In the realm of live performances, artists inspire each other through their onstage charisma, their ability to connect with the audience, and their skills in transforming a song into a visual spectacle. The energy and passion can also serve as creative fuel for fellow artists. In this vein, let’s delve into the insights shared by Josh Kiszka, the lead vocalist of Greta Van Fleet.
During an interview with Forbes in 2021, Kiszka reflected on the influential live shows that have helped shape his on-stage persona. He drew attention to the stage prowess of artists such as James Brown, Elvis Presley, and Aretha Franklin, who, in his eyes, demonstrated an unparalleled presence.
Josh Kiszka admired the way Presley could command the stage with a cool demeanor, while James Brown’s acrobatic performance style and showmanship left an impact on him. Kiszka was equally impressed by Aretha Franklin’s powerful performances. The passion with which she delivered her songs, combined with her ability to hold her presence in a casual manner, resonated deeply with him.
Of all these influences, Kiszka highlighted the unique stage presence of one female artist in particular – Florence Welch. The lead vocalist of Florence and the Machine, Welch’s performance style is described by Kiszka as almost fairylike. He was particularly inspired by her ability to connect with the audience, a quality that he appreciated and sought to emulate in his own performances.
When asked if there were live shows that inspired him, the singer replied:
“I’d say spectacular show. And we’ve kind of run into them [Florence and the Machine] a couple of times. Sharing some stages over some touring years in and out. We’ve watched their show a few times; it’s a really great rock and roll band, a great rock and roll concert performance. I always have to go back to the way James Brown or Elvis Presley would have held themselves.
Even Aretha Franklin. There’s such a presence to them. And Elvis could just sort of stand there and just be very casual and very cool. And James Brown was so acrobatic. And such a showman. And Aretha, that’s another thing, she had almost the thing Beyonce might even have, which is just this really beautiful women power.
Just standing up there blowing the f*cking roof off the place. And she’s just really very passionate. That’s pretty incredible. But again, she could just hold herself very causal. But the thing that Florence Welch does is almost fairylike. Just throws herself into the audience a bit.”
The Greta Van Fleet frontman’s admiration for these artists reveals an important aspect of his artistic journey. The charisma of Presley, Brown’s showmanship, and Franklin’s passionate intensity all seem to have guided Kiszka’s own performance philosophy. Yet, he was especially impressed with the ethereal connection Welch fosters with her audience.