Josh Gracin has been at the music game long enough to grasp one important tenet. When you hear a song that’s tailor made for you, grab it with all the gusto you can. That’s precisely what the former “American Idol” contestant did when some songwriter friends pitched a tune called “Good for You” his way. The song has become Gracin’s current single and is available on several digital services.
“I really gravitated to it because of how different it was,” Gracin says. “It was that perfect blend of country meeting soul. I loved that aspect of it.” With a smile, Gracin tacks on that “Good for You” is one he wished he would have written himself. “But it gives you a blueprint of how to write that kind of song.”
To be certain, “Good for You” serves up plenty of sizzling sweet soul, the style Gracin grew up on as a youngster in Michigan. It’s a slow burner where the guy emphatically knows that he’s right for the girl, but she keeps resisting him. “You just keep fighting/Like love is something bad to do,” Gracin sings, leading to the key line, “I know I’ll be good for you.”
“I love the confidence of it,” Gracin says. “You know, he’s saying, ‘I’m the right one for you and you just have to realize it.’ I never really heard it written that way before.” But for all its up-front boldness, “Good for You” is a romantic ballad at heart. “It is more of a courtship song,” Gracin agrees with a smile. “It’s not, ‘Hey, honey, hop up in my truck,’ or a party thing. There’s nothing wrong with those songs,” he’s quick to add. “They get people hopping and moving. But this is one of those that sounds modern but it’s also like an old soul. That’s what I like about this song. It fuses past and present.”
Gracin’s blends of past/present and country/soul have been his calling card since he first came to national attention in 2003. The handsome newcomer appeared on “American Idol” and wowed the TV audience with his renditions of R&B favorites like “Baby I Need Your Loving” and disco standard “Celebration,” along with covers of Lonestar’s “Amazed” and others. He eventually finished in fourth place but scored a record deal from his TV outing.
His chart debut came in 2004 with “I Want to Live,” which reached the No. 4 spot. The follow-up, “Nothin’ to Lose,” hit No. 1 and led to other successes like “Stay With Me (Brass Bed)” and “We Weren’t Crazy.” His last radio hit, “Long Way to Go,” came in 2011.
Gracin is now armed with his own independent label, Revel Road Records, along with the current single. He hesitates to use the term “comeback,” but he does feel that he’s on the right track for future success. “I have a great team behind me,” Gracin raves. “And I’m looking forward to more touring next year.” His previous EP, “Nothin’ Like Us: Pt. 1,” was released in 2017, but a new EP is on the horizon.
Working in his favor is his understanding of the music business, though it’s changed drastically in the 15 years since his “Idol” debut. Social media was not nearly the critical component that it is now, for one thing. But Gracin, 38, appears to have a grasp on the digital world. “I really dive into the social media,” he notes with a grin. “It is a full time job, making sure that you post once or twice a day. But I realize that it’s important. It keeps fans engaged and talking about you. It’s a hard business,” he adds. “You have to scrap every day. But some really good things are happening – and that’s exciting to see.”
Josh Gracin’s new single “Good for You” is available now.