joesef


Enigmatic and paradoxical: that's Joesef – the 24-year-old musician from the "bit of a shit hole" East End of Glasgow who takes you by complete surprise. For him, fun generally involves "getting pissed with pals and having a laugh,” which kind of explains why he had his mind set on being a bartender before taking up music. He's also by no means the grunge, rock band-type that you might expect. His croon is tender, sexy and clean. His songs are packed with unflinchingly honest and impassioned lyrics and soul-warming, jazz-inspired lo-fi pop instrumentals, describing his sound as "sad boy music". And it is precisely this dichotomy that is his charm. vogue

His first three singles – all of which he wrote and produced – accurately depict the wonders, woes, the trials and tribulations of being in love. He wrote “Loverboy” after seeing his ex at a party for the first time – while “Limbo” details the all-too-relatable feeling of not knowing where you stand at the end of a relationship. "Like being in limbo – being in love and not being able to let go," he puts it. "The biggest head fuck there is.” As for the inspiration behind "Don't Give In"? “I started seeing this guy in January, but he was seeing his ex at the time. I felt like I was competing with his ex and that he was leading me on. Basically, it was like trying to make someone love you, but if they love someone else, it’s not going to happen – like losing a battle I was never meant to win. That was horrendous, but now it’s all good.” vogue

Joesef’s talent is in how he takes the retro splendour and swooning arrangements of soul, and makes it more relatable to people like him, conjuring verses about love (falling in and out of it, then finding it for yourself) in your early twenties, and a fascination with the characters that make up your community. Yet his voice – rugged and graceful – is the central character of the music, and he has previously been likened to James Blake. This is not a comparison that he has ever really welcomed, though: “I don’t really take all of that stuff seriously… but it’s better than being matched up to like, fucking Mr. Blobby!”.nme

Growing up listening to Al Green, The Cure and um... The Spice Girls, Joesef never thought he’d be a singer, or rather, that he could sing until he went to an open mic night with friends three years ago where, of course, he was “really drunk. Like blackout blackout pissed”. Singing “California Dreaming”, his friend and now manager (who, at the time, wanted to start his own management company) encouraged him that he could be a singer if he wanted to and that the two could do it together. Look what can come from a drunkenly agreed, "alright." vogue




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