By EMMA BARTLETT
When Nate Poshkus, 19, picked up the guitar for the first time in third grade, he never imagined that 11 years later he’d find himself flying to New York City and Los …
When Nate Poshkus, 19, picked up the guitar for the first time in third grade, he never imagined that 11 years later he’d find himself flying to New York City and Los Angeles to collaborate with other musicians to create an extended play album.
Poshkus, who grew up in the Edgewood part of Cranston, attended Rhodes Elementary School, Park View Middle School and graduated from Cranston East in 2021. He released his first song “Lead Me On” on July 21 via Spotify and Apple Music – the song has received over 326,000 plays on Spotify.
Poshkus’s music days started with weekly guitar lessons at Sean Rogan’s You Rock School of Music. Located on Broad Street in Cranston, Poshkus said Rogan’s goal was to teach young kids to play independently so they didn’t need to lean on a teacher. He joined a select band through the music school and – up to age 16 – sang and played guitar with other teenage musicians at local festivals; Poshkus said he owes a lot to Rogan and that he runs a great school.
When the pandemic hit in March 2020 and Poshkus couldn’t play music with friends, he started filming himself singing cover songs while playing the acoustic guitar. Poshkus shared the videos with friends but eventually built the confidence to post his videos online; this led to daily posts for almost two years.
“The growth in audience was unexpected and not intended,” said Poshkus, who now has 628.1K TikTok followers and 17.7K Instagram followers.
When the fall 2020 school year came around, Poshkus was a busy high school senior filling out school applications and writing college essays. He wasn’t considering taking a gap year to pursue music, but after he started gaining popularity in the winter and opportunities exposed themselves, taking a year to pursue music became a possibility.
“Other musicians who I looked up to and saw as heroes reached out saying they were fond of my music,” Poshkus said, adding that a small record company called Hundred Days reached out to him.
Poshkus said being a musician was a pipe dream and originally he didn’t have the evidence to back it up. Once he started receiving recognition and opportunities, he decided to go for it.
“I knew that if I didn't take this opportunity I was going to regret it for the rest of my life,” said Poshkus, who said his parents were both supportive of his decision.
Poshkus, who would be attending Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, decided to defer a year; he then took a job at Lou Umberto’s Italian Kitchen on Cranston Street working the front of the house.
His first conversation with Hundred Days was in November 2021, and Poshkus signed his contract with them in mid-January 2022; he was able to earn enough money to be a full time musician. From March to today, Poshkus has been working on his extended play album. He said he’s not sure yet how many songs will be on the record, but the recordings are mostly finished and the recording company is working on the finishing touches.
“Lead Me On,” the first song on Poshkus’s extended play album, is based on a personal experience. The song focuses on keeping a list of every second you've lived and out of every second, when ranked from top to bottom, the moments with the singer’s significant other are at the top; however, when the significant other’s list is ranked from bottom to top, the list looks nothing like the singer’s.
“It was kind of just something that stood out to me,” Poshkus said. “Thinking of all the moments with that person and you value them so much and they don't think about them [those moments] again.”
Poshkus recorded his songs in Brooklyn, New York, with producer Doug Schadt. Hundred Days connected Poshkus and Schadt, and the two have written and recorded music together. He said songwriting is a taxing process that evokes and requires lots of emotions; sharing it is also the most vulnerable thing one can do.
Poshkus describes his music as singer-songwriter acoustic works. His writing process entails picking up the guitar and playing until a progression or melody stands out. From there he tinkers with the progression and sings words over it. Typically once the chords are laid out, the lyrics and melody come hand in hand. He added that he’s usually trying to say something or express a feeling that he wants to share with someone.
Like most musicians whose work is influenced or inspired by someone or something, Poshkus’s muse is Simon and Garfunkel and John Mayer. Poshkus said whenever he sits at the piano, he always needs to play “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Additionally, throughout middle school, he had the first five tracks from Mayer’s “Where the Light Is” album memorized and would listen to it before and after school each day.
Poshkus said he’s really proud of where he is. After a yearlong adventure of pursuing music, he left for his first year of college on Aug. 20. As someone who enjoys math and science, he will be on Case Western Reserve University’s civil engineering track and said the program is flexible so he’ll be dipping his toes into other engineering opportunities to see what he’d like to pursue. Going into college, he said the most important thing for him is time management so he can keep up with school and music.
As for his future aspirations with music, Poshkus said he wants to make music that people can relate to. He said it doesn't matter how big he gets or how many people see or listen to his music – he’s satisfied with where it’s at now.
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