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Joshua Payne is an American actor and baritone. He is the 8 time winner of the National Association of Teachers of singing; Federation of Music Clubs Scholarship winner; and the Memphis Theatre Award (Ostrander) winner for best actor in the title role of Sweeney Todd. Joshua is an OBU and Memphis University alum and holds his Master‘s degree in music. He has performed leading and title roles in Sweeney Todd (Sweeney), The Little Mermaid (Triton), Carousel (Billy), Don Giovanni (Don Giovanni), Die Zauberfløte (Papageno), Albert Herring (Sid), Hansel und Gretel (Peter), Carmen (Morales, Escamilio) to name a few he and his cast won the Broadway Regional Award for best ensemble (he himself portraying the role of ANDY LEE TUCKER) in the Broadway world premiere: Part of the Plan (the Dan Fogelberg musical).
"The power and beauty of this instrument, this voice we call Joshua Payne, is a phenomenon and experience the world needs."
– Stephan Moccio, pianist, composer (2010 Olympics, Celine Dion, Miley Cyrus)
"Ever seen a lion roar? What a fuckin' voice!"
– the late Charlie Rieker of the Metropolitan Opera
To date, Joshua has produced 12 solo albums and has been featured worldwide on more than 50 compilation records. The Decca Classics label hailed his work and ranked him among Pavarotti, Terfel, and Hvorostovsky as “one of the greatest voices of our time.” He has been featured in many publications including People magazine and InStyle. He has also been the featured artist on international and stateside television (PBS, CNN, ESPN, ABC, MTV, SOAP TALK). He has entertained live audiences as large as 21,000, but also enjoys playing in intimate settings.
"There he was, this laid back dude from Arkansas – Nothing could prepare me for that voice!"
– Michael Omartian – Music Producer (Donna Summer, Steely Dan, Loggins and Mecina)
"Joshua Drew Payne as Benjamin Barker still lives with me. It was the best Sweeney I've seen ever, from the regional house to Broadway, and truly one of the best performances I've ever seen LIVE!"
– Jenny Odle Madden – Professional Actress and theatre coach.
"Joshua is dark chocolate. He's the guy every woman wants, and every man wants to kill."
– Amy Sky, Canadian Touring Artist
"As Don Giovanni he was Terrifying –– the most physically exciting actor I've ever seen much less directed. As a director, my only job was to turn him loose!"
– the late Michael Johnson, Opera Director
"Josh is drawing from a deeper musical well than most of us."
– Bill Gaither, Grammy Award Winner - Songwriter of the Century
Presenting Verve/Universal recording artist, & one of People magazine's Sexiest Men:
This is the voice and artistry of Joshua Payne.
"I think the most important qualities any director can hope for in an actor are empathy and fearlessness: the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and the fierce determination to take that journey no matter how daunting. Josh Payne’s commitment to portraying Sweeney Todd was so exceptional because he was able to capture not only the wrenching injustice the man was enduring but also the plunge into madness that turned him into a monster. That, and being blessed with a rich and emotional singing voice, rugged good looks, and in this case, a sense of spontaneity and danger to go places most of us would try to avoid for fear of not knowing how to come back. For example, his startling choice to hurl himself off the second story of Sweeney’s barber shop while singing “Epiphany” rather than to take the staircase, was one of my favorite moments in any theatre. It was like watching Dr. Jekyll transform into Mr. Hyde in front of you while singing an aria. As the audience collectively gasped you knew you were witnessing greatness."
– Robert Heatherington - Director of the Award winning Memphis Theatre production of Sweeney Todd.
"Joshua Payne is that unique talent one encounters only rarely. He is naturally blessed with a rich dark beautiful voice that is at times both powerful and fragile . But it is because Josh connects to a lyric with intelligence and a kind of wisdom beyond his years , that makes him a great singer. He has a tender lyric style because that's who Josh is , no artifice just a man with questions who is not afraid to put himself out there or to break your heart with a song while you feel that guilty pleasure that you always get when you discover a real artist."
–– Marc Jordan, singer songwriter (Rod Stewart, Josh Groban)
"A sacred voice ...!"
–– Brethren Soul
"Joshua Payne has the perfect voice. Totally in control of his technique, you the listener can forget about everything as you let yourself fall into his romantic yet earthy musical world of stories dealing with love and heartbreak. Bravo maestro bravo! "
–– Bruce Gaitsch, Session Guitar Player, Songwriter (Richard Marx, Madonna)
"Never a false note with Josh. He is one of those rare performers, not just technically skilled, but one who brings his entire heart and soul to his work. His passion is infectious both on and off the stage. It was joy to work with him." –– Curt Bonnen, Audible Voice-over Artist
"Ladies and Gentleman, what and incredible voice; I'm proud to introduce to you the voice and artistry of Joshua Payne." –– Jim Brickman, Pianist and Composer and discoverer of Joshua
"Joshua Payne is the most talented man I've ever seen perform; his voice rich and masterful." –– Michael Bacon, the Bacon Brothers
"Isn't it something, the way Joshua touches music ...?" –– Jim Ed Brown the Grand Ol' Opr
"One of the most abundantly gifted of a NEW BREED of singer and songwriter, blessed with a big, classically-trained voice and a soul to match. In 2002, pianist Jim Brickman, introduced to the world, not only a widely accomplished singer who moves fluently and effortlessly through many genres (including Rock, Opera, Jazz, Folk, Pop, Country, Music Theatre, Art Song and the like), but a lyricist and composer of uncommon sensitivity and power, whose work is clearly informed by the depth of his life experiences."
The Verve Music Group
"Impeccable technique; great performance; masterful, beautiful line."
– David Allen Wehr - Concert Pianist and Grammy Nominee
A fearless leading man both on and off the stage — Bravura in type and funny as hell when turned loose by a knowing and confidant director, Joshua Drew is loved by cast members and always the first off-book. Vocally his range is broad and fierce! He acts and sings both for stage and screen and is also available for voiceover, recital and masterclass.
Presenting Verve/Universal recording artist, & one of People magazine's sexiest men: This is the voice and artistry of Joshua Drew Payne.
"My acting and singing career began as a child in Birmingham, Alabama. My mother, an opera singer, was my first acting coach and director on a theatre stage. I was the leading man in The Rabbits Who Changed Their Minds. And as the Candy King, it was MY job to change them! I was cast in the lead role because my 2nd grade teacher told my mother I was bossy, and then she asked my mother to direct the school play. I received a standing ovation for my work. I retreated to the swing set in costume, pondering all of the events, wondering: why would people stand and call out to me repeating that strange word my grandmother says all the time? Bravo! Bravo!! Bravo!!! A big kid came out to the swing set and told me what had happened. The brightest bulb in the marquee — I was an ACTOR! (Singing came later when I learned I could also yell on pitch.) This was exciting to me. All of my frustrations and all of my wiles would finally have a voice. I vowed NEVER to leave the theatre!" – Joshua Drew Payne
"We've had performers give concerts, but we've never heard anything like this. Incredible!" – Mark Sanders, (Songwriters Hall of Fame) on Joshua's delivery of a Master Class Recital of music from the Romantic Period
"Intrinsically some of the most beautiful music and singing I've ever heard." –– Mitchell Fox - Kentucky Headhunters