You’re going to be hearing from – and seeing – Josh Bogert in future.
The multi-talented Elgin Park Secondary student may only be turning 15, but his career in the entertainment business is already beginning to hit high gear.
In music, his crowd-stirring cover of Uptown Funk, plus a spirited Feeling Good and a sensitive performance of his own original ballad, It Hurts, won him first place in the 2015 Roadhouse Live Youth Talent Search (formerly Diamond in the Rock) on June 14.
Bogert’s music-making has been informed by many influences – including classical choral works, jazz, pop and rock and roll – but it all, ultimately, comes out Josh Bogert.
And that’s the way he likes it.
“I think, as a career, I’m most interested in pop music,” he said.
“I do enjoy singing big band jazz like Michael Buble and Frank Sinatra – but the music I enjoy singing most is pop. The music I write is not pop like Justin Bieber – it’s more contemporary ballads, kind of like Ed Sheeran, but my own style, my own sound.”
The Roadhouse Live win places him in a select category with other going-places performers, and former first place winners, Curtis Heimburger (a friend from Elgin Park); country duo Fionn (formerly known as Alanna and Brianne) and Tommy Alto (now leader of the band Hawking).
“All of us have known Josh for so long, coming out to open mics, that it seems like he’s been 14 for three years now,” quipped Dennis Peterson, organizer of the Roadhouse Live Youth Talent Search and host of open mics there and at three other Peninsula venues.
“He’s very personable on stage – and he’s worked harder than anybody at getting his performance together. He’s comfortable with an audience, and he’s got a great stage presence.”
But, as the saying goes – there’s more.
A budding acting career has added another string to an already crowded bow for this photogenic young performer, ensuring him, potentially, even greater visibility than any of his music gigs.
In a Volkswagen television commercial currently receiving heavy saturation play, Bogert has a charismatic debut as a clean-cut junior being driven to a prom by his date’s protective dad, who reacts with a prompt beep of the car horn when Bogert’s hand descends, somewhat inappropriately, while escorting the girl into the hall.
A tremendous calling card for a beginning actor, it has been eclipsed by an even bigger opportunity for Bogert – a lead role in a series for Family Channel that begins filming in Toronto this August (beyond those scant few facts, the producers insist on a media black-out on the project at this stage).
While Bogert can’t talk about the series, he’s more than happy to talk about music – in which he’s already racked up an impressive series of credits.
A vocal student of Sarona Mynhardt for the past four years, as well as a member of her White Rock Children’s Choir ensembles, Bogert – who plays guitar, tenor sax, drums and piano as well as vocalizing – is also a high-achieving member of the Elgin Park concert and jazz bands.
A member of two school jazz combos, he was top Junior Jazz Band Musician for the Envision Jazz Festival two years in a row – competing with older musicians for this recognition of all-round accomplishment – while his Grade 9 combo won the top Junior Jazz Combo award at this year’s festival.
Familiar to locals from open mics, markets, fairs and festivals (over the last year he logged 80 performances), Bogert is also a strong believer in raising awareness for causes, such as the Cycle4ER fundraiser for Peace Arch Hospital held at his school.
He also sang a original song he wrote about bullying at the National Town Hall Meeting for Prevention of Violence Canada in Vancouver, and is one of the organizers of the Walk Now For Autism Speaks Canada event scheduled for Sept. 27 at Swanguard Stadium.
“It’s really important to give back because I’ve received so much support,” Bogert said.
A self-taught whiz with current recording technology, he also persuaded Mynhardt to make a new fundraising album with her choirs – which he is engineering himself at no cost to the project.
His background in reading and theory through the choirs and school bands – not to mention his multi-instrumental talent – has also given him the valuable ability to arrange and score his own songs (his older brother, John, who plays trumpet, has already made a mark composing and arranging pieces for the school concert band and his Air Cadets marching band).
Bogert is quick to give credit to teachers like Mynhardt, band instructors Rob Leeder and Al Henderson and guitar teacher Tom Myring for his musical development.
But he also credits his peers in the Peninsula’s burgeoning youth music scene – second and third place winners in the Roadhouse contest, Richard Tichelman (who this week won Abbotsford Idol) and Ava Carich, for instance, are also Elgin Park students with whom he’s already collaborated musically.
“White Rock and South Surrey have so many talented kids – so many talented people altogether in this community,” Bogert said.
“I feel that without my mentors and fellow musicians I wouldn’t be where I am –
learning from each other helps me better myself.”
And he’s grateful for the help of Peterson and others who have grown the local music scene with open mics, and events such as the Roadhouse Live contest.
“That’s where I learned how to get comfortable in front of an audience, how to react to an audience. That’s the only way you can practice it.”
“The mirror doesn’t really work,” laughed Peterson.