As soon as you hear Josephine Oniyama’s voice it will remind you of other voices. She’s been likened to Mahalia Jackson, a compliment of massive proportions that misses the point, which is that one day you’ll hear a tune on the radio and you’ll go ‘Ah, that’s Josephine’, in the same way you’d recognise an Adele vocal or an Amy Winehouse vocal. Some voices are strong enough to stand by themselves, familiar, but also unique and that’s Josephine’s strength, the thing that will set her aside from the others. She could sing with a beer bottle percussion and still kill it.
Hailing from Manchester, Josephine drew on the musical heritage of her home town and her Liberian/Jamaican family home, listening to the likes of Fela Kuti, King Sunny Ade and Bob Marley, to influence her song writing. She’s been working with Ed Harcourt and Leo Abrahams and has supported Paulo Nuttini, Jimmy Cliff and Micheal Kiwanuka on tour. Among her admirers is Elbow’s Guy Garvey, who said ‘She’s remarkable. An old soul singer in a beautiful girl’
‘What A Day’ starts with a ‘Break On Through’ bassline, then takes the melody from The Smiths ‘Girl Afraid’ and takes us on a proper summery jaunt. Enjoy
Josephine – What A Day
‘What A Day’ is released on August 20th and there’s an album, Portrait, due out on October 8th.