Plus, listen to her debut EP, out today!
These days, most young singers start out by posting covers on social media, hoping to build a fan base and eventually, land their first record deal. But when Josie Dunne picked up her phone, it wasn’t to upload a video to Instagram. “In seventh grade, I started calling local bars and restaurants to see if I could play there,” she says.
And so throughout middle school and high school, Josie played weekly shows, performing covers in the suburbs of Chicago, mostly working for tips. “If they paid me, it was amazing!” she laughs. At 16, she met with a record label in Nashville that encouraged her to start songwriting. “I just kind of sat down and decided, ‘All right. I’m gonna write really, really bad songs right now. The melody can be terrible and the lyrics can be cheesy, but I’m just gonna finish a song.’ By the time I was done with that, I got over the fear of it not being good enough. And once I’d written the first song, it was like the rest just fell out.” And Josie fell in – love with songwriting, that is. At her next meeting, she presented an entire notebook of songs to the label and scored her first major deal.
Josie also found a fan in Jacob Sartorius, who recorded her song, “Chapstick” and released it last year. “He heard the song randomly and fell in love with it,” she says. “It was supposed to be on my EP, but I was like, ‘If you’re gonna love it and play it every show, go for it!’” A few months ago, Josie got to hear him perform it live, with hundreds of fans singing along, when the Last Text tour hit Nashville. “I get chills just thinking about it,” she says.
But now, Josie’s taking center stage, with her debut EP, TO BE THE LITTLE FISH, out today. The tracks are fun and fresh, just like Josie. “The darker songs never made as much sense to me,” she explains. “I focus on the things I know, like growing up in the suburbs or my parents’ love story, which was the inspiration behind ‘Old School.’ Right now, it’s cool not to care or be too cool for school, but it’s okay to be yourself. Don’t be afraid of that.”
Listen to Josie’s debut EP on Spotify now!