By Kelly Baughman
Most people spend a lifetime trying to chase their dreams. Josh Brown has lived his dream several times already in his short lifetime. A former boy band member, loving husband and father, and believer in the simple things, Brown has turned his love of living life to the fullest on the Gulf Coast into a captivating new television show that showcases all the reasons that the ‘Beachbilly Lifestyle’ is where it’s at.
Brown was born and raised in Livingston Parish outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and moved to Lillian, Alabama at the age of 18. From there he attended the University of Mobile where he met up with a group of guys who all liked to sing. “We were poor college kids and we saw this talent show where you could win some money. So we formed a boy band and entered. It was so cheesy. We had matching outfits and dance moves, but the next thing we knew, we won,” Brown said.
The entertainment director of the Mobile Civic Center and the Beau Rivage was on hand that evening and approached the group about singing the National Anthem for the semi-pro hockey team in Mobile. “We began doing it regularly, and ended up at the Beau Rivage doing a barbershop quartet around Christmas time. The next thing we knew, we met a guy from Columbia Records who was starting a new label called Revue Records. The next week, we were all on a plane to New York City,” Brown said.
Brown and his buddies signed what he called a “horrible contract”, and the boy band ‘Real Soul’ was born. “We got to see and do things that most people only dream of. I remember driving down the road and our song came on the radio. I almost wrecked. It was so exciting,” Brown said.
But the bright lights and the spotlight didn’t last forever. “For a while everyone wanted to be around us. My phone was always ringing. Everyone wanted to be my friend. When we got dropped from our label, I went from living the high life to coming back home to a little country town where I had left a lot of good friends behind. I had to apologize to real friends that I had neglected, and I had to mend a lot of friendships. I realized, when you don’t have a coattail to ride anymore, people will forget about you in a second,” he said.
Vowing never to do anything in the entertainment industry again, Brown became the youth director at local churches spending his life giving back to others. Brown said it was the passing of his mother that truly made him understand the meaning of what is important in life.
“Tons of people came to her funeral, and no one spoke about the house she lived in or the car she drove. They spoke about what a good heart she had and all that she gave to others. When someone in their family was sick, she cooked them dinner every night. If someone’s car broke down, she and my dad paid for it. I looked at my own life and I was working way too hard to pay for a life of material things, so I decided to make a change,” he recalled.
Brown and his wife made the decision to sell their Perdido Key home and buy a piece of land in Lillian. There, they simplified their life, going as far as planting their own food and living off the grid for a while. What they found was a closeness within their family they had never known and a love for the simple pleasures in life that were rewarding beyond measure.
Brown and his family started making videos following their way of life. “A neighbor of mine came out while we were clearing some land on our property and said, ‘Man, I like what y’all are doing over here. You’re living like a bunch of hillbillies at the beach.’ I liked that concept, and with that, the Beachbilly Lifestyle brand was born,” Brown recalled.
Brown connected with Chantry Holdman from Kwad Dojo Drones who captures amazing aerial footage, and together they began filming the Beachbilly Lifestyle TV show. “We feature all things that make the Gulf Coast great. Fishing, hunting, local food, and activities that we ‘Beachbilly’s’ do on a daily basis and share that with the rest of the world. We are trying to show what makes this area and this way of life great,” he said.
Brown said in an upcoming episode, Chef Buzz Valadao and The Point Restaurant will be featured as they visit the local Steve’s catfish farm and allow Chef Buzz to prepare a meal fit for a Beachbilly. In the future, Brown hopes to start the Beachbilly Lifestyle Festival where those who identify as “beachbilly” or those who are just curious about what being a Beachbilly means can come and celebrate all the things that make the people on the Gulf Coast unique.
The Beachbilly Lifestyle Show airs in Baton Rouge, Green County, Mississippi, the Big Bend of Florida, Tallahassee, Panama City, South Georgia, and WFGX in Pensacola. Weekly, over 4 million viewers tune in to the show on Saturday mornings at 8 am.
When asked if he hopes the show becomes a mainstream hit on a major network channel, Brown said, “Only if they were to keep it unscripted and true to the message of what we are doing. I’ve had some interest from certain networks, but it hasn’t been right,” he said.
Remaining true to himself, his family, and the Beachbilly Lifestyle is what Brown continues to do every day. His growing popularity has set him back on the path to stardom in an industry that he knows all too well, but fortunately Brown isn’t taking that too seriously.
“I just want to continue raising my boys and love my wife while enjoying each day in the paradise we are lucky enough to call home,” Brown said.
For more information on Brown or the Beachbilly Lifestyle show, visit www.beachbillylifestyle.com. 10% of all proceeds from Beachbilly Lifestyle merchandise goes to local children in crisis.