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Pittsburgh Artist of the Week: Joziah Council

Courtesy of the artist

Life can feel like a movie sometimes, and Pittsburgh artist Joziah Council is a talented, musical screenwriter. His new song “Bittersweet (Breakup Version)” deals with the feelings he felt when he realized a relationship was finally, fully over.

Joziah Council recently spoke with WYEP's Joey Spehar.


What’s your musical history up to this point? 

I started performing as a singer and songwriter when I was nine years old in my grandparents church. I then began playing instruments starting with the drums and piano when I was around 12 or 13. When I was around 17, I played in a rock band as a drummer for a couple of years — did an East Coast tour. The band was called Surf Bored. Finally, I pursued my own career as an artist doing more R&B in 2018 involving me producing some of my songs as well as writing everything. Then I formed a band who performs under my name in 2021 and we’ve been playing throughout the City of Pittsburgh since.

How do you describe your sound?

Witty R&B

Tell us more about the song "BITTERSWEET (Breakup Version)." What inspired you to write it and what does it mean to you?

I usually write from personal experiences and always think of it like a movie based on a true story; everything is dramatized for dramatic effect. For this instance, I had just ended a relationship with someone and for the first time, I saw they were in town and didn’t let me know. While I didn’t expect them to, it was just a very evident moment to deal with the reality that something is over. I was in the middle of writing to an instrumental while I saw this person was in town so she inspired the first verse. For the longest, I didn’t write more than the first verse and hook until a year later when I had an interaction from a separate relationship. I had met up for drinks with a person I had history with for the first time in a long time and she just didn’t seem to be the same person I knew and had good memories with. Something was different, and it wasn’t for the better. Certain instances affected the way I viewed her now and this inspired the second verse of Bittersweet.

To summarize, the song is about the internal conflict of wanting to remember the good you had with someone after things end poorly; also how people change with time and how some people are just never meant to be together no matter how hard they try.

What was the first album that really changed your life?

I grew up in my grandparents' church, so for the longest, I was listening to only gospel music. An album that led me to appreciate music so much during that time was “Speak Those Things” by Fred Hammond.

Who are some other Pittsburgh artists you think more people should listen to?

Kels, Cam Chambers, Dehkewlz, Sierra Sellers

Joey Spehar is a Pittsburgh native who started as a volunteer D.J. at WYEP, fresh out of college in 2006. He took on any job they’d let him do like editing audio, engineering remote broadcasts, and shoveling snow.