EQUATE Meets: Josie Proto
EQ: How was the recording process for the EP? Was it years in the making or was it a rather short process?
JP: Some of the songs in the EP are 4 years old! The songs were written at all completely different stages in my life, but the versions on the EP were all produced within months. Following the success of ‘BTEC Lily Allen’ on TikTok, we wanted to get music out as quickly as possible, so we produced the songs quite quickly after that. It was amazing seeing songs that I had performed for years with just my guitar, come to life in such a fun and interesting way. It taught me a lot about production and writing with/without other instruments.
EQ: When writing songs, what is your creative process like?
JP: I used to write most of my songs with the lyrics first but as I started to write with other people, I realised that this was quite a strange way to do it, and I learnt to work with the music first. I change my writing process depending on the song I’m writing, who I’m writing the song with and what sort of mood I’m in. Sometimes I will have come up with a cool chord progression or with a cool melody and the rest of the lyrics come later.
EQ:…and do you base your songs on real-life events?
JP: Some of my songs are based on true life events. They all are based loosely on honest scenarios or something related to my life. I try to write as personally as possible but there is always a degree of poetic licence. I have to hide some of my songs from people I know for a while before I show them, so I can prepare myself for the moment when they realise it was inspired by them!
EQ: You’ve already gained major attention for your songs in the past thanks to your unique approach to music and your witty songs. Do you think that you’ve definitely found your signature sound now?
Not a chance! I LOVE the style of PUB SONGS, but even the music that I am working on next has taken a massive leap in a different direction. I think I would be silly to say I have found my sound, but I do think that the style of lyrics and delivery stays similar in most of my songs. I’m excited to experiment and see what other people think of the songs that I am hopefully going to release very soon!
EQ: Let me just say, I love the title ‘Pub Songs’. How did you come up with that name?
JP: ‘Your songs will only ever be played in pubs’ was one of the many comments that inspired ‘BTEC Lily Allen’. The titles changed last minute because I came up with this while having a conversation with my mother about how ironic it was that BTEC would now be played in pubs and everywhere else! I guess it was just another middle finger to those that thought I couldn’t do it.
EQ:…So, I assume we will be getting a Volume 2 at some point as well?
JP: There is definitely going to be more music very soon! As to whether it will be named volume 2 or not, that another conversation. Maybe the name as served its purpose. But we will see!
EQ: Loving your music videos as well! Especially the visuals for Sliced Bread are hilarious. Are you directing them yourself? How do you usually come up with all the ideas?
JP: I filmed/directed/edited Wales, Burner and 3 Words. Sliced Bread was a joint effort from an incredible team that worked with me to produce my vision. We had so much fun on the set of the shoot. I was giggling constantly and they had to redo so many shots because I was laughing at myself!
Stream ‘PUB SONGS – Volume 1’HERE
Follow Josie on socials
Get To Know: Josie Proto
In her signature confrontational fashion, Josie Proto's 'I Just Wanna Walk Home' was born from her frustration towards the extreme measures women in the world feel they need to take in order to simply get home safely. With Josie’s frank statements about the fear women feel remaining front and centre across a soft acoustic backing, the song further typifies her innate ability to connect with the world around her and curate commentative, heartfelt music.
Josie tells us all about the track, zooming with Annie Mac, losing her s**t in front of Maisie Peters and more in this week's Get To Know...
1) For those who don’t know about you and your music, tell us a little bit about who you are and where you’re from…
Hellooo! My name is Josie Proto, I’m a singer-songwriter from a tiny, tiny village in the middle of nowhere, somewhere near Brighton although that will probably annoy the try Brightonians! I started writing songs when I was around 14, debuting them to my local pub and gigging around Sussex.
2) Who/what inspired you to start a career in music?
I’m totally that girl that picked up guitar lessons to impress the boys. I used to have a wild imagination and write stories and poems as a kid, and the two merged when my uncle gave me a CD full of Carole King’s greatest hits which I totally fell in love with. I fell into the music industry by accident really. In my last year of college I had managed to get myself in the room with some amazing songwriters and ended up with such poor attendance at college that I flunked all my classes. I knew I didn’t want to go to University so I threw myself into music and it’s worked out so far!
3) Who are your biggest musical influences?
Carole King most definitely, but my parents brought me up with a fantastic appreciation for all kinds of music! I love music that has a strong message/storyline which I think is evident from writing. I’m a secret musical theatre nerd because it’s definitely not cool but I will always be a fan of the way music tells stories.
