Josie Dunne: Creating an Alternate World in Music, "Last Day" with Two Friends, & Pop Influences

Ezzah Rafique | Transcribed by: Isabel Elise | February 13, 2021

Born in Chicago and raised in Nashville, Josie Dunne sits down to talk to ORENDA MEDIA about the process of creating her new collaborative song, "Last Day," with Two Friends, what she learned from living in Nashville, how artists like Amy Winehouse and the Old-R&B Soul sound influence her.

Heavily inspired by Motown music, Stevie Wonder, and Ray Charles, Josie Dunne flawlessly creates a blend of Soul and Pop sound into her artistry. Although born in Chicago, Josie calls Nashville her home since she was 15 when she started taking regular trips to the song-writing city. Through her early experiences in Nashville, Josie learned how to write songs with Nashville songwriters. Recently, the pop singer worked with Los Angeles-based duo, Two Friends, on their new single, "Last Day."

HAZZE MEDIA Editor-in-Chief, Ezzah Rafique, sat down with Josie to talk to her about not only the creative process behind the song but also about creating a distinguishable sound in music, living in Nashville, influences, and performances.

E: How are you doing?

JD: I’m doing good! I’m doing good. I’m in Nashville. I live in Nashville, so I’m just, ya know, hanging here, writing. I just got done with whatever random like meetings and stuff and, uh, after this I’m probably gonna write a song.

E: Wow!

JD: That’s like the course of my day!

E: Yeah! I’ve been looking forward to doing this for a little bit. I love your energy and I love your vibes, so I’m really grateful that you’ve been able to take time out to do this.

JD: Thank you! Thank you.

E: I’ll jump right into it! I want to start off by asking, your vibe is primarily geared more towards pop, so, is there a particular goal that you had when you started music that you wanted to do pop, or did you like want to try out different genres?

JD: I think honestly I grew up listening to like a total range of music, but a lot of what my parents just like played around the house because they weren’t like music people. Like nobody in my family was like in the music industry or even was really a music nerd. They were just like normal people, so they just played what was on the radio at the time. You know, as I was growing up, which was like Britney Spears and NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, and Avril Lavigne, too!

E: Love her!

JD: And so I think, I’ve always found – yeah, love Avril Lavigne! I’ve always like I think because of that found a way to like I just ended up listening to music that was pop music. I think through pop I’ve discovered, and Top 40, I discovered like what I actually, the music that I really love. So like I think with my music it was more just like I wanted to make music that I liked and I think because I liked pop music it turned out poppy. But I think also living in Nashville, which is just such a songwriter town, like it’s so, it’s all about telling the story in the song. I feel like I’ve really had an appreciation for lyrics and storytelling. And so like, that also I feel like is a really big part of like – especially in the last, late teens early twenties, with my last EP, like that was really something that I wanted to focus on. It was like more of a story with lyrics and making sure that that was, you know, equally at the forefront of the songs, than the production.

E: Yeah so, primarily, your career is like in Nashville, right, so like is there a lesson you learned from being in the city? It’s a huge city, known for music and stuff. Is there like a lesson you pulled from the city itself?

JD: Oh my gosh, so, so many lessons like... honestly, a million different ways I could answer this because I feel like I’ve really like grown up in Nashville. Like I started coming down here and I got signed out of Nashville. When I was like really like 15 and 16, that’s when I started taking regular trips down to the city. So like I really learned how to write songs, through writing songs with Nashville songwriters, and like being in the city. So I think the biggest thing I would take out of it is being super authentic to who you are and being super like honest in the story telling. The lyrics really are at the forefront of all the songs here, you know, especially it being such a center for country music, where it’s all about the story. Um, I think that was like the biggest lesson I’ve taken out of living here is like just making sure the lyrics are super, super honest and, you know, you take time on the lyrics ‘cause that’s like to me, that’s the most important part of the song. So, yeah, I think that’s a big thing that the city has taught me.

E: Was there something different with your writing process, or creative process, especially like with COVID and stuff going on that you learned, that you did differently, [or] that you wished you did before?