For years professional skateboarder Josh Harmony has made a name for himself showing off his talent in some of the industry’s biggest skateboarding videos. Harmony, 29, also has graced the covers of many skateboarding magazines. Learning difficult tricks and pushing the envelope, Harmony quickly became a member of elite skateboarding companies Toy Machine Skateboards, Fallen Footwear, and RVCA Clothing.
As his skateboarding career progressed, his desire to create music did as well. Harmony is now on his fourth album using a unique combination of gospel, bluegrass and blues music with a faith message. Harmony’s simple and poetic lyrics express a longing for heaven, physical healing – having gone through several hip and knee surgeries due to skate-related injuries – and a desire for a deeper understanding of God’s plan for his life. Harmony shared about his skateboarding, music roots, his Christian faith, and the platform of sports and music he uses to minister to younger generations. Harmony lives in Long Beach, Calif., with his wife Jenna and their two young sons, Harrison and Henry. He continues to ride for Toy Machine.
Josh Harmony uses skateboarding and his music as a platform to share about his relationship with Christ.
Below are excerpts from the interview, which was edited for clarity, brevity and length.
Q: How did you get into making music, especially bluegrass?
A: I’ve been … playing since I was a kid. I really started writing songs [in] 2009. … Some of my favorites [include]: The Beatles, Elliott Smith, the Bluesman, and The Rev. Gary Davis. I’ve always had a love for bluegrass music …this amazing untapped world of music that most people don’t know about …going back learning about guys like Doc Watson.
I started playing the banjo and was just inspired by it. I watched this documentary called “High Lonesome” about Belmont Row and that whole region and the music there (in North Carolina). It’s amazing. It’s been great getting some shows done and the opportunity to hit the road.
Q: How did skateboarding become such a big deal in your life?
A: I really wasn’t into team sports when I was a kid, but I did play some soccer and basketball and other stuff when I was really really young. … One day I saw some neighbor kids go by skateboarding. …. One was a really good skater and he did this incredible trick. I saw it and said, “What is that?” … I couldn’t believe that you could do what they were doing on a skateboard. … When my dad asked me what I wanted for Christmas I said I wanted a skateboard.
Then he took me to a skate shop and we kind of started discovering what this is all about together. I remember watching [a] skateboard video on their TV, and I was just blown away by what you could do. I had no idea … it was this incredible culture or subculture. It was just amazing to discover.
Q: How has your relationship with God impacted your professional music and skateboarding careers?
A: My inspiration for my music and skateboarding comes from the Holy Spirit. … He’s really the one that has turned me on to everything that God is … and inspired me to really write my music. He’s a giver of every perfect gift. … Really it’s all been Him. … I started skating, … I was born again when I was about 19. He flipped my world upside down. … He’s everything to me. … He’s given these platforms, and my only hope is that people would see Christ through my life in the way that He’s [allowed] me to express myself.
Q: What would you say to a parent who might be concerned about their child getting into skateboarding and the culture that comes with that sport?
A: I think that’s kind of a justified concern, considering a good deal of the subculture of skateboarding is pretty dark. But there’s also some great people involved in skateboarding as well. It’s almost like if you’re not praying for your kids and rais[ing] them right … it doesn’t matter what they get into. … Whatever your kids get into they are going to have to face the jagged rocks of life. … The depravity of man is such an evil thing. We have to pray for the best for our kids all the time no matter what they’re into. … I think it’s important to encourage the things your kids are passionate about, if not we can drive a wedge between parents and kids.
Q: How have you and your fellow Christian skateboarders had a positive impact on the rest of the sport?
A: Skateboarding has always reflected the counterculture, rebellious kind of activity and culture. … Even now there are skateboarders that have 666 and Satan tattoos and stuff. You can count on one hand those pro skateboarders who are in the magazines (high profile) and doing it for Christ and living for Jesus. … Those [who] do have [an] impact, it is pretty strong. … As for me personally, I’m trying to stay as influential for Christ as I can. … You do feel like sometimes that you’re on your own.
Learn more about Harmony’s skateboarding, music and latest album “Benefit of the Doubt” by going to joshharmonymusic.com and on Facebook at Josh Harmony.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Roman Gabriel III hosts Sold Out Sports Saturday nights at 8 p.m. EST on American Family Radio. He is an evangelist and motivational speaker. Contact him at (910) 431-6483 or email [email protected]. His website is www.soldouttv.com.)