4) Tell us about the writing and recording process of your new release…
The latest release was born out of our frustration with the narrative surrounding the issue in question. It came from a rant about how I felt as though women’s feelings weren’t being taken as a legitimate reason as to why things needed to change. The reality, is that I and other women feel unsafe on our streets and that should be a good enough reason for the powers that be to listen and make a positive difference. The song is everything I wanted to say. The juxtaposition of the happy guitar behind the serious message was a conscious decision to make the listener feel uncomfortable.
5) What has been your biggest career highlight so far?
It’s totally got to be when Annie Mac picked ‘I Just Wanna Walk Home’ as hottest record in the world and ZOOMED ME! What a dream come true, she was absolutely lovely, and so cool and made me feel super special and we had such a great chat!
6) Who would you be your dream collaboration and why?
Lizzo, McFly, and obviously Sir Elton John any day. In fact, all three together would make the ultimate song. Reasons? Because they are the best and who wouldn’t want to work with them!
7) Have you met anyone and been totally starstruck?
The most embarrassing thing that ever happened to me was when I met Maisie Peters. I absolutely fell apart and all I could get out was "I know where you went to school" because I grew up around where she grew up and we had some mutual friends! I honestly could not be more embarrassed, she was super cool and had to rush off to perform but I wanted the ground to swallow me up.
8) If you could only listen to one song on repeat for the rest of time what would it be and why?
‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?’ by Carole King. It absolutely gives me the chills every time I listen to it and I think it’s the most beautiful song in the world.
9) What’s on your playlists that people wouldn’t expect?
OMG my playlists are RIDICULOUS! It literally will go from grandson’s latest tune to ‘When He Sees Me’ from Waitress, to ‘Crocodile Rock’ by the queen himself to Loyle Carner. It’s all over the place. But, it makes me the ultimate car DJ because I’m gonna have something downloaded for everyone!
10) What can we expect from your live shows?
Pure chaos, anecdotes, competitions, crazy stuff. I’m all about making my live shows a bit of an event. I’m totally excited!
11) Have you got any fun livestreams/online events planned for this year? / When can we see you live?
I am playing at The Grace in London on the 16th September, and The Courtyard Theatre on the 23rd November! I also potentially have some fun support slots coming up, which I am so excited for!
- New jersey car fire
- Segway ninebot s plus charger
- Mazda 6 2010 air filter
- Clean choice cleaners
- Ahs episode 5 season 6
- I Just Wanna Walk Home
- I Just Wanna Walk Home - Single · 2021
- Champagne Fizzles
- Champagne Fizzles - Single · 2020
- BTEC Lily Allen
- BTEC Lily Allen - Single · 2020
- Sliced Bread
- Sliced Bread - Single · 2020
- I Bet You Fall Apart
- I Bet You Fall Apart - Single · 2020
- Burner Explicit
- PUB SONGS, Vol. 1 - EP · 2020
- 3 Words
- PUB SONGS, Vol. 1 - EP · 2020
19 year old artist Josie Proto’s has gone viral on TikTok with her song BTEC Lily Allen. Now, that she has released her new single Puddles, we’ve had a chat with her about her TikTok breakthrough, how she’s been dealing with the lockdown and what else she has planned for the rest of the year and beyond.
First up, can you introduce yourself and why you decided to pursue music?
My name is Josie Proto, I am 19 years old and I grew up in the South East of England in a tiny tiny village in the middle of nowhere. I have always been involved in music, growing up, my parents were sure to introduce me to all kinds of music and to encourage the appreciation of all genres. I started singing from a very young age although I wasn’t any good and I picked up the guitar at around 10. I taught myself guitar and piano for about 3 years until I started getting guitar lessons for 2. Being a singer/songwriter was a bit of a pipe dream for me and I focused a lot of my attention on getting into a good uni to do psychology up until I was about 17 when my manager showed a few of my songs to some people and I started going to writing sessions with artists and producers in London. I actually ended up working so much in London and on my music in my second year of college that I almost got kicked out because my attendance was so low! I didn’t get the grades I needed to apply for the course I wanted to do so from the moment I opened my results I knew I had to give music my full attention.
How have you found lockdown?
With the greatest sensitivity, because lockdown has been so hard on so many people, lockdown has really helped me focus and put all my efforts into music. I am lucky that there is a huge appetite for new music at the moment with everyone being sat at home. On the other hand, it’s super hard to write about all the things happening in your life when the most exciting part of the day was whether I was gonna have tomato soup or chicken soup for lunch the third time in a row.
You’ve gone viral on TikTok, do you think this has had a significant impact on the spread of your music?
