An Interview with… Josephine


With the success of her critically lauded debut album Portrait – released late last year – 29 year old sensation Josephine found herself catapulted to fame thanks to her innovative fusion of soul, folk and indie pop. Ahead of her eagerly anticipated visit to Belfast this weekend, The Gown caught up with the rising star to chat inspirations, new sounds and ideal collaborations:

Firstly, can you tell us a bit about your sound?

My sound is a mix of folk and soul, a range and variety of influences that I sort of grew up with really. From Mowtown onwards.

Who’s been you key musical inspiration?

I don’t know if I’ve just one inspiration – just any song that I’ve listened to that’s had a good melody. I grew up in Manchester; I loved Oasis.

 Later on I got into more grunge, like Nirvana and Green Day, indie bands and stuff like that. But growing up I was influenced by folk, like Odetta and Dylan, Joni Mitchell. Then I really got into guitar.


Are there any current bands you’d recommend?

I’m listening to First Aid Kit, really lovely modern folk, Haim – I really like, I’m still waiting to hear their album. So, I’m into songwriters that are currently on the scene.

Would you say growing up in Manchester – a city with such a great musical heritage – has had an impact upon your current work?

I hope so, whether it’s a conscious thing or not. I think it has influenced me in terms of some of the guitar sounds, in what I do.

How did your musical career come about – when did it all begin?

I started really young. I started writing songs and poems when I was around nine, I got into a lot of guitar music and bands and asked my Mum for a guitar, she bought me one when I was twelve. And then it just went from there – I kept playing and kept learning new things.

Can you tell us a little about your current single, Portrait?

Portrait is a song about identity, about what we’re all influenced by, you know – music, TV, all these things, and what we’d be without that.

Do you feel the song marks a development, musically, from some of your previous work?

Certainly lyrically, in terms of identity, reflection, mass culture and things like that. And musically too – yeah, I’d say the influences come in and out. Because my influences are quite broad.

If you could collaborate with any act, who would it be?

I think someone like Haim would be good – their stuff is really great, just so modern and upbeat.

Outside of the sphere of music, do you derive inspiration from any other realms of art – whether that be literature, film, TV etc?

I’m a big reader. I watch a bit of TV but it tends to be when I switch off and veg. But I find that most of the time, when I’ve been inspired by a different genre, that’s come from a book, or something I’ve read in the paper you know. There are so many stories out there – it’s important to take note of them.

Finally, what’s in store in the coming months?

I’ve got a headline tour in April, I’ll be playing festivals all Summer… and then hopefully I’ll be working on a new album in the new year, getting some new music made!

Portrait is out now on Ark Recordings. Josephine plays Belfast’s Limelight this Saturday, April 13th.

Published by The Gown Queen's University Belfast

The Gown has provided respected, quality and independent student journalism from Queen's University, Belfast since its 1955 foundation, by Dr. Richard Herman. Having had an illustrious line of journalists and writers for almost 70 years, that proud history is extremely important to us. The Gown is consistent in its quest to seek and develop the talents of aspiring student writers.

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