Josephine Oniyama is a Manchester-based singer-songwriter who’s Jamaican and Liberian roots feature heavily in her songs, all of which cover a wide and varied array of genres, ranging from gospel and country to soul and pop.
At the age of 12 Josephine, (as she is now known), was bought a guitar by her mother and just three years later she was out playing gigs, naming her early influences as Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Bob Marley. These artist all had a very strong impact on her songwriting from the onset and speaking of these influences Josephine explained how, “I learned a lot from their story-telling techniques and the more complex rhythmical style they used, reggae taught me to feel the music and that writing a song could be different to the way I imagined before.”
There was no looking back after she began performing, her determined and obsessive desire to make music would soon see her her supporting the likes of Jimmy Cliff and Paolo Nutini, and this was before she had even left her teens.
In 2012 Josephine released her debut album ‘Portrait‘ which was produced by Leo Abrahams (one-time Brian Eno’s guitarist, and producer to Grace Jones and Nick Cave) and co-written by Jimmy Hogarth (Amy Winehouse, Estelle, Suzanne Vega), also featuring the help Ed Harcourt who accompanies her on the track ‘House of Mirrors’.
Brimming with originally and richness, Josephine’s debut was an album of self-reflection and soulful energy; as demonstrated in today’s song ‘Pepper Shaker’, one of the more vibrant and uplifting tracks on this great record. Listen above
Josephine has just featured on fellow Manchester-based artist Matthew Halsall’s new album which can be heard on my recent post here