Music theatre performer Josh Mulheran releases new single with band Gunning for Allie

Josh Mulheran and bandmate James Waters

Josh Mulheran’s passion for performing has underpinned his entire career.

From high school productions to studying at ED5 International in Sydney, performing was always the goal. Josh’s past credits include West Side Story (TPC), Ghost The Musical (Ambassador), Sideshow (Hayes Theatre Co.), Dusty (TPC), Book of Mormon (GFO), and Jersey Boys. 

Original music was always an area of interest, so in 2017 Josh sat down with friend James Waters and Gunning For Allie was born. Now, they’ve just released “Stay”, their first single off the upcoming EP Sleeping Alone, available for streaming on Apple Music and Spotify.

Can you tell me a bit about how Gunning for Allie started?

Josh: Gunning for Allie started off a side project that I wanted to do while I was doing the Book of Mormon in Melbourne back in 2017. It was a way to keep myself creatively stimulated on the 14-month residency. I’d been writing original music since high school and had started to put together a few songs while doing the show. Our first single ‘Braille’ was written about a friend of mine that was diagnosed with Brain Cancer and I wanted to put it out there as a dedication to her. People really resonated with the song and I was inspired to write the rest of the Everyday War EP. My best friend James and I had been in many bands together over the years and we’d keep writing together while I was in Melbourne and him in Brisbane. Our first EP was written long distance. But after the release of the EP, and with me moving back to Brisbane after Jersey Boys, we decided to keep writing songs and following a break-up of mine wrote and recorded ‘Stay’. In the beginning of 2020, before COVID, we moved in together and wrote and recorded our upcoming EP. It’s been such a crazy year, and waiting to release the songs has been a long time in the making. It is very exciting to finally be putting out new music. Unfortunately though, I’m currently in Perth with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and won’t get to celebrate the release with James!

What is the biggest difference between singing Music Theatre and pop music?

Josh: The biggest difference I would say lies in the creation and performance process. For theatre, when you’re on stage, live in front of an audience, you only got one chance to sing the song.  With pop music in the studio, you can literally song the song line by line, even words at a time, to find the write grove or sound to a lyric or a note. And that’s not even mentioning autotune. They’re both different skills however. With theatre you’re trying to replicate as close to a perfect performance as you can 8 shows a week. In the studio the difficulty is giving different options, or experimenting on the spot, to find that perfect moment. On the flip side, you mess up a note on stage, you get to fix it the next night. Once you leave the studio, that’s the song unless you go back and re-record. It such a weird experience listening to yourself, which most people will agree, so you also have to get used to hear your voice on a track and even listening to it a thousand times during the mixing phase. I will say, I love both for different reasons. But particularly for recording a pop song, you get to hear it slowly develop and go from being lyrics and melody in your head to fully fleshed song. I actually cried the first time I heard the finished studio demo of ‘Stay.’ After three days of straight recording, and singing, listening to a completely recorded track that you created yourself is a really special moment.

Josh (far left) with the Australian cast of The Book of Mormon

What is your song writing process like?

Josh: This is a pretty common question for song writers, and the answer really changes with the song! For most of the song, I’ll come up with a chord progression on the piano and then find a story that I want to write about. Then I’ll discover buzz words about the story and start to make these little branches of lines appear. Usually the chorus comes first. But that’s not even always the case! With ‘Stay’, I’d written the little chord change bounce around, and a completely different chorus progression. James, who does most of the music composition, took what I’d laid down on piano and build the rest of the instruments around it, and while I was at dinner not checking my phone completely change the rest of the track. Turned out for the better! Even the chorus we have now was rewritten melodically a few times. Sometimes inspiration comes out of nowhere. One of the songs on the EP we wrote in basically a night after James came up with a drum beat in the shower. That one I started with the verse lyrically, cause I instantly knew the story it was about. The overall way that I write songs though, is usually something happens to me or its about someone, and the song writing process is a cathartic way of dealing with it. I won’t lie, a lot of the songs on the EP are about break ups, which I happened to experience a few of while writing this. One man’s tragedy is the same man’s inspiration! But yeah, I’m very excited to share these songs and hopefully people resonate with the lyrics and maybe had a similar year. Also getting out of covid, we just need to have some good tunes to song along with.


You can stream Gunning for Allie’s music on iTunes and Spotify

Check out the Gunning for Allie Facebook Page for more information.

Gabi Bergman

Gabi Bergman is a Melbourne-based performer and educator. She holds a Double Arts degree in Theatre Studies and Film/Screen Studies and a Master of Teaching (Secondary Education). Gabi has always been an avid lover of theatre, specifically musicals, and spends way too much money than she’d like to admit on tickets. Her most prized possession is her crate of theatre programs.

Gabi Bergman

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