Fresh off stage from her album launch party, I caught up with Josephine about her eight year wait to finally release her debut album Portrait.
You said during your set tonight that it was a huge relief to finally have your album released, has it been a long time coming?
“Yeah [laughs] incredibly long! I think most artists have this, especially on the first album, it takes the longest time, from when you start from performing, to gigs and then recording. I think from recording this album has taken me almost eight years – from when I first recorded the very first song until now.”
What has that journey been like?
“It’s been very up and down. I did lots of recording when I was in college and then I maybe had a year or two of not doing anything, not even doing any gigs, which was rare for me because most years I gig at least once a week. I got signed to Island records then I was dropped and that had been another set of recording. Which had to happen all over again when I got signed to my new label, so it has been very up and down. All of those factors have contributed to my first album taking so long.”
Have those experiences influenced the album?
“No not at all. Writing wise all those ideas have come from when I’ve been happy or content, I don’t generally write unless I’m happy. Especially being up in Manchester all this time recently, even though things have been up and down, it’s during that two year break when things were calm and chilled that most of my writing happened. I don’t think that the drama in the business sense affects my writing.”
Is there a particular track on the album that’s your personal favourite?
“Maybe ‘A Freak A’ not only to play but in subject matter and how it was recorded.”
You have quite a mixed bag of sounds and styles in the album. Was that a conscious choice to have those up tempo tracks alongside more soulful melodies?
“Absolutely, that’s definitely always been a part of my music. I’ve always wrote up tempo, but when you do start to play you always write a lot slower songs, and I think that comes from a lack of confidence and finding your feet musically. Slower stuff sounds better quicker. Now it gives me a lot of satisfaction to have those fast paced tracks beside slower ones, especially when performing them.”
Who has influenced you musically?
“I have loads of influences, I had a lot of West African influences growing up. I remember my mum listening to a lot of King Sunny Adè and I remember listening to things like Bob Marley and Yellowman. Then as I got older I got into grunge and indie - Nirvana, Green Day, the more American side of indie I suppose. Just lots and lots of quite random stuff.”
What do you have planned for the rest of the year?
“I have a tour coming up in November, and I’ll be promoting the album on radio, doing as much as I can to get the album out there and push it forward. At the beginning of next year I’m going on tour with Paloma Faith from January to February for 20 dates, and I just can’t wait. As an artist that’s what you wait for – a big date tour.”
Have you worked with Paloma before?
“No I haven’t, I haven’t even met her. It’s funny we’ve both worked with Ed Hardcourt, she spent a lot of time working with him, and yeah it seems our paths have crossed through other peels [sic] but we’ve never actually met. I’ve heard she is a treat so I’m actually really excited for when I do.”
You can see my review of Josephine’s gig here www.iammusic.tv/live-review-josephine. Her debut album Portrait is out now.
Written by ::: Arielle Free
Twitter ::: @ariellefree