By Alexandra White & Hanna Babek – 1851 Contributors
If you have been to an event on-campus this year, you have probably heard of Joshua Sweet. Whether he is performing the national anthem at a sports game or the Her Campus Halloween event, Joshua Sweet is always singing.
Junior communications major Joshua Varghese, also known as Joshua Sweet, always knew he wanted to be a musician. Growing up, he listened to artists like Michael Jackson and became inspired to start his music career. “I wanted it so bad. All I wanted to do was be a singer, that’s all I could see myself doing.” By the time Varghese was in the seventh grade, he was playing the drums and had already written his first song.
Varghese wrote all of his songs and was inspired by his brother Miskreet, to start recording them. He released his first song his junior year of high school called “Freak” under the name Joshua Johnson. “I told myself that if you don’t do it, you’re never going to do it. If you don’t step on it, it’s never going to be done.”
Joshua Johnson quickly changed to Joshua Sweet early in his music career. “Someone specifically said ‘you’re just too sweet’ and I thought to myself ‘Joshua Sweet’ I like that, I wouldn’t mind being called that forever. I’ll show everyone who’s too sweet.”
In his hometown of Lexington, the release of “Freak” helped establish Varghese in the Boston music scene. When he came to Lasell, he started performing for small groups and eventually landed his first official gig on campus last year for “Take Back The Night.” This led to a collaboration with studio1851 that included merchandise and a performance in the Arnow Quad.
Varghese’s team of friends also includes junior marketing and entrepreneurship major Ryan Barr, who developed the Joshua Sweet website and handles merch sales, accounting, and equipment. “He needs a foundation so when he starts growing he’s prepared.”
Barr also suggested Varghese cut his hair live during his Halloween performance in October. Varghese says he had always wanted to donate his hair. “That’s why I grew out my hair in the first place. I wanted to donate it to children with cancer. That was my goal since I was 18 or 19 when I started growing it.”
Although most students know Joshua Sweet as the campus’ resident musician, his friends say he’s much more than that. Junior criminal justice major Sanuj Arora says, “he’s a great person to be around and he cares about you so much.”
Sophomore event management major Shawanna Watson, Varghese’s friend and assistant, agrees with Arora, “Josh is very giving, he will do anything for anyone and doesn’t really ask for anything in return.” She describes a surprise birthday party that she and some friends threw for the musician, who choked up at the sight of his friends who gathered to celebrate.
The planning needed to put on these performances goes beyond Varghese himself. As Varghese’s assistant, Watson handles bookings for music videos and studio time, as well as collaborations with student-run clubs who reach out in hopes of booking Varghese at one of their events.
Varghese is grateful for the encouragement he has received from the Lasell community. “I think that people at Lasell really support me and my music. It means everything to me to have their support.”
Professor Sharyn Lowenstein, who taught Varghese last spring, recognizes his thoughtfulness and appreciative personality both in and outside of the classroom. Noting his growth throughout the past year, she says, “Somebody like Josh finds his way. He’s not afraid to do something that maybe other people wouldn’t do in his position…he’s willing to sit with uncertainty, which is a fabulous thing.”
Lowenstein believes Varghese will continue to thrive during his final years in school, stating, “He’ll find what he needs at Lasell.”
She reflects on what his future will hold, saying, “I see him as somebody who’s going to go very far, whatever that may mean, and he has to figure out what success means to him. I think that’s something that he’s going to have to figure out. And once he does figure that out, he’s going to be marvelous.”
Joshua Sweet has an upcoming show on December 17 at The Jungle in Somerville. Alongside the show, Watson says there will be a new song released by the end of the year, and a music video in January.