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.