He has the voice of an angel and the lifestyle of a party animal but sensational singer Joesef’s beginning to realise that his most priceless asset is his voice. So the self-confessed ‘party boy’ might be putting the skids on all nighters and switching to some classical music and gym gear to tone down his party lifetsyle and tone his body and mind instead. Susie Daniels finds out more…
Having to hide your music award in case your mates lob it out of a window might be very rock and roll but Scottish singer Joesef says he’s more of a Motown fan at heart. The young, soulful artist from Glasgow’s East End has the voice of an angel reminiscent of Sam Smith and in his other songs of chillax soulstress Erykah Badu. He thanks his mum wholeheartedly for the influence…though he’d never say so at an awards ceremony!
Joesef says: “My music influence is mostly thanks to my mum. You soak up what you listen to. She played Al Green, the Mamas and Papas, and Aretha Franklin in the house. Big harmonies and big soul sounds. I was obsessed with playing music when I was growing up. I had an insatiable thirst for music. I liked Britney Spears amazing pop songs and I listened to The Cure. I listened to jazz too. Musicians like Chet Baker.
“I like very Motown sounds. Sad lyrics but an upbeat tempo.(laughs) If my mum had been into heavy metal I would have probably been into that instead!”
Joesef showcased his songs on BBC introducing last year and by the end of the year he’d won Best Breakthrough Award at the Scottish Music Awards.
He says: “I thanked my manager. If it’d never been for him it would never have happened. I wouldn’t thank my mum in front of everyone, that’s just too much. I wouldn’t want to be like, ‘thanks mum’.(laughs) I keep my award hidden, not on a shelf in my house. I’m scared if I had a party my mates would throw it out of the window!”
Joesef acknowledges that most listeners who turn up to hear him sing are surprised at first by the sound he produces in contrast to the way he looks or speaks.
“People say I look working class,” he smiles. “They accept me, though when they first hear me speak on stage before I sing they think, ‘who the f*ck is that c*nt?”’
The 25-year-old has been living by himself for a few years after his mum was ‘buggin me to get the f*ck out the door,’ he laughs.
“I couldnae stay with my mum again. Her house is too clean. She was like, ‘you cannae get anything on the couch, no crumbs on the bed…’I’m enjoying my own space, having parties and boozing. I’m just a young guy. I don’t drink as much as some. It’s not as if I’m doing it excessively. It’s part of our culture though this year I’ve been more conscious of what I’m doing. If you go out drinking it affects your voice. The anxiety that comes with a hangover is just too much. I don’t want to f*ck it up for myself. I’ve been going to the gym lately to keep fit. I like listening to classical music too. It’s very calming listening to sleep ones like Debussy. Nothing mental, just very minimal.” The self-confessed uni drop-out says he wasn’t taking life too seriously up until last year.
He say: “I was messing about working in a bar. I was quite academic at school. I went to college to do Sound Engineering but dropped out after a couple of months. I did Marketing at university for six months but hated it and dropped out. The only thing I’ve ever loved is music. Nobody where I live, in my scheme, does music. I sang in school a wee bit but only ‘cos I didn’t play any instruments and I wanted to go on a school trip. The pupils studying music were doing that so I thought, ‘I’ll sing and get on that trip’. They were all very encouraging at school about my singing but I didn’t bother.”
Due to lockdown, Joesef’s May gig has been postponed.