As an actor, Southern California native Josh Breckenridge is known for his standout roles on Broadway in the revival of Terrence McNally’s play The Ritz at Studio 54, Kander and Ebb’s Tony-nominated musical The Scottsboro Boys, and the Tony Award-winning hit Come From Away. He has also appeared on the popular TV shows The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, and FBI, and was featured in the San Francisco premiere of the musical version of Tales of the City, based on Armistead Maupin’s beloved series of novels, with a score by Jake Shears of The Scissor Sisters.
Now a rising star in the music industry, J. Breckenridge, the singer-songwriter-recording artist persona of the noted stage and screen performer, has just released his new music video “Y.O.U.” The original track, available on all digital and streaming platforms, is his second single with Red Card Records, and the next step in the rollout of Monotony, his upcoming debut album of all-original music and lyrics, expected to be released this summer. “As a musical theater actor,” Breckenridge noted, “I’ve been fortunate to perform someone else’s music and someone else’s lyrics on large stages, and I am grateful for those opportunities. But I have my own stories to tell . . . I feel blessed and happy to have this chance to share it.”
The COVID-19 shutdown of Broadway in March 2020, during his run in Come From Away, gave Breckenridge (a past recipient of the Laurie Beechman Award for Outstanding Achievement in Vocal Performance) the opportunity to focus on his music. “During the pandemic, all the excuses dropped away. I’ve been lucky enough to have a busy Broadway and TV schedule. The one positive element of this temporary industry shutdown is that it allowed me the space to perfect these new songs,” he said. “This time alone has been an important period of contemplation and I’ve been at my most emotionally available. It’s been perfect for harnessing the multitude of feelings, the vastly different shades and colors of emotions this original material evokes.”
“Y.O.U.” is a stirring blend of chamber pop, old-school soul, and a strand of electronica, with R&B and jazz influences that evoke the classic style of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Smokey Robinson, and the current sounds of Bruno Mars, Michael Bublé, and John Legend. But it’s also an introspective anthem for self-responsibility and positive metal health, as Breckenridge strives to be an advocate for those struggling with self-confidence and self-worth, addressing those complicated feelings with humor and finesse.
Breckenridge explained, “I wrote this song all about self-responsibility and self-love and the realization that repetitive relationship fails could very well be sourced with you, yourself. You can’t love someone else until you learn to love and trust yourself.” He went on to say that, “Everyone strives to hear that four-letter word ‘L.O.V.E.’ But perhaps that notion isn’t as fundamental as the importance of those three other letters, ‘Y.O.U.’ – accepting and loving yourself for who you are before you can share your life with another person . . . If you can focus on positive qualities in yourself, others will see them too.”
You can watch the uplifting and empowering video below, with Breckenridge performing all lead and background vocals (and opening with a ukulele solo), backed by Brian Griffin on drums and percussion, Carl Carter on bass, and David Paarlberg on keyboards.