10 Questions With Joesef As He Works On His Next Album

Glaswegian soul artist Joesef has had quite the year. Kicking 2023 off with the release of his debut album Permanent Damage, the musician – real name Joseph Traynor – has toured the world, garnered a mass of loyal followers and firmly established himself as one of the most exciting new talents on the scene. Discovered in 2017 by manager Lyle Scougall, Joesef later signed to “untraditional” record label Awal – which also represents Little Simz – and moved to London, ready to bring his sweet sound to the metropolitan masses. Distinctly influenced by an eclectic mix of ’90s hip-hop, indie rock and Motown, Joesef’s debut was peppered with resonant tracks like ‘It’s Been a Little Heavy Lately’ and ‘Joe’ which intimately explore themes of queer love and heartbreak. A reflection on the artist’s life post-breakup, the offering was relatable and raw, with a distinct feeling of pain-relieving catharsis woven throughout. Touching on his childhood spent in Glasgow’s poorly kept ‘schemes’ as well as the intricate intertwining of his Catholic upbringing and queer identity, Joesef’s sound is refined, personal and nuanced.

Since the release, Joesef has been booked and busy. Touring the UK, Europe and North America, the Scotsman rode into summer on a wave of performances confirmed at Britain’s most visited festivals – including Reading and Glastonbury. Named as one of Elton John’s top picks for the latter, Joesef’s career has truly snowballed in all the best ways. Stopping only for a moment, he was then off to the US for a second time, booked as the support act for neo-soul sensations Jungle. Always greeting fans with dapper looks and deliciously dulcet tones, Joesef has proven that buying a ticket to one of his shows will be money well spent. 

With such a stellar 2023, it’s hard to imagine a 2024 that will top it, but Joesef’s sure going to try. With a potential new album on the horizon, the artist is keen to use the upcoming months to explore new themes he hasn’t before, homing in on the experience of a happy and safe love instead. Here, we sat down with Joesef to talk about his favourite moments from the release of Permanent Damage, the Scottish musicians everyone should have on their radar and his top fashion brand.

1. What’s your favorite city to perform in, apart from Glasgow, because we all know that’s elite territory?

“This year, probably Dublin or New York City. I think, being from Glasgow, the bar is so high, but the Dublin crew never let me down. NYC also, I think because I just love the city and its people so much; it feels special to be up there in a place I’ve dreamt of playing for so long.”

2. What’s a fashion brand you love?

“I really love Ernest W. Baker at the minute. Everything they do, from the cut to the fabrics to the way they present the clothes, is so cool.”

3. What was the best moment from Permanent Damage?

“There were a lot of great moments, but just in general being able to make something I care about in a way that felt true to me without feeling I had to conform to anything. It was difficult at times, of course, but nothing good comes easy. I’m still very proud of the record I made.”

4. Who would you love to collaborate with?

“I think I could make something pretty with Tyler, the Creator. I’ve loved him since the Odd Future days, and I keep putting it into the universe, so maybe if he sees this, hit me up, Mr.”

5. Who are some Scottish musicians we need to know about?

“Theo Bleak. She’s from Dundee. I’m very rarely moved solely by the sound of someone’s voice, but there’s such a haunting quality to her music, and there’s such a strong visual language to everything she makes. She’s definitely one to watch.”

6. Where’s the best place in Glasgow for food?

“There are a lot of places, but living in London now, the only thing I crave is square sausage and potato scones from the Spar around my mum’s bit. There’s honestly nothing better than a morning roll in Glasgow.”

7. What happened during Permanent Damage (between writing and touring) that inspired you for Album 2?

“I fell in love last summer. The first album was about trying to grapple with the grief of losing so much of myself during a breakup, but now I feel like a whole person again. The second one might be about navigating a kind of love I’ve never really experienced before, one that feels safe and content, happy, maybe lol.”

8. What are you feeling for the visual direction for Album 2?

“The first album felt like the inside of a bedroom at an afterparty to me; maybe the second one will be when I finally decide to open the windows or go outside, something slightly sunnier.”

9. What’s a song you would like to cover?

“I’ve been listening to a lot of Jeff Buckley lately. I really love “Everybody Here Wants You”; it’s pure sex. Might have to give that a go.”

10. In one word, how would you describe the last year?


Photography by Matt Spratt.


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