Tell us about your career, including your history, where you are from and how you started?
I am first generation Canadian, born and raised in Brampton, ON. I moved to Windsor just over 10 years ago and still reside here.
I’ve been involved with music for as long as I can remember. I started piano and vocal at an early age and continued in an on and off manner into my teenage years. I sang in school choirs whenever I had the opportunity and learned other instruments such as trumpet and clarinet by getting involved with my school bands.
Even though I compose all my songs on my acoustic guitar, I didn’t pick one up until my senior year of university. Interestingly, it was my now husband, Jim Murphy, who taught me how to play! Music was always a hobby of mine. I enjoyed going to karaoke joints around town to perform for friends and family. But it wasn’t until the pandemic that I started to write music. With the lockdown, I was dealing with a lot of anxiety and depression and writing helped to get those feeling out.
I would perform the songs I had written while live streaming and they were received well but it took one final push to really get me to put myself out there and that was the death of my grandfather. His passing made me realize how short life is and to really go after whatever it was, I was passionate about; that thing for me is music. So here I am, finally pursuing a lifelong passion and turning it into something real that I can share with the world.
How did you come up with your stage name?
My stage name is just my first and middle name. I opted to omit my surname because it’s very generic whereas Josie Elysia is unique, memorable and a little flashy! Just Google it, how many different Josie Elysia’s come up?! I bet the whole first page is me at various stages in my career from a bunch of different sites. That kind of uniqueness is what I was going for when I chose my name.
Do you have any recorded music available for fans?
Yes! I have solo music out and a few songs that I feature on. Currently I have two recorded singles available on all major music streaming platforms, Out of My Head and The Cave.
The songs I’ve done with Solomon’s Architects, “Whisper & Wishes” and “Take Me Home” as well as background vocals for Heidi Richards’ on her debut song “Everyday” are also available on the very same streaming platforms.
For fans looking for more raw stuff, I do post short clips singing and playing my guitar to my Instagram and YouTube! You can also find guitar chords for all my songs on Ultimate Guitar Tab.
How would you describe your music?
I would describe my music as evocative, edgy, and melodic. My go-to style tends to encompass pairing heavy guitar riffs with crooning soprano vocals and thought-provoking lyrics.
What makes your band or music stand out from the others?
What makes my music stand out from others is the sound. The instrumentation is reminiscent of the early aught rock bands, the storytelling lyrical style is like the emo bands from the 2010s and the vocals are more like something you’d hear in a pop song. The blend of the three together is what makes my sound unique to me!
What do you like to do outside of music that contributes to your music?
I really enjoy listening to podcasts about the occult, high strangeness, and mind-altering experiences. My favorite podcast would have to be Mysterious Universe. It really opens me up to thinking about things that would have never crossed my mind. In fact, one of the songs that I am currently working on was inspired by a show they did on Ayahuasca.
I’m inspired by my day-to-day life as a wife and mother. I write songs about the people around me because I find even the simplest actions can serve as inspiration for a song!
Name your two biggest musical influences, and why?
Two of my biggest musical influences would have to be Fefe Dobson and Heidi Richards.
The entire reason I grew up with a penchant for music was because of Heidi Richards, my mum. From an early age, she stressed the importance of developing skills in the performance arts. As a singer/ songwriter herself, she ensured that I was able to read music, play music, sing music and compose music. Without her influence, I don’t think my love for music would be what it is today. She introduced me to so many of my favorite bands and made sure that I saw musicians from all different genres and backgrounds whenever time allotted.
This brings me to vivid memory of a Canada Day celebration at Chinguacousy Park that I attended with my mum. It was the first time I saw Fefe Dobson perform. Fefe rocked the stage singing her own songs and covering Crimson & Clover.
Before her I had never seen another woman of colour in the rock music scene. Plus, she was Canadian and from the GTA just like me! We talk a lot about representation now, but back then, it wasn’t really a conversation topic that was out there in the media. But seeing someone that looked like me in a space that I wanted to be a part of made me feel like I could belong there.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs?
I write pretty much all my own music! That is asides from the melody line for an upcoming release, Material Condition, which was written in part by my husband.
As a singer/ songwriter my songs are an outlet for my innermost thoughts and emotions. I like to think of songwriting as a kind of catharsis. I can take pent up emotions and feelings that I tend to bury and release out into the world in a creative way. This also explains why my songs tend to be angsty and written in the first person.
I also like to use song writing to explore concepts I’m fascinated by. My latest release, The Cave was based on my love of ancient Greek philosopher Plato and his allegory of the cave. As a student of philosophy, I always thought that if the readings were more accessible, more people would be drawn into the concepts and ideas because they’re very cool!
The Matrix takes this allegory and expands on it, but I had never seen someone sing about it, so I decided to. The idea that we could be living in a false reality is something I find so neat. I’ll be delving into that concept and other philosophical ones more in future songs.
What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
My biggest challenge so far has been time. It is my worst enemy. Often, I find myself at a loss for time, there just isn’t enough of it in a day to get around to and do all the many things I want to! What I find helps is setting a scheduling and planning out exactly what I want to get done and prioritizing things from most important to least important. This takes time; counterintuitive, I know, but it does help, I swear! When I’m unable to get something done, it’s usually so far down on my priority list it doesn’t matter as much. So, I don’t have to stress about it getting pushed back. I do kind of wish I had superpowers, though, because I would freeze time for hours, maybe even days at a time just to get everything done!
What current projects are you working on at the moment?
Currently, I am working on releasing more original music and a few covers! I’ve teamed up with a local musician to put together a more Americana sounding rock song which will be released this summer. As for the covers, I’m delving a little bit into my past and pulling out some old favorites! The covers will be a bit of a divergence from my usual rock sound, but I like to keep things fun and interesting and I think you all will enjoy it too! Especially when the waves of nostalgia hit you!