WILLOUGHBY, Ohio — It's not yet 24 hours since the Browns lost in Pittsburgh to the hated Steelers — a game that saw beloved Cleveland running back Nick Chubb suffer a gruesome-looking, season-ending knee injury — and neither singer-songwriter Joshua Radin or the person on the other end of the phone have come to grips with it all.
"It's our hometown, you know?" says Radin, calling from Alexandria, Virginia, a stop on his ongoing fall tour.
"It is what it is. You just come to expect it after a while."
Radin, whose music has several albums to his credit and who has seen his gentle, heartfelt songs be used in myriad movies and TV shows, grew up in Shaker Heights — before going on to college at Northwestern University outside Chicago and setting in the Los Angeles area — and says Northeast Ohio is a big part of who he is.
"It shaped me as a human being," he says. "I think the better artists are the ones who figure out who they are as humans."
It took him a while to figure out exactly what kind of artist he would be. He grew up painting and wanted to do that for a living, he says, before eventual stints as a children's art teacher and an aspiring screenwriter.
"I didn't start playing music until I was 30, so it's not like I come back ... and I've got this big home audience that kind of watched me develop," Radin says. "It took me a long time (and) different mediums to figure out which was the best way for me to express myself honestly, and when I picked up a guitar, I started writing songs. That was about 18, 19 years ago, and I've been doing it ever since."
In 2021, Radin released "The Ghost and the Wall," an album recorded early on in the pandemic when he needed a way to channel his energy while stuck in his Southern California home.
"It was a serious lockdown — everyone took it very seriously," he says. "None of my friends would even come by — it was all Zoom — and I spent 63 days without seeing a human being in person.
"I can't complain that much. I had a lovely home and a backyard and, you know, it was, like, the loveliest jail ever, but it's still lonely."
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