Getting to Know the Jubilant Josie Man
"Too many times as a child I was made to feel like the odd one out because I was different to the rest. But I don’t mind being the odd one out now."
In a world full of social conformity, we can't go a second in the day without something telling us what to look like or how to act. In the case of South London songstress Josie Man, she implores for us to celebrate our differences. With a soft-hued, kitsch and diamond dancing aesthetic, The deeply imaginative Josie sings about self-acceptance and most importantly, love. Well, she is a Pisces.
From going from her debut single 'Colours' premiering on Wonderland to having her first EP aLOVINGboothang released, we were given the opportunity to interview Josie so we can get to know a little bit more about this glittering gal.
When did you first realise that creating music was something you wanted to do? When I realised that making music was the clearest and best way of expressing my emotions and when I first experienced the amazing feeling I get when I sing!
What genre of music do you consider your work to be and what would you say you're most inspired by? I like to call music identity pop because my music represents my personality and me as a person. I’m inspired by anything that makes me feel happy, emotional or makes me wanna dance!
Having noticed ties with Chinese culture through your aesthetic and in the music video, tell us more about where you're from and what culture means to you. So, my parents met in South East London. My Mum’s a SE London lady and my Dad’s a Forest Hill boy from Hong Kong. So that makes my sisters and I half Chinese! I have a big family and I love having both sides. I love how I’ve been taught that family time is important. Even a simple a sit down meal together makes me feel content. My Chinese side feels a bit stronger because I’m surrounded by that side a bit more! Culture is important because it celebrates family and brings us together, and my culture is everything to me.
You’ve said before that your family and friends feature in the video and that your dad was in the dragon costume! How is family and friends important in your lifestyle? They are SO SO SO important! The most important. For me they are my safe place and I’m extremely lucky to have such a loving family - I know that I wouldn’t be me without them!
What was growing up like for you?
Growing up I was a very funny but odd child, but I’ve come to terms with that! I found it really hard to talk to people I didn’t know, I was so shy, but you couldn’t shut me up around the people I was comfortable around! I have learnt a lot as I’ve got older and one of the main things is to accept who I am and to not be embarrassed about where I’m from or about being different. Too many times as a child I was made to feel like the odd one out because I was different to the rest. But I don’t mind being the odd one out now, I celebrate my difference!
Your debut single ‘Colours’ released last year has been doing numbers! Tell us about the creative process for the music video?
It was so fun to make and I’d never been done anything like it before! I came up with the treatment myself and then the director helped to make it make sense! I wanted to show a glimpse of what the inside of brain looks likes at times, I guess. The dressing room scene is an exaggeration of people telling me how I should dress and me feeling uncomfortable and then skips to an imaginary place where we could all dress freely and openly without judgement. There’s an undertone of seriousness in the video, about how people don’t accept me for who I am, but I wanted the whole thing to be playful and not a dig!
In the dressing room scene, it also shows you changing clothes many times and you sing “Lately, I feel that people wanna change me” what would you say to someone who feels like an outcast because they don’t fit in with society’s version of ‘normal’?
Normal is boring; we weren’t born to be the same as everyone else. We are all individuals that deserve to feel free and happy within ourselves! You’re the only you!
If you wanted one thing for people to take away from your music what would it be? I want people to feel loved or to be loving because I LOVE love.
I had a look at your Spotify playlist ‘AGROOVYBOO’s BOPS’. Are these songs special to you in some way?
They are all songs that help me to relax and release any stress I might have! Music helps me feel my best, because I’m a bit of an over-thinker, and when you listen to a great song, it can transport you from outside yourself and change your mood.
Are you working on anything right now?
I’m in the studio working with some amazing people; working with people you respect and can call friends is the best thing ever.
Who would you love to collaborate with? I’d love to collaborate with Daniel Caesar one day… I know that’s me dreaming big but hopefully the universe has my back on this one!
Finally, what are your plans for 2020?
My plans for 2020 are to carry on making music, do more live shows, release even more music and just to continue being myself. I’m open to whatever life brings me!
Josie's new EP aLOVINGboothang is available to stream on all platforms now including singles 'Colours' and 'Baby Pink & Blue'. Instagram: agroovyboothang