Josh Turner is a deep man.
There’s no mistaking his deep baritone voice, which has taken four singles to No. 1 on Billboard’s Country chart, including “Your Man” and “Why Don’t We Just Dance.”
Josh’s signature vocal depth is front and center on his new single, “Hometown Girl,” currently No. 13 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart. As he gears up to release his sixth studio album, Deep South, on March 10, Josh sat down with Nash Country Daily and revealed his distinctive croon almost never was.
“I knew I had a talent to sing when I was about 13 or 14,” says 39-year-old Josh. “But it wasn’t until I was right around 20 when I really knew what I had, because I had gone through a really tough time. In 1996, I had basically injured my right vocal cord, and it had a lesion on it, for lack of a better word. It didn’t require surgery—I don’t know if [therapy] was better or worse than surgery, but I think in the long run it was better than surgery because had I had surgery done on it, I probably would’ve had to go back in and get it worked on from time to time. The Vanderbilt Voice Clinic basically felt like the Lord does better healing than they do, and so because of that I had to go through speech therapy and singing therapy and basically had to learn how to sing and talk all over again
“The Clinic sent me back home and I started working with a classical vocal coach and basically learning how to use my voice properly and how to take care of it and all that. I was going to a small school [Francis Marion University] in South Carolina and I transferred to Belmont here in Nashville and continued that classical training. As I continued that and as I continued to learn about my voice and how to take care of it, and as I was pushing it and working it out every day, I started noticing that the fatigue started becoming less and less. I started just kind of noticing that my voice was getting stronger, it was getting bigger and deeper and richer—all the things that you would want your voice to do.
“I remember vividly, I was sitting out in the hallway one day at Belmont, and I sat down with my guitar, because up until this point I had only been allowed to sing or play classical music. I was ready to play something that I wanted to play. I sat down and I played this Randy Travis song called ‘The Hole,’ which is a challenging song vocally. I won’t ever forget when I sat down and I sang that song, I was like ‘Holy cow. This is something that I didn’t expect. This is what I’ve been working for all these years. This is why I went through all this work with the training and everything.’ It was just kind of like one of those aha moments. It was like, ‘Oh, now I’ve got something.’ I just decided to build on that and I’ve been trying to take care of my voice ever since.”
Josh’s sixth studio album, Deep South, will be available on Friday, March 10.
Watch the lyric video for Josh’s current single, “Hometown Girl.”
photos by Jason Simanek