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Q&A With Jewish Musician Joey Newcomb

FAST FACTS:

Name: Yosef (Joey) Newcomb

Family: Married with 3 children

Yeshivas Growing up: Siach Yitzchok  (Elementary School) Sharrei Arazim (High School), Mercaz , Mir Yerushalayim (Beis Medrash)

Camps Growing Up: Bonim, Tashbar (Toras Chaim)

Currently Lives In: Far Rockaway NY

Currently davens at: The White Shul

Type of Chasidus: All :). (Family originated from Belz)

Instruments played: Mainly guitar (some others)

Name of Debut Album:To Be a Yid”

Producer: Doni Gross

Most Popular Song: Thank You Hashem

Favorite R’ Shlomo Carlebach Song: Kevakoras

Length of Payos currently: mmmm pretty long lol

Over the last year, many people are hearing about you and your music for the very first time. Where did you come from? Out of nowhere lol. I decided over the past year that it was time to start producing my compositions. It’s as simple as that!

What type of Jewish name is Joey? Where did that come from? My name is actually not Joey. My name is really Yosef- legally, too! Joey started as a shtik in high school and somehow stuck. Maybe I’ll be zoicheh one day to change it back.

Growing up, were you in any choirs? At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to go into the Jewish music industry? I was never in a choir, but I always loved music. In Yeshiva, I was always playing guitar and leading kumzitz’s. The decision to go into this business was actually a few years after I was married. I had very different plans. I was interviewing with out of town kiruv programs, but then started doing a few small events which eventually grew. Everything is decided by Hashem.

Who were some of the Jewish singers you looked up to growing up? Definitely Reb Shlomo Carlebach and Abie Rotenberg come to mind. They were the driving force of my love for music. I would also listen to Mendy Wald, Srully Williger, And Shloimie Dachs.

What is the largest venue you ever played in? This past weekend at a concert hall in Boca Raton.

What do you prefer simchas, kumzitses, or concerts & why? That’s a very interesting question. In truth I love them all, however, aside from a business, I look at what I do as a shlichus to spread inspiration. So a Simcha is special in its own right because your are the vehicle to bringing the Simcha to the event. At a concert and a kumzitz, I am able to sing more of my messages and even give over a story or the like, so that’s special in its own way. So there is a nice element for all of them.

What inspires you to write a song? Usually if I hear a good vort! But there could also be moments or different emotional situations which would spark that.

Last year you went with Meir Kay & a few of your friends and played underground on a subway platform. What was that experience like & what did you learn from doing it? That was a fascinating experience. In truth, I had no idea what would happen or what the reaction would be. It definitely felt good  to see the masses reacting the way our own people do at our own simchas. I learned that genuine, heartfelt simcha is magnetic. It can change someone’s day. Sometimes people like to complain about Jewish music. But what I saw that day was truly unbelievable. People’s faces and expressions were like they never heard such music and it was penetrating.

What are you working on these days? Album #2 bez”h. But a few singles will probably come out before the new album.

Is music your full time parnasah? What do you do when you aren’t playing music? I teach in the morning at Yeshiva Ateres Shimon. It’s a yeshiva (for everyone really) located in Far Rockaway. Young boys, high school age and up learn there and are mechazek together.

Please tell everyone about your newest single “You Fall Down You Get Back Up.” It just came out! The song originally was written by The Holy Barditchiver. At one event as I was singing this tune, my friend Mikee Mauss introduced me to these words which were put to the tune by a yid named Menachem Portnoy. I loved it and started singing it at events to those words. After people expressed to me how it inspired them, it was time to actually produce it.

Please tell everyone about your “Nechama Niggun” and explain what NECHAMA means to you. It’s a geshmake niggun written by Elimelech Blumstein! And I love it. I heard it in the summer and we got to work. Nechama literally means consolation. The words of the song are “greatest level of a nechama is when a person could look back and can see that whatever situation he went through was perfect for him.” The word vayinachem means to change your mind. It’s similar to Nechama where you change your mindset about a situation.

When should we expect a new album from Joey Newcomb? Very hard to say. The process has begun. In the right time, bez”h.

Please tell everyone about “The Thank You Hashem” Song and the campaign that is going on throughout the world called “Thank You Hashem.” I heard the song two summers ago and I fell in love with it immediately. I started playing it at events before anyone really knew about it. When I asked if I could have it, the answer was “take it and run with it!” So I did. The movement started by the Blumstein brothers and friends I believe started simultaneously. I first met Aryeh Blumstein the Succos after that summer in which I heard the song. And of course, we hit it off. I look at it as a partnership to spread the beauty of thanking H a s h e m . We are called yehudim. Our essence is to thank Ha shem! Hoda also c o m e s from the word modeh, to admit to something, which in essence is the same thing. We admit that everything is from Hashem and therefore we give thanks. Maybe it’s a little sign that Moshiach is coming that these specific things are becoming popular.

Give me one of your Thank You Hashem moments. Hard to pick a specific moment, but someone on Shabbos told me a story. It was Erev Succos and he and his family were driving to Monsey the night before. They stopped on the highway to meet someone that they had brought something for. When they arrived in Monsey, the father realized that his lulav and esrog were missing. They all got back in the car and drove back to the spot where they had stopped on the highway. Guess what they found? The lulav and esrog squashed on the floor! Totally pasul. They all looked at each other and started singing dai dai dai dai dai- Thank you Hashem!!! Although it was tough to do so! Afterwards they called his friend in Monsey to find out if he knew anybody who would still have a lulav and esrog. The reply he got was “Everyone closed up shop already, but maybe call so and so- maybe he still has.” He called so and so and the reply was “Such hashgacha that you’re calling! Come over- I need to tell you a story.” When he got there, the man told them that he had been asked by someone to get a $200 esrog. The guy never came to pick it up. Eventually the man told him that he got it from someone else. Now this bothered the esrog dealer because he spent effort and money to get that esrog for this guy. He said to them, “but now I see that Hashem had me get it for you.”

This yid told me that he ended up with that esrog all because he said “Thank you Hashem” in a very difficult moment. He got the $200 new esrog for a much cheaper price.

Is there something that we did not discuss that you would like to say to Jewish Vues readers? Everyone one is on a shlichus in the world. As long as that remains a key focus, everything should be bseder.