Joshua Michael Kiszka, the charismatic lead singer of Greta Van Fleet, was born on April 23, 1996. He is from Frankenmuth, Michigan and is the oldest of four siblings, born only five minutes sooner than his identical twin brother Jake (whom he likes to remind about this fact).
The Kiszka siblings grew up in a very creatively free environment, surrounded by music, film and literature. Their parents provided a veritable vinyl playground of early blues, Americana, and rock music. The Kiszka kids furthered their music education during winter ski trips to Michigan’s Yankee Springs, where family and friends would gather with instruments. Someone was playing something nearly every minute of the day, and Josh, Jake and Sam eagerly soaked it up. Josh describes their upbringing as “traditional, simple, American family life.”
Josh, in particular, also became engrossed in the film and literature aspects of their home environment, and has stated that film-making is his true passion. He loves to write, shoot, direct and edit videos. He has said that he has written more short films than songs and would be pursuing a career in film if he wasn’t currently singing in a band. Josh studied theater, film and painting at school, and also enjoyed acting. In fact, he starred in a few theater productions, including landing the leading role in Frankenmuth Community Players’ production of Willy Wonka in 2013.
Josh’s background in theater and acting (giving him an ease on stage) and his remarkable voice, made him a no-brainer to be Greta Van Fleet’s frontman. Josh spent a lot of time singing in the car with his brother Jake when younger and lending his voice when Jake would bring friends home to jam. His signature vocal style came out naturally while struggling to be heard over the band’s loud instruments when practicing in their garage. Josh lists Joe Cocker, Howlin Wolf, Dennis Russo, John Denver, and Wilson Pickett among his influences. He is also a big fan of world music.
In addition to providing the vocals for Greta Van Fleet, Josh is also the band’s primary lyricist. Josh mainly considers himself a writer, who loves to tell stories through song and film. He was inspired by the works of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, men who sought solitude and independence in nature. These themes of nature and peace appear in many of Greta Van Fleet’s songs.
“We’re just creating music that’s true and honorable to the things that we grew up on. We’re a bunch of young kids and we’re contemporary artists. It’s not classic rock, it’s progressive rock.” – The Ringer, October 2018
“While our friends were going to the movies on weekends, we were playing in biker bars.” – Kerrang!, October 2018
“There’s a challenge behind it that’s part of what makes it so enjoyable. It’s not that we ever set out to be famous or rich or whatever the hell – none of that stuff really mattered to us. What we wanted to do was write music that we wanted to hear and put it out in the world. Share ideas and spread the message of love and peace and unity.” – Classic Rock, February 2019
“Sometimes with a lot of those people who have that power in their voice it’s all about their attitude and their vocal prowess, but I’m mostly interested in creating something that’s melodic. That’s what gets me about music: when melody takes you somewhere and makes you feel something.” – NME, May 2019
-Authored by Michelle Dobbins