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Lutsen’s Own Nationally Acclaimed Musician Josh Schmidt

Growing up in Cook County in the 1990s, Joshua J. Schmidt found his calling at age 10 when he first picked up a guitar. Today, he is living a lifelong dream as a nationally acclaimed singer and songwriter.

Josh lives in the Twin Cities but said, “The Northshore will always be home to me.” He still visits family on the North Shore, and once or twice a year he plays his music for the home crowd. “I love to stay in touch with Grand Marais,” he said.

Events like Radio Waves, the annual music festival sponsored by local radio station WTIP, draw Josh “home” to perform whenever he can. He has a special place in his heart for WTIP. “When I was in high school, I was a DJ at WTIP when the studio was in the Arrowhead Center for the Arts,” Josh said.

Josh and his younger brother Cobi, a nation-ally known artist too, are self-taught musicians. The long winters of Cook County were the times they spent learning and practicing their art. Josh acknowledges several mentors from the local music scene back then, including Bump Blomberg, Donnie Bauer, Michael Monroe, and John Gruber.

“There were four bands in Cook County High School when I was a student,” Josh said. “It was pre-social media, so we had lots of time to dream big.”

Josh finished his senior year of high school at the Perpich Center for Arts Education in Golden

Valley. He went on to Augsburg College to major in Business Administration with a focus on the music industry.

As a proud Twin Cities music scene member, Josh regularly plays more than 150 acoustic shows each year. In addition, he’s the frontman for the bands Step Rockets and Cryote.

Step Rockets performed as the warm-up for the rock band Bon Jovi last year at the Xcel Energy Center.

Josh is married to Kimberly Schmidt, a Master Stylist working at Juut Salonspa in Edina. They have two children, Lennon (4) and Marley (20 months).

“We are creating the life we wanted,” Josh said.

Like every family, the Schmidts have had their share of ups and downs. But despite the struggles, Josh confidently said, “We made lemonade out of the lemons.”

Josh bills himself as a composer, producer, and singer-songwriter. Near the end of his fourth decade, the music entrepreneur he is, he focuses on music writing and production for movies, television, and other performers.

Working in the music industry for two decades, Josh has seen the corrosive effect that arises from the land sharks, vultures, and con artists who sap the life out of artists. He’s better for having seen it.

Josh credits Robert Bly, the late author of the book “Iron John” and founder of the Minnesota Men’s Conference, for inspiring him to live a life of character, depth, and consequence.

“I see music as a way to process emotions,” Josh said. “I hope to be a model for my kids and for self-expression.”

“I appreciate all my support in Cook County,” Josh said. “Don’t forget about me.”

You can learn more about Josh’s work, listen to some great music at www.joshuajschmidt.

Steve Fernlund
Steve Fernlund
Typically these “about me” pages include a list of academic achievements (I have none) and positions held (I have had many, but who really cares about those?) So, in the words of the late Admiral James Stockwell, “Who am I? Why am I here?” I’m well into my seventh decade on this blue planet we call home. I’m a pretty successful husband, father, and grandfather, at least in my humble opinion. My progeny may disagree. We have four children and five grandchildren. I spent most of my professional life in the freight business. At the tender age of 40, early retirement beckoned and we moved to Grand Marais. A year after we got here, we bought and operated the Cook County News Herald, a weekly newspaper in Grand Marais. A sharp learning curve for a dumb freight broker to become a newspaper editor and publisher. By 1999 the News Herald was an acquisition target for a rapidly consolidating media market. We sold our businesses and “retired” again, buying a winter retreat in Nevada. In the fall of 2016, we returned to Grand Marais and bought a house from old friends of ours on the ridge overlooking Lake Superior. They were able to move closer to family and their Mexico winter home. And we came home to what we say is our last house. I’m a strong believer in the value of local newspapers--both online and those you can wrap a fish in. I write a weekly column and a couple of feature stories for the Northshore Journal. I’m most interested in writing about the everyday lives of local people and reporting on issues of importance to them.
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