Interview: Josie Dunne On Signing To Atlantic Records, “Old School” Debut, Working With Nathan Chapman!

josie dunne interview

Last week we had the pleasure to world premiere the lyrics of Josie Dunne’s debut single “Old School” and now we’re ecstatic to publish an exclusive we just did with her.

Let’s recap first: Josie Dunne is Nashville-based singer-songwriter who was recently signed by Atlantic Records, home to so many iconic artists, and for whom “Old School” is just the beginning. A larger project is going to hit us rather soon! *freaks out*

If you’re loving “Old School” as much as we do (the obsession is real), then the interview below is a must-read. You’ll get to know a lot more about Josie; her journey to date, signing to Atlantic, her musical influences, her songwriting process and writing for Kelly Clarkson, her favorite songs of the moment, among other things.

What are you waiting for!? Get your read on ASAP!


1. Hi Josie! Where are you right now and how’s your day been like so far?

Hi! Thank you for asking…My day has been great! I’m in Nashville and my day started like most of my days do, fried eggs for breakfast, a little morning mediation, followed by listening to K-Pop (my new obsession, I’m totally into it) then, I jumped in the car, (listened to a Ted Talk podcast) and headed to a writing session with some of my favorite singer/ songwriters David Ryan Harris and Jacob Durrett. We just finished writing a super cool song!

2. You are signed to Atlantic Records. How were you discovered and what was your reaction when it was made official that you were part of such a renowned label?

First, I am so stoked to be signed to Atlantic Records!

I have a super supportive family. I was 14 years old when my uncle encouraged me to pursue music. He believed in me and helped me record an EP of cover songs that we sent to the label, thankfully got positive feedback, followed by a meeting. After some time, I got the official word that I was being signed to the label. To celebrate, about 30 of my family members and friends hopped on a plane to Nashville, sporting custom made “Josie” t-shirts, cups and candy. We wore those shirts all over Nashville and to the signing party… it was priceless and made me feel so proud.

3. What labelmates you are the biggest fan of?

It’s exciting and an honor to be on a label with artists that I listen to and admire so much. I’m a fan of Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, Kelly Clarkson, Aretha Franklin, Lizzo and I am a huge fan of Ray Charles, he’s been a big inspiration to me in my music

4. Is it true that you’ve written music for Kelly Clarkson? Tell us the story please. We love Kelly.

I love Kelly too! I got an opportunity to participate in a writing camp for Kelly, it was an amazing, surreal experience! I was surrounded by some of the industry's biggest writers and to top it off she ended up putting one of my songs on hold. It didn’t end up making the final cut, but I was just happy to know she listened to it and considered putting it on her album.

5. You released your debut single “Old School” last week. What’s the best description of the song story/sound-wise in your own words?

I am completely pumped to have released “Old School”! I am particularly happy with the way this song came together and the way it really feels like an expression of myself. It’s reminiscent of the relationship I’ve watched my parents have, so it’s special to me in that way. It’s a lighthearted song about young love, chivalry, about a boy treating a girl with respect, doing things that shows he cares about her, which isn’t always practiced these days.

From the sound perspective, I think it’s an upbeat, bubbly mixture of modern pop with a soulful, classic R&B foundation.

6. We personally love the Motown, soul sound of your song mixed with that pop feel. What artists did you like to hear growing up?

Thank you! I was influenced by all kinds of music growing up, artists like The Supremes, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Beyoncé, Britney Spears. But, I really gravitate toward Motown and classic R&B, one of my all-time heroes is Stevie Wonder. That said, the first cd I bought was Avril Lavigne and I would always steal my brother’s Green Day cd, which he's still looking for…

7. We really liked the “Old School” music video. Must’ve been such a great experience shooting that with the two persons you love the most in this world?

Shooting that video with my parents was such a fun experience! It was the BEST weekend ever! Including my parents and their love story, our home, church, school, real photos and letters, it was one of the coolest things we’ve ever done! It meant a lot to me. And they loved being a part of the process.

8. What’s Josie Dunne’s songwriting process?

For me, when I’m writing a song, I start with a groove or drum beat followed by finding the melody and then the lyrics. I usually spend the most time on the lyrics.

9. We’ve also heard that you will be presenting fans with an EP later in 2018. You worked with the legendary Nathan Chapman on the EP. And we know him for his work with Taylor Swift. What was like working with Nathan?

I loved working with Nathan! The first song I wrote with Nathan is one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written. Aside from being an amazing writer, his instincts are so good, he can identify what works and what won’t for each person. He is genuinely a down to earth, humble, good guy. He’s also a great photographer. In fact, when you go into his studio, you’d expect to see all of the awards or plaques he’s won, but instead what you see are all of the pictures of his family and the photographs he’s taken.

10. What can fans expect from the rest of songs on your upcoming EP?

From a sound perspective, they’ll experience more songs that blend my favorite worlds of Motown and pop, that classic R&B sound with a modern twist. Lyrically, I write from my experiences, desires and dreams. Living in Nashville, I’ve learned more about the art of story-telling from some of the best songwriters in the industry. I think of myself as an all-American happy, quirky girl, who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago with a large, loving family. I spend my time learning, playing and writing music. I live a little out of the box, but I’m just a normal girl. I think there’s something in these songs that most can relate to.

11. What are your Top 5 favorite songs right now?

This is a really hard question, but if I have to narrow it down to 5 favorites right now…

Amy Winehouse- Tears dry on Their Own

Stevie Wonder- Sir Duke

Dagny- Love You Like That

Lorde- Homemade Dynamite

Katy Perry- Teenage Dream

Natasha Bedingfield- Pocketful of Sunshine

12. Who would be your dream collaboration, why him/her, and how do you imagine your original song would be like?

I’m always going to choose Stevie Wonder because he’s one of my heroes. Our collaboration would be a fun, upbeat, catchy Motown song.

13. Thank you for your time Josie! Any last thing you would like to tell our Direct Lyrics readers?

Thank you for listening to my music and taking the time to read this.

By on February 5, 2018
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