Though Joshua Radin enjoyed singing during his childhood, the Cleveland native never intended to be a professional musician. Instead, he studied drawing and painting at Northwestern University, following his college years with stints as an art teacher, screenwriter, and art gallery employee. Eventually, Radin took a stab at songwriting and played one of his earliest compositions, "Winter," for his friend Zach Braff. The burgeoning actor/director took an immediate liking to the song, and "Winter" eventually found its way onto Braff's hit television show Scrubs in early 2004. After fans began to request more of his music, Radin decided to pursue a songwriting career and signed with Columbia Records, which issued his debut album, We Were Here, in 2006.
Radin relocated to Los Angeles and aligned himself with the Hotel Cafe, a unique Hollywood venue specializing in performances by singer/songwriters. He soon found himself playing national tour dates with a number of Hotel Cafe regulars, including Ingrid Michaelson, Sara Bareilles, and Meiko. Meanwhile, he issued a pair of digital EPs via iTunes while readying the release of his sophomore album, Simple Times, which arrived in late 2008. The album was released in the U.K. two years later. Meanwhile, Radin placated his American fans by issuing a short EP, Songs Under a Streetlight, and putting the finishing touches on The Rock and the Tide, which appeared in October 2010. In 2012, Radin returned with the album Underwater, featuring musical contributions from such musicians as pianist Benmont Tench (Tom Petty), drummer Jim Keltner (Bob Dylan), and others.