Interviews / Music

Josh Levi Talks ‘X-Factor’ and His Band, Citizen Four

Josh Levi is a 17-year-old singer, dancer, and actor. Since the age of 6, music has been an important part of his life. Although he auditioned as a solo artist on the U.S. version of X-Factor, he recently started a new chapter as a member of the boy band Citizen Four. Here, we discuss his career, how he came to join the band, and what’s next for him.

Cliché: What made you want to audition for X-Factor?
Josh Levi: I had just moved to L.A. to seriously pursue my career as an artist. Not many people know this, but I had auditioned for X-Factor the year before I actually competed on the show, and was cut right before Boot Camp. X-Factor was the best show at the time for people who sing and dance. The opportunity presented itself multiple times to audition for Season 3. Although hesitant after getting rejected in Season 2, I knew that the show would be an excellent way to introduce me to the world if I could secure a slot on the show. So I went for it.
What do you feel you learned from your experience on the X-Factor?
I learned to believe in myself no matter what anyone tries to turn you into, to never take no for an answer, and that this is truly a tough business. Nothing comes easy or quick. Most importantly, I learned to be optimistic even when people want you to anticipate failure.
I’ve seen you be described as a triple threat. Is there one you feel more passionate about? Which would you say was your first love?
My music is my first love, but I’ve always described my passion for the three as an equal force that I turn into one. Performing on stage consists of so many aspects of emitting emotion, influencing my audience’s emotions through lyrics, dancing, and music. It’s all art.
Being so young, what keeps you focused?
I have a genuine passion to share my voice, my lyrics, and my music with the world. The feeling I get when I meet fans, or when fans message me about how my music inspires them or changes their lives, keeps me driven. I’ve been studying music since I was 6 years old and it’s an ever-changing art that continues to compel me more and more in an infinite cycle to be that light someone needs to get through the day.


©Meredith Traux, Universal/Island Records

Take me through your creative process.
My creative process specifically for writing music or composing visual production encompasses identifying how I can translate and articulate what I see in my mind to an audience. Oftentimes, full song premises and visuals are simply laid out in my head. I can’t rest until the things I see and hear in my mind are shared with the world.
Could you describe Citizen Four’s upcoming music for us?
Our music is dark, edgy, urban, sexy, and modern. We are all writing and in the studio daily working with some of the best in the industry. I can honestly say that our sound and premise are the opposite of a traditional ‘boy band.’ We’re super excited to share what we’ve been writing and creating.
How did this opportunity come about?
It’s really crazy how it all happened! The president of Island Records reached out to someone that I had worked with previously to put together a hip, cutting-edge group of guys who could really sing. They auditioned hundreds of guys from all across the country and I guess I was just one of the lucky ones.
Will you continue to release solo music, or are you focusing specifically on the group?
Citizen Four is such an amazingly unique situation for me; it is definitely a priority. However, since I have an incredible and pre-existing fan base and audience, I am certain that I will be allowed to express individuality throughout parts of this journey.
So what’s next?
New music, weekly videos, and proactive race equality activism via social media. Stronger connection with fans and always surprises!
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Featured image courtesy of Kalie Johnson

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