportunity to play for the men and women in our military it is a huge honor. Our men and women are on the front of protecting the freedoms we enjoy and most times take for granted. Being able to bring a bit of home to them means a lot to me, especially knowing all they leave behind stateside while deployed.”
Gracin strives for fans and listeners to hear the emotion behind his music. He believes the connection we have with music helps us deal with life’s ups and downs. After all, music is a universal language and he hopes listeners really take to these songs and apply it to whatever they may be going through. Fans can anticipate more music coming from Gracin in the future. He will be hitting the studio to record part two of Nothin’ Like Us, which will include a radio single.
Gracin spent years developing his career in country music and credits his military background for teaching him the value of perseverance, no matter what hardships one may be going through. His advice for fellow veterans as they work towards their dreams as civilians is this:
“100% apply and trust your military training in regards to drive, confidence, respect, being punctual and effective, responsible, etc… But most importantly, adjust how you relate to people. In the military when something or someone goes wrong, we can lay into them, be hard on them because we expect them to fix it, learn from it and throw down beers afterwards. Out in civilian life, it doesn’t work that way. Unfortunately people have to be coddled a little more to get results after a mistake… I had to learn the hard way!”