While growing up in Franklin, TN, Josh Hoge was surrounded by music -- his grandfather was a jazz musician, while both his father and brother sang in rock bands. By the age of ten, the young Hoge was listening to Jackie Wilson, who would be the first in a long line of influences that went on to include Brian McKnight, Boyz II Men, Jodeci, Bill Withers, and Ray Charles. After an improvised performance of a Bell Biv DeVoe song at a high-school pep rally, Hoge decided to pursue a career in the music industry and worked for a time in the mailroom of Dreamworks Records in Nashville before relocating to Los Angeles to be with his girlfriend. While on the West Coast, he struck up a friendship with Ne-Yo; the two collaborated on a number of songs before Hoge returned to Nashville following the end of his romantic relationship. Soon after, he signed a deal with Epic Records and released his first single, "360," on the label. Unfortunately, management shakeups at Epic resulted in Hoge being dropped from the company's roster, but he remained determined and carried on as an independent musician. Without the aid of a manager or agent, he booked shows throughout the country, gained corporate sponsorship for the tour, and recorded the Bedroom Sessions EP while on the road. Through his efforts, Hoge gained a dedicated following and sold 10,000 copies of his EP in just six months. His success did not go unnoticed -- by 2008, he had signed with Blackledge Music and released his debut album, Everything She Was, which included collaborations with Ne-Yo, Ryan Tedder, and Ashley Gorley, as well as a duet with Caitlin Crosby. ~ Katherine Fulton
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