Don Josef returned with the intensely personal follow-up “Villain” a few weeks after releasing “Paris,” to phenomenal reception throughout Europe. This included numerous radio placements and favorable press in France, England, and Germany, among other countries. Check out the exclusive interview below:
1. Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how it all got started?
DON JOSEF: I’m hailing from Norway, Oslo while my ethnical background Is gipsy/ Roma. It all started when I heard a flamenco guitar when I was a child. I was astounded by the rhythms and melodies, and it captured the essence of music in me. The rest is all there. My musical career did not start before 2022, but my musical journey started as a child.
2. Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
DON JOSEF: No Formal training, fully self-taught.
3. Who were your first and strongest musical influences and why the name ‘DON JOSEF?
DON JOSEF: I remember my mother putting on Amy Winehouse tunes and my father Bob Marley and Louis Armstrong. And that’s only a few, but definitively the most impactful on me. Don is my birth given name and Josef my fathers surname.
4. What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners, and how would you personally describe your sound?
DON JOSEF: I feel that my lyrics and their meaning and of course my voice is what resonates with the listeners. I would personally describe my sound as something original and unique and strange.
5. For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and music maker, and the transition towards your own style, which is known as POP?
DON JOSEF: I will say that my journey as an artist has barely started, as I have just discovered my own sound, something that does not restrain itself from the boundaries of genres but defining it more. I will say I am inspired by RnB, Blues, reggae, soul and pop.
6. What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural, spiritual, and/or social vehicles – and do you try and affront any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative, and entertainment?
DON JOSEF: Music is a vehicle that needs the right fuel to function, spirituality and cultural expression, is a must in my music and is the fuel to my lyrics and drive. My personal belief is christianity, and my focus is to convey lyrics that are morally correct and affront thematic about personal growth, emotions and life.
7. Do you feel that your music is giving you back just as much fulfillment as the amount of work you are putting into it or are you expecting something more, or different in the future?
DON JOSEF: I don’t know what the future will bring, but I do hope that I can continue to spread my message through music in the future. And I do feel that my actions will result in a reaction.
8. Could you describe your creative processes? How do usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a tune, a beat, or a narrative in your head? And do you collaborate with others in this process?
DON JOSEF: I usually start with listening to a beat, and from there I can see the words highlighted in my mind according to what lyrical ideas the beat gives me. I start with three words, a simple theme, structure and go from there. We are in the studio collaborating with the producer and realizing the idea of a song into reality.
9. With social media having a heavy impact on our lives and the music business in general, how do you handle criticism, haters, and/or naysayers in general? Is it something you pay attention to, or simply ignore?
DON JOSEF: I don’t mind critics nor haters; everyone will have an opinion about you in life, it’s all about how you see it. Me I choose to accept the love, review the critique with a positive mindset and simply ignore the hate.
10. Do you think is it important for fans of your music to understand the real story and message driving each of your songs, or do you think everyone should be free to interpret your songs in their own personal way?
DON JOSEF: I think that it is quite important for fans to understand the real story and message of my songs. And I also think the fans should be free to interpret my songs in their own personal way. I want people to reflect their own mindset in the story I convey, and If I can do that through music, it will surely make my drive stronger.