Friends for over a decade actor/musician Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother) and indie-troubadour Ben Lee have formed a new indie-pop duo by the name of Radnor & Lee. Combining their shared interest in spirituality and philosophy, the two sat down to write a song together, which subsequently turned into ten, and their musical partnership was born. Their debut single “Be Like The Being” is a dynamically uplifting, spiritual folk-pop tune that instills the feeling of pure joy in the listener’s core via the infectious melody, sweet violin, heavenly harmonies, and foot-stomping chorus. It's enlightening, charming and perfectly delightful. Stream the track HERE then read the interview with Josh and Ben where they talk about their friendship, the single, and more.
Josh, many know you as an actor, but when did you become involved with music?
JR: I started acting in musicals in high school and we had singing for three years at NYU where I went to grad school. And I’ve always been a serious music fan. I wrote a bunch of songs with a guy years ago at a summer theater and I remember loving it deeply, so I guess it’s always been something in the back of my mind. I love storytelling and sometimes you just want to tell a three-minute story instead of a ninety minute one.
When did the two of you connect and then decide to join together for this musical journey?
BL: We became friends in about 2007 or 2008. I felt a connection right away with Josh. But I would never have guessed that we would have a band together 10 years later! At some point, Josh mentioned wanting to try writing songs. So we did.
JR: One song turned into two and then ten and now more. We found we had this great songwriting vibe together and we just decided to keep going.
Your sound and writing have been described as “singer-psalmwriters.” So, of all the different musical styles present today, why did you decide to focus on songs with a spiritual lean?
BL: I’m not sure it was a big decision, rather just writing about the same stuff we talk about. We are men with philosophical interests, so our music reflects that.
JR: Yeah, the songs came out of our conversations. And also maybe a largely unspoken desire to put something beautiful and hopeful into the world. There’s a lot of people on the case about how rotten everything is. We’re just telling another no-less-true side of the story.
The first song that has been released,“Be Like The Being”, is already getting a great reception. Did the two of you write the song and what’s the story behind it?
BL: Our friend Trent said he wanted to “Be the Being” once. We liked it. At a certain point, it became “Be Like the Being” as we didn’t want to get too presumptuous. After all, you gotta let the Being Be.
JR: I think it was the second song we wrote. One song I handed Ben some lyrics and he wrote the music. But a lot of the others were written side by side in the room together. “Be Like The Being” is just a celebration of the pure part of ourselves that’s untouched by all the nonsense and distraction, a call to bring that part forward and let it take the lead.
Does the remainder of the album go down a similar vein sonically and thematically?
BL: I think there is a good amount of variety on there, but all quite melodic and folky with lots of harmonies.
JR: Melodic, folky, harmonies, yes. There are a couple of rousing anthems in there too. And the new stuff we’re writing has some real teeth to it. We don’t really have a mission statement around our songs but I think we both want to make music that feels substantive, hopeful, deep, and joyous.
Finally, are there plans to support the album by going on the road?
BL: This is going to be largely dictated by our other jobs. Josh is about to start a new TV show, I’m finishing a musical with Tom Robbins. When time permits, I’d love to do some touring. We’ll see what the future holds!
JR: Yeah, a proper tour right now is going to be tough. We’re certainly going to try to find windows where we can play live because it’s been a real joy to perform these songs for people. The new show I’m doing shoots in New York so I guess we’ll be writing songs via Skype for a bit.