Since releasing her debut single “Old School,” Josie Dunne has already reached the top of the charts, as well as being featured on numerous top Spotify playlists. Her fanbase as continued to grow as she released her second single off of her first EP, To Be The Little Fish, in addition to releasing music videos. Dunne brings something to the music table that most musicians don’t today, a mixture of pop and Motown. She has had an immense amount of experience in the music world behind the scenes as well, including writing for artists such as Jacob Sartorious and and Grammy Award Winner, Kelly Clarkson. ECHO had the chance to sit down with Dunne when she played her first live concert with a band in NYC at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.
How old were you when you realized you wanted to make music a career?
I grew up in a really creative family, so I’ve always been around music, creativity and art. I didn’t actually realize that I could make it a career until I was in seventh grade, with my first show. I played at my Aunt’s barbecue party, that was the first time I kind of realized that this was something I could actually do since the people responded really well to it.
Do you have any musical influences?
My favorite artist is Amy Winehouse, she’s my favorite of all time. I grew up on a lot of music that really influenced her actually too that was Motown and R&B/Soul, such as Aretha Franklin, Etta James and Stevie Wonder are all kind of my main influences. I just the heart and the grit of it (R&B/Soul and Motown Music), so trying to make that into something that’s relevant again with my own music.
What’s it like being signed to Atlantic Records, where one of your influences is signed to?
SO COOL, it’s so cool… and Ray Charles too, he’s one of my favorites. It’s really cool, you walk in the building and there’s just a giant poster of Aretha and Ray right next to her and it’s kind of intimidating but really cool.
You released your EP earlier this year, do you have a favorite song off the EP?
The one that’s the most near and dear to my heart off the EP is “Old School,” that was the first song we wrote that made the EP, so the entire thing was centered around that song. The music video was really special to make, I got to go home to the house I grew up in and do it with my parents and tell their love story, so it was really cool. Just to have my first music video be with my parents and my family in my house and stuff, it was just the most comfortable you could be. It’s all around the town I grew up in, the church that we went to and my house and just up and down the streets, it’s really fun.
How would you describe your EP in a sentence?
To Be The Little Fish is a collection of songs about me, Josie Dunne, growing up that sonically is very influenced by modern pop and old 60’s Motown.
You just released the “Sunday Morning” music video with Matoma, what was filming that like and do you have a favorite scene?
Filming that was so funny, actually we were just north of New York City, so pretty close to where we are now. We were at the grungiest motel I have ever been to in my life. It was really cold, so I think the most memorable moment from the video shoot was the last scene, they made a fake rain station over the car and the motel and it was like 40 degrees, it was soooo freezing cold, and so I had to go out, get soaking wet in this cold rain and then run back, we had a van running, so I just sat in the van and shivered and would go back out and do it again. It was worth it! I could see it on the monitor and it looked so legit, I’ve never done anything that looked that legit and cool I thought.
The vocals are a little different in the music video, what made you guys think to change up the vocals in the music video?
After it came out, Matoma, Tom is his name, and I got together in Nashville and we did an acoustic version of the song, we made a video that was just a live acoustic version with a gospel choir in a church. A light bulb went off in his head and he said that we should put a choir in the background of the actual track, we both fell in love with so much that we just put it in the track then re-released it to kind of make it a special new thing and give it a new life.
What’s your favorite thing about waking up and realizing that it’s a “Sunday Morning?”
Sleeping in. I’m not an early bird at all, so I will just stay asleep until 11 and lay in bed and be on Instagram, classic millennial thing to do.
You’ve been on tour a little bit too, do you have a favorite memory from the shows you’ve done this year?
The Monday before Thanksgiving, I played a show in Chicago and just that being a home town crowd, that’s where all my family is and all my friends that I grew up with and my cousins, so that was really fun because it’s people singing back to you and dancing along. Every time I play in Chicago it’s so memorable and that time specifically. Other than the hometown show, which I’m obviously biased towards, it’s just been cool to go to all these different cities that I’ve never been and never knew I would go, all these different places, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, wherever it is across the country and seeing people singing along and I’ve never been there before, it’s been so surreal, there’s no words for how cool it is.
As 2019 approaches, do you have any goals for the new year?
I want to be touring more. I’m hoping to get back on the road and hopefully bring a band, or even if it’s just me and my guitar, just getting to sing in front of people has been the coolest thing of the last year, so I want to keep that up. Additionally coming out with new music, I’m so excited about what I’m writing right now. I’m really amped to start getting it out there and doing videos and the whole thing.
What’s some advice you would give to songwriters and musicians trying to make it in the music industry.
For me I think the most important thing that I’ve ever done for my music was taking three years of development and just wrote every single day until I felt like I knew myself enough to put music out there that I knew I would love and then also that I had songs that I felt really proud of and would be proud of long term. That was just so valuable, for somebody who is just starting out, I would say just write, write, write, write and write and do some real soul searching because that has been the biggest thing for me, everything has to be authentic, it has to be me if I put it out and so to know for sure when I put something out there, even if it’s just an Instagram post or whatever, it has my thumb print on it.
Dunne has a few more shows this year in Pittsburgh, PA, Atlantic City, NJ and Kim Thorpe, PA opening for the band O.A.R.. You can purchase tickets to the shows here!