A FEW years ago Glasgow singer Joesef was quite content pulling pints in his local.
But his incredible voice and raw talent had other ideas taking him to where he is today.
Next Saturday, he will perform in front of his biggest home crowd to date at the 02 Academy Glasgow.
And if you happen to go by the Gorbals venue where his name will be in bright lights, don’t find yourself asking, who is Joesef?
Get to where you access your music and listen to him because this is one voice you have got to get to know.
“I produce songs, I write all my music, I sing as well and I kind of play a few instruments,” explained the singer who shyly lists off his resume as he speaks to the Glasgow Times while travelling on a tour bus heading to Belfast.
Brought up Garthamlock in the city’s East End, the singer’s got his break thanks to a gentle nudge from a pal who encouraged him to take to the stage.
“I got into music off the back of my best mate saying he thinks I could be a singer and he wanted to be my manager, and he had this big master plan. We have just been winging it ever since then,” the 26-year-old said.
That plan has worked out rather well for the pair. A gig at King Tut’s caught the attention of the city’s music scene followed by the debut EP Play Me Something Nice in 2019. All this despite Joesef being blissfully unaware of the significance of securing a spot on that King Tut’s stage.
“I had never been in King Tut’s before I played the venue.
“I didn’t really know the historical weight of that venue and what it represents…the trilogy in the music scene.
“That is why it is even more surreal because I was just not connected to the Glasgow music scene at all.
“It was a bit of a random thing for me to be doing.
“It feels like I was just pushed on stage and I was just like, ‘oh my f**king God, what is happening?’
“Before I started music, I wasn’t really that ambitious.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.
“Then when I got on stage and started making music…it was just like, ‘aww this is it! This is exactly what I was supposed to do’.”
That lightbulb moment has spurred Joesef on. He moved to London at the end of 2020 to focus on making music and even joked, “it would be a fortune in taxis,” otherwise.
His second EP Does it Make You Feel Good? followed a cover of Sister Sledge’s classic I’m Thinking Of You which amassed over 30 million streams.
And just now his fellow Glaswegians might spot the promotion surrounding the latest single It’s Been A Little Heavy Lately with posters on the city’s subway. So has he got used to the publicity in his hometown?
“It is pretty mad to see my face anywhere other than the mirror,” he laughed.
He added: “It’s pretty cool. I have got the subway a million times…for my face to be on it, on billboards, it is pretty insane man.
“It is pretty weird for my family and stuff to see me cutting about but aye it is pretty mad.”
He ended last year on a high playing the Barrowland Ballroom in his native East End but the o2 Academy will represent the next step as he takes on a much bigger audience.
“It is pretty f**king mad to be playing the Academy at this point in my career,” he said with a smile.
He continued: “I never ever thought that I would be here at all, never mind at this point.
“We have been working hard so it seems like a progression from the Barras gig.
“Me and the band have been playing constantly now since February.
“We are tight as f**k and we have got the horn boys in as well so it is a bigger show.
“We have got lights and stuff, it is going to be amazing.
“But I feel that any Glasgow show is amazing, it doesn’t really matter.
“I can be up there and do anything, and they would still be behind it 100 per cent. It is like the best crowd in the world.”
That Glasgow show will no doubt have one special lady in the audience – his mum. Although Joesef jokes she wants, “the merch and free tickets,” he considers her to be his biggest influence.
“She is the woman who gave me all my influences. Played all the music to me that made me make the music that I make today.
“She is my biggest influence above everything else,” he beamed.
While Joesef is grateful that his mum has weighed heavily on his musical influences so far, it is his debut album that will be the next step of his journey as a solo artist. With the spotlight on his sound, what can we expect?
“It is definitely a level up. It’s like Joesef 2:0.
“I don’t know if I can say anymore,” he teased.
He may remain quiet about his debut album but there is plenty he can say about the future which is something he is very excited about.
He said: “It really wasn’t my dream, everything is a bonus.
“I feel like I worked in a bar before this. I kind of liked doing that.
“Being a singer is quite good as well.
“It’s amazing man. I get to go to all these amazing places and get to meet all these amazing people.
“I’m chuffed that I get to do this every day. I get to do something that I enjoy because it is quite rare that people get to enjoy the work that they are doing.”
He added: “I just hope that I keep playing bigger venues, selling out tours and travelling to places.
“Making music forever – that the dream in it, to have longevity and continue it.
“I am strapping myself in for the ride and see wherever the f**k it takes me.”
Joesef plays the o2 Academy in Glasgow on Saturday, May 21.
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