Most days, it seems like the world is on fire; each day characterized by divisive insults, bad news, and the latest in an ongoing pandemic. But Josie Man doesn’t seem to exist in a world like that. Hers is one of kind words and fairy lights, of sweetness and laughter – the kind of freedom you feel when you roll the windows all the way down and blast the car stereo as loud as it will go. A sharp juxtaposition to the darkness surrounding her, Josie Man is the light the industry has been missing, and if you listen closely, you can feel the warmth through her music.
After releasing her first single “Colours” in November of last year, the London-based singer started gaining traction for her sparkling sound and authentic lyrics. Her newest single, “Grow,” has the same kind of upbeat, dreamy feel, allowing listeners a glimpse into the Josie Man universe in all its glory. The new music video only builds upon Man’s otherworldly nature, featuring her signature platform shoes lifting off the ground and soaring into a holographic sky. It’s a place many of us would love to escape to, and her songs promise to take you there. To get to know more about Josie Man and her latest work, we covered everything from tattoos and Bratz dolls to homesickness and remembering to breathe. Read more about Man down below, and keep your eyes peeled for new music coming soon, including a single about being in love.
When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
“I think I wanted to be on TV or something. Like EastEnders or something, it’s like this English soap-show … but I’m really glad that I’m not, I’m really not a good actor.”
What’s the best way to listen to a new album?
“Oooh, in the car, really really really loud!”
What’s been the proudest moment of your career so far?
“I think releasing my first song “Colors,” because I had never released anything, and I thought that literally two people would listen to it, so I think releasing my first song was a proud moment.
What are some of your favorite lyrics you’ve ever written?
“I think ‘Can you be in love and still be free?’ is one of them, and ‘Nothing ever grows without me.’”
How do you find new music?
“Either my sisters, or like, you know Spotify? The discover thing … I love listening through that when I’ve got nothing to listen to, just to see what’s new. And YouTube!”
What’s something you did even though it scared you?
“Wear my big, clunky shoes out. People around here are really like, ‘Oh, what is that?’ so when I used to wear them when I was younger, I used to get really nervous to wear them, and now I’m just like ‘Yeah!’
And now they’re like the trendiest thing…
“I know! When I used to wear them, [people would] be like ‘What are they?!’ and now they’re wearing them, like ‘YES, you get it!’”
What’s the best way to get over someone?
“Ooh, I think spend time with your friends. Just for a laugh … laughing is like the best thing ever, because before you know it, you’re like ‘Oh, it doesn’t matter, I’m having a laugh.’”
What other artist would you choose for your dream collab?
“I think Jhené Aiko…yeah, I love her.”
What’s something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t yet?
“I would love to go to India one day — I was saying that last night. I like going traveling all around the world, especially because I haven’t been away for so long because of COVID, it’s making me want to travel just anywhere.”
Oh, do you travel often?
“I used to before COVID, yeah, at least twice or three times a year with my family and stuff, but yeah, we didn’t get to go this year, but it’s not the worst thing in the world.”
What personality trait do you most admire in someone else?
“Like really loving and caring for other people — not to the point where they put you first, but to the point where they really want to make you feel comfortable.”
When you get homesick, what do you miss the most?
“I think because I live in a large household, I miss all the noise and hearing my family. That’s the thing I miss the most.”
How do you stop caring about what other people think?
“It just got to a point where it’s like, I’m really happy with what I’m doing, so why should I let other people make me feel bad about myself? I was just like, ‘Do you know what? We literally live once.’ What’s the point in hiding and shying away from things? I’m just going to do it before it’s too late! There’s no point in hiding away … be who you are.”
What’s a song you have to sing at the top of your lungs?
“’Irreplaceable’ by Beyoncé.”
Where do you go when you need to be alone?
“So I’ve got a tiny little studio in my back garden and it’s soundproof, so I go in there, and I just listen to music really loud and I dance around, and I’ve got fairy lights on so it’s nice and dark and cozy.”
When do you feel most beautiful?
“When I’m fresh out of the shower, got my clothes on, I love my jewelry, that’s when I feel my best. Especially my jewelry, because I feel like that’s my makeup — it tops it off for me.”
Let me know if you have any recommendations!
“Oh, I will! Have you heard of Etsy? You can get loads of good stuff from there.”
What’s one thing you want your fans to know?
“That you are enough the way you are. I want everyone to know that. I think that’s when you really start to feel good about yourself is when you’re like, ‘Yeah, I’m enough! It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.’”
Who are your biggest fashion inspirations?
“Do you know, there’s this little girl called Coco on Instagram? She’s like a baby, she dresses really well. And like Bratz dolls and dolls, I think I get my fashion inspiration from dolls, not real people, because they’ve got such cute little outfits.”
What’s the best way to celebrate when something good happens?
“Again, I think it’s just like being with people you love and just … laughing and cuddling and stuff like that, because I’m not really a drinker, so I find my celebration in being around people that I love.”
Do you know what you want your next tattoo to be?
“Yeah, so I’m going to get a big dragon piece on my back, like my whole entire back.”
What have you been doing to stay happy during the pandemic?
“I’ve been doing lots of writing, and deep breathing is something that I’ve learned is very, very important. I didn’t realize that when you deep breathe, it actually calms down your whole body and puts you into another state, and so when I’ve been panicking and stuff I’ve been really trying to take deep breaths to help it. Also dancing and just moving my body.”
BONUS QUESTION: How do you dance when no one’s watching?
“Oh my god, sometimes I pretend I’m on a stage and I’m just dancing. I just love dancing to loud music, it makes me feel so free and happy. It’s literally my favorite thing to do.”
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photos / Courtesy of Artist
story / Chandler Plante