Joshua Radin

Joshua Radin, whose songs became famous on TV shows like “Scrubs” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” will perform Feb. 27 at the Center for the Arts.

Singer-songwriter Joshua Radin had his sights set on screenwriting. He didn’t pick up the guitar until he was 30.

“I would go to see concerts and look up at musicians like they were magicians,” he said. “I kept thinking because I didn’t start as a kid it was way too late for me. I’m sure a lot of people think that way.”

But once his song — the first song he ever wrote, “Winter” — was picked up by the hit TV show “Scrubs” Radin abandoned his writing dreams or rather, morphed them into musical notes.

Radin takes the Center for the Arts stage on Feb. 27, sharing the spotlight with two other singer-songwriters, Lissie and special guest Lily Kershaw. Tickets for the 7 p.m. show, which cost $28-$38 (plus a $3 processing fee), can be bought online at

Booking the trio was an easy call for Shannon McCormick, the Center’s programming director.

“I’ve been following both Joshua Radin and Lissie’s successfully budding careers,” he said. “When they announced a co-headline tour and had a routed date for us, it was an easy decision to pull the trigger.”

But though Radin is getting ready to release his seventh album, his route to music-making started as a side passion.

After graduating from Northwestern University with a visual arts degree, Radin worked as a screenwriter for several years. He took up the guitar as a meditative device.

Then “Scrubs” happened, in part because of Radin’s college friendship with the show’s star Zach Braff.

When “Winter” aired on the show so many people wanted to know the name of the singer that NBC’s website crashed from the traffic. That was 2003.

Sixteen years later Radin has released six studio albums, written love songs for TV shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” and movies like “Dear John” and even performed at Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi’s wedding.

When the News&Guide spoke to Radin his new album, “Here Right Now,” had gone into mixing. Retreating from Radin’s typical themes of love and loss, his new material enters new territory.

“I didn’t know what to write about at first because I wasn’t going through a break up or falling in love with anyone,” he said.

“So I started thinking and really, really looking inward, and I noticed a couple deficiencies within myself, one of which is that I have a terrible time when it comes to being present in the moment.”

Like all good romantics Radin described his constant companion as anxiety, mostly about the future. While he is a generally happy guy, songwriting was a way for him to “get those feelings out,” he said.

Inspired by a recent solo trip to Spain, Radin decided to start thinking more intently about the present: Life is fun, so why not write about the life that’s happening right now?

“I felt like the more I write about it, the more I play songs about that subject for people every night, the more it reinforces that idea to me in my head,” Radin said.

“I’ve never said this, actually, but I think this is my best album yet.” 

Contact Julie Kukral at 732-7062, or @JHNGscene.

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