32: Joshua Messick Has Hammered Out a Career as a MusicPreneur. Here’s How He Did It.

joshua messick

joshua messick

About the guest: Asheville, North Carolina-based National Hammered Dulcimer Champion, Joshua Messick, breathes new life into an ancient, enchanting instrument. Be transported as he weaves cinematic stylings and endless imagination with virtuosic performances. A beautiful and captivating listening experience, Joshua’s musical artistry is influenced by Celtic, World, Renaissance, Folk, and Classical music.




Here are a few key points from our chat!

  • How he found his life’s calling at the age of 4.
  • A brief history of the hammered dulcimer
  • A description of the physical features and range of the instrument
  • What it takes to be a national champion of the hammered dulcimer and a healthy view of competition
  • His decision to give up a steady job and “make it happen” as a MusicPreneur.
  • Key quote: “If you have passion without purpose, you’ll never make any progress.”
  • The first steps of his career as a MusicPreneur.
    1. He changed his diet
    2. He joined the gym – and actually used it.
    3. He began to be money wise.
  • His goal in the early days was to establish relationships with people listening to him play on the streets of Houston, TX.
  • The Lie of Music
  • Tactics on leveraging an email list for monetization
  • The importance of niching when building your brand as a MusicPreneur.

  • Leaving Houston for Asheville, NC.
    • Arranged a mini-tour of the Appalachian region to find where he would fit in.
    • Knew one person in Asheville, but knew he belonged there.
    • Started street-performing, selling CD’s.
    • He played in front of the “Song of the Wood” hammered dulcimer store in Asheville.
    • Street performed 4 days/week.
    • After 3 months, over 100 people showed up for concerts he scheduled. ***Paying customers.
    • People showed support by buying tickets.
    • Produced Christmas album – marketed to email list. Sold 1,000 copies in 4 days!!!

Hot Tip: Add email subscribers via mail chimp app on your phone/tablet rather than writing down. People will forget to do it and sometimes you can’t read their handwriting!

  • Differences between Houston and Asheville
    • Different mindset in how to consume art.
    • Houston: How can we use art or the artist to make money?
    • Asheville: How can we support this artist who is making my life better?
    • Asheville much more community oriented.
  • Josh’s progression from “new guy in town” to established artist.
    • Priority is to have integrity with how he shares his talent rather than take whatever gig comes his way.
    • Produce content that is honest, real and true to his artistry.
    • If it’s not, “Absolutely yes!” it’s a “no.”
    • Josh’s “absolutely Yes” is recording and playing concerts. Target: 2-3 per month.
  • Josh’s upcoming project: Featured artist for a feature produced by Studio Ghibli.
Here's a photo of a handpan mentioned in the interview.

Here’s a photo of a handpan mentioned in the interview.

About the author, James Newcomb

I'm a full time MusicPreneur. Every now and then I play music. Send me an email at!

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