Classically trained folk singer-songwriter Zack Joseph finds his center in a long-distance relationship in his new song “Keeping Me Sane.” It’s premiering exclusively via The Boot; press play below to listen.
“All that’s keeping me sane / Is the hope that you’re thinking about my name,” Joseph professes in each chorus. He’s separated from his love, “so lost and alone” — and, if he’s being honest, a little bit worried they’ll never be reunited.
“As I lay alone at night and you’re miles and miles away / Waiting for the day that it doesn’t have to be this way,” he sings. “Until then, babe, please don’t forget about me …”
Joseph tells The Boot that, when he’s feeling lonely, he often finds himself “trapped in my own head, turn[ing] to vices, and, for lack of a better term, feel[ing] insane.” While he was in a long-distance relationship, though, “the only thing that kept me ‘sane’ when these feelings took hold was in knowing there was someone out there thinking about me.” That’s what inspired this new song.
“”Keeping Me Sane” was written and recorded before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but its meaning has become even more relevant during this time when nearly every person on the planet has had to experience a distanced relationship while coping with loneliness,” Joseph reflects. “For me, this is not a sad song — and I can happily say that I got to spend my quarantine with the same person it was written about all those years ago.”
A native of Youngstown, N.Y., Joseph learned to play the cello as a child and was talented enough to not only become a member of the Junior Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, but also to be named one of the Top 10 youth cellists in New York State. He even opted to study cello performance in college — that is, until he decided the program wasn’t the right fit for him and changed majors to music business.
Having discovered folk music at the age of 16, through his great-aunt, Joseph moved to Nashville after college, working odd jobs while also working on his music. He dropped his debut album, All in Time, in 2014, touring in support of his career and working in restaurants while off the road.
Joseph recorded his forthcoming new album, also titled Keeping Me Sane, following a three-year hiatus brought about by deep struggles with his sexuality and faith. “I kept feeling like I was drowning and failing, and I didn’t know how to get out of that hole. It was like everything I had planned, had dreamed and had thought was important for being a ‘good’ human being was turned upside down,” he admits.
Keeping Me Sane, due out on Friday (April 16), addresses the ideas of searching for yourself, embracing your sexuality and learning to exist just as you are. “This music is about feeling acceptance, regardless of your walk of life, and knowing that everything will be okay. The process of creating this album was just that for me,” Joseph says.
“I don’t have it all figured out in any sense,” he adds, “but I’ve stayed true to myself and am ready for what comes next.”
Listen to Zack Joseph’s “Keeping Me Sane”