I owe a lot to TikTok, my music would not have been given the exposure it has without it. It’s crazy to think that TikTok has been in mainstream media for less that a year and it already has changed the music scene completely. Half the songs in the charts are independent artists that have made their debuts on TikTok. I really love the atmosphere on TikTok too, its really kind and open.
What’s the best way you would describe your music?
Hardest question ever but I would imagine if Kate Nash, Lily Allen and Frank Turner had a love child, along with a considerable time spent at Lucy Spraggan’s household, you might end up with a child that would make music something like mine? It’s essentially indie/bedroom pop!
Your first EP was released last month! How did you find the experience of writing 5 different songs?
I absolutely loved collating this EP, the songs have been written over the course of four years and each one is quite significant of a time in my life up until now. It’s crazy to think that my listeners have only been hearing ‘Sliced Bread’ for a few months while it has been a staple in my set for almost 4 years!
‘BTEC Lily Allen’ was written from negative comments you have received, do you ever feel that you’re treated differently due to being a solo female musician?
I am very lucky to have an excellent and fair team working behind me, I am definitely disappointed with the lack of representation of female songwriters but I’m hoping that my generation is going to change that! I am incredibly aware of the prejudice women face in this industry and have witnessed a lot of wrong doing, but I am lucky enough that nothing I have witnessed has been directly related to me. It’s such a shame that women in the industry are applauding their superiors for doing the bare minimum, treating them as equals.
If you could pick one album that you could’ve written, which would it be?
Tapestry by Carole King! Or maybe ‘Cuz I love you by Lizzo. Both albums do not drop a mark in my book!
Which fellow upcoming artists are you listening to right now?
I am a little obsessed with Thomas Headon, he’s just really cool and down to earth and he has such a great way of songwriting.
Any plans for touring in the future?
I am so excited for touring in the future! As soon as it is safe to do so, I can assure you, I will be gigging all over!
Josie’s just released her latest single ‘Puddles’ which explores the unwillingness so many of us face to grow up. It features a fun-loving, upbeat soundtrack with witty lyrics that could only be written by Josie herself.
Josie Proto’s new single Puddles is available to stream and download as of now. Watch the video for the track below.
Josie Proto – Puddles
Josie Proto Tickets*
Rising British singer-songwriter Josie Proto shares the extremely powerful “I Just Wanna Walk Home” – her first single since signing with the iconic Island Records.
In her signature confrontational fashion, “I Just Wanna Walk Home” was born from Josie’s frustration towards the extreme measures women in the world feel they need to take in order to simply get home safely. With Josie’s frank statements about the fear women feel remaining front and center across a soft acoustic backing, “I Just Wanna Walk Home” further typifies Josie’s innate ability to connect with the world around her and curate commentative, heartfelt music.
Speaking on the track, Josie shared: “Time and time again, society has proven that the safety of women is uncertain to say the least. Recently, I began having conversations with my family and friends about the legitimate concerns that I have for my safety walking home. I was surprised to learn that most of the male presences in my life were not aware of the genuine fears that many women face on a daily bases. The toxic media culture started to alienate the very people that feminists were trying to reach in order to explain why the onus is on men to change the way women feel walking home. I wanted this song to address the very people that were turning their screens off to avoid accountability. Women do everything they can. The stories I have heard of women taking chunks out of their hair in taxis where they felt uncomfortable in order to ensure that their DNA would be found if they were to go missing. The frustration women feel being taught how to kick a tail-light out in the case of being thrown into a car-boot. I remember being told at 15 that I was a danger to my cousins by simply being in their house to babysit them because I was a girl and therefore a target. I refuse to have this same conversation with my children. I wanted to write a song that explained and accurately depicted the feelings of women who are desperate to be heard about this topic. I am exhausted by the efforts that I have to take in order to firstly, get home safely, and secondly, ensure that if something were to happen, I wouldn’t be blamed. I want the people hearing the song that don’t have this genuine fear to feel accountable and responsible. I am so exhausted. I just want to walk home. I’m not a politician, and I don’t know how to solve this. But this is what I feel and that cannot be disputed.”
Interview with Josie Proto
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name’s Josie Proto, I’m a singer-songwriter from the smallest town/village you could possibly get in the South of England. I have always wanted to be a writer of some sort. I wanted to be a journalist for a longtime but then went to college and did all the wrong subjects. I started gigging with my own songs and it all kicked off.
What A-levels did you do?
