Chatter 20 Under 40: Josiah Golson

Chatter 20 Under 40: Josiah Golson

June 28th, 2018 by Compiled by Jennifer Bardoner in Chatter

Gallery: 20 Under 40: Josiah Golson

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Josiah Golson

Josiah Golson

Photo by Casey Yoshida of Southside Creative


Artist; lawyer; author and illustrator of "The Souls of Free Folk," a book of art and poetry about identity, community and transformation; founder of the 800 Collective, a group that uses art as a means of civic engagement, which I represented at the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit last fall (2017).

What is your anthem or theme song?

"Rise," by Solange Knowles.

If you were a musician, what would your stage or band name be?

My band would definitely be named Free Folk.

If you were starting a band, who from your life would you pick to be in it and why?

I'd absolutely start a band with my parents and my siblings, Christina and Caleb. I feel like we've been an unofficial band all this time anyway. If I could pick a producer, it'd be local artist and consultant Mary Ann Twitty. She's an incredible collaborator and brilliant at guiding an artist through their process.

Which member of the band would you be?

Vocals and tambourine, a totally underrated instrument.

If you achieved rock star status, what would you hope it would be for?

I hope it is for the capacity to inspire others to recognize and claim their own brilliance, beauty and vision.

Random green room demand?

Coffee-and-cream gelato from Milk & Honey.

Who are your top influencers (not necessarily musically)?

My mother and father, Lorraine Hansberry, Tim Burton, Jimi Hendrix, and my 11th-grade history teacher, Dorothy Stone.

Which musical style best describes your personality?

Prince is a musical style, right? 

Who would write the soundtrack to your life and why?

Jimi Hendrix, because, Jimi Hendrix.

First album you bought for yourself?

Coldplay, "A Rush of Blood to the Head."

If you could change one thing about Chattanooga, what would it be?

I would give Chattanoogans more courage to engage our challenges of inequity, poverty and education with consistent action and dialogue, even when we have to do this work without having clearly defined answers or immediate results. These problems were not created overnight and their solutions won't come easy, but I envision a "Chattanooga Way" in which we collectively rise to this occasion.

To what cause would you donate the proceeds from your first benefit concert?

Proceeds from my first benefit concert would support the children of Chattanooga and Hamilton County with unrestrained access to the best educational resources that festival money can buy.