When I was in secondary school, I did really academic GCSE although I did take BTEC Music Technology and I remember thinking I love this and if I could ever do this as a career I would, but I always thought it was something unobtainable. I was cut out of the Oxbridge scheme at secondary school and I asked to be in it, but they said no because my grades weren’t good enough. Typical me thought ‘I’ve got to prove them wrong’ so I decided to do the ib (I don’t know why I took it!) Anyhow, by the second year of the course I was writing in London so much that my attendance had gone down to 60% and I had bombed college but by the time I got results I was like ‘it’s ok’ because I don’t want to go to uni, I want to write songs. I never did music theory or had music lessons.
You mention writing songs in London during Sixth Form, can you tell us how that came about?
I wrote ‘Sliced Bread’ and recorded a version that my dad sent around to some of his mates; he use to work in the events industry, so he had some links to the music industry. It fell into the hands of my now manager Chris, who used to be a tour manager for artists in the 80s/90s. He knew people in the industry and they took a liking to my sound and songs and so they set up some writing sessions for me with some incredibly well-credited producers and songwriters in town. It was completely right place, right time.
Do your lyrics cover particular themes or meanings?
In terms of themes, my lyrics just follow my life - in my eyes it’s really verbal diarrhoea! I guess, the EP is mainly about my teen years and all the experiences and thoughts but in general my songs just stem from teenage experience and existential crisis - my go to thing. When I realise something about the world which is really daunting, I write a song as a coping mechanism.
Top 5 Tracks
- Best fake smile - James Bay
- Without a believer by Sara Bareilles
- Mr Bluesky - ELO
- You’ve got a friend - Carol King
- Vienna - Billy Joel
McBusted - it was the greatest! Every childhood dream came true!
How would you say social media has played a role in your career?
It’s an incredible tool and TikTok has been insane - I really enjoy the atmosphere; it’s a super strong positive vibe. To have that platform where people are actually listening to me is incredible but it’s also so insular because your TikTok world doesn’t necessarily mean you have a social media following across all boards e.g I have 3,000+ followers on Instagram but 40,000+ on TikTok. I am also aware that I have to be careful of what I put out due to my target audience and potential influence but overall I enjoy the love I get from TikTok.
Your debut EP was number 1 on the Pop Charts! Can you tell us about how that felt?
My manager sent me a message telling me I’m number 44 in the chart charts and I was like ‘what, how?’ So I ran down to my parents to tell them and then throughout the day it just went up and up to number 4 and then someone messaged me to tell my I’m number 1 on the Pop charts. It’s mind-blowing, I don’t even understand and have only just realised that there are actually people buying it. I still feel like I’m asking my friends and family to buy my music. Completely bonkers!
You mention growing up in a tiny town, do you think this has influenced your music?
Yes, I think it has because growing up in a small town, I definitely have romanticised living in a big city and that’s why I was so drawn to London - somewhere so vast and bustling. The reality is, I probably see 3 people outside my window each day. I live in the sticks and my sense of community is particularly strong in my village; I’ve been gigging at my local pub since I was 11 and they have literally watched me grow up and are so supportive. It’s definitely influenced my music taste because whenever I went to gig in the local pub, people were always like ‘can you play this sing or that song’ so I learnt a wide range of music.
Would you say you’ve experienced any challenges in your career or has it mainly been luck?
I’ve been incredibly lucky, don’t get me wrong when I started writing and trying to get into it more professionally, I had so many people just taking the piss. People don’t really see songwriting as a respectable career, I had so many comments ‘your songs will only ever be played in the pub’ etc and it’s where ‘BTEC Lily Allen’ came from. Just because I’m quite young, it effected me a lot. At any age, when you start believing that you can do something and someone tell you can’t, it’s a hinderance. But I haven’t had any major setbacks in my career.
Advice for young musicians?
When people get asked this question they always say the typical ‘believe in yourself’ and it’s really unhelpful. The helpful things are like write a message about yourself and sent it to all the management of all your favourite bands or artists that are in the same genre as the music you make. Find music management, A&R people, agents, press companies and message them. Also, message other small artists who have a bit more of a following than you do and ask them to help you grow via a shoutout etc because I can guarantee you that so many of them will help you because they were in the same situation as you were a year ago. You also have to pretend to know what your doing all the time, just walk into the room and pretend that you are the greatest songwriter in the planet and that all these people will be one day kissing your feet. Even if you don’t believe it, if you don’t act like it, no one will treat you like it. That’s the greatest piece of advice I was given ‘fake it ’til you make it.’
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It turned out that we have one favorite writer - Charles Bukowski. We discussed his novel Women. They remembered Henry Miller. Mentioned Sergei Dovlatov.