With a roster full of candy floss gems so sweet they would make your teeth ache, Josie Man’s ‘identity pop’ music is wholesome, comforting, and encourages us all to grow.

Preaching heart-warming messages of honesty and vulnerability, Josie Man has been accruing a steadfast fan base who look up to her like a supportive best friend. Always there to give you a sonic hug and help wipe away the tears, Josie relishes the opportunity to help others with her music. Shouting self-love from the rooftops (her Twitter bio declares in capitals: “You’re enough. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise”), Josie has curated a loving, safe space for all with her music. “Those three words [you are enough] are so powerful — if you were to tell yourself them every day, they really do change the way you feel about yourself,” she affirms.

 

Although Josie Man’s sound may be wrapped in bubblegum melodies and dreamy vocals, her lyrics touch on tough subjects and her real-life experiences. On latest single “Stormy Skies (Diamonds)”, for example, Josie tackles self-doubt, singing: “I’m afraid what my head starts to say when the noise dies down / Even fully dressed, I’m a mess, feel my worst at my best / You think I’d have it all figured out”.

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Through her glass half-full, silver-lining approach to life, however, South East London-raised Josie manages to smooth rocky roads and see the positive. Growing up “shy and different”, feeling “never fully understood” by the world, it’s no wonder that growth is a key theme throughout Josie’s catalogue. On last year’s single, the aptly titled “Grow”, Josie sings: “I don’t hide / Tears I cry / ‘Cause nothing ever grows / Nothing ever grows without them”, showing a mature approach to life that belies her young years. This self-taught, pick-yourself-back-up mentality came from “being hurt growing up, and feeling alone”, Josie reveals. “I was like, ‘I have to be there for myself, I have to back myself a bit more’. I’m the only one that can change that in my head… It’s always up to the person to want to grow. You have to actively do it. And a lot of it’s quite painful.”

 

Always layered in the most colourful jewellery and accessories, Josie Man’s style is a one-stop shop of Y2K goodness. Whether it’s tiny tennis skirts, chunky Spice Girls trainers or larger-than-life sunglasses, the rising artist sees clothing as one of the ultimate forms of self-expression: “They really represent who you are and how you feel.” Even at our photoshoot, Josie retains a strong visual identity, pairing her own vibrant necklaces with the stylist’s looks. It’s a small act that’s wholly representative of her quietly strong character.

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This summer Josie had a mega moment headlining the BBC Introducing stage at Reading and Leeds festival, played at Colours in Hoxton and is set to play BBC Radio 1 DJ Jack Saunders’ Hopscotch music event on 3rd November in London. The continued support from her fan base encourages Josie to keep making music, safe in the knowledge that her creations will always be welcomed with open arms. However, she acknowledges that being a role model does come with a certain amount of responsibility. Whilst being idolised is almost unavoidable for musicians, actors, social media stars and generally anyone with an admiring following, Josie is taking it in her stride. Rather than shying away from the position, she’s once again using her platform to continue to spread messages of love and positivity. “I want people to know that I’m not always OK, and that’s OK. It can be quite hard to see someone that you look up to being happy all the time, but no one is… I think it’s good to be vulnerable. With music, because I like to give a positive message, it’s real to show that it’s not always like that. It helps other people know that it’s OK to feel sad, because I don’t think it’s healthy to make out that everything’s good all the time,” she says.

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With social media becoming an ever-increasing facet of artists’ careers, it can be difficult to navigate the blurred lines between private and public life, choosing what to share online and what remains private. “I keep my boyfriend quite private. That’s me and him, so I don’t really post much,” Josie shares. “Although my songs are about him sometimes, in music videos and stuff, I won’t show his face and I don’t really put videos up of him just because he’s a private person.” Josie also tends to keep her cards close to her chest online and doesn’t tend to share her personal opinions about topics, preferring to keep that separate from her online space. “I don’t talk too much about how something makes me feel because it’s my own opinion. I don’t feel like I need to put it onto someone else. I just let everyone do what they want,” she explains.

 

It’s not just online that Josie has been setting boundaries, it’s in her day-to-day life as well. As her career has grown, she now feels able to speak her truth without the guilt she previously attached to saying no. Revealing that she often battles with anxiety, Josie feels she has come a long way in owning her feelings about career-related decisions: “I feel bad saying no, but I’ve learned that I have to… I need to just say what I feel and I know it’s not going to be wrong.” This new confidence stretches into her music as well. “I feel more comfortable writing and being open with people,” she says, adding: “If I didn’t feel comfortable, I would just be like ‘I want to go home’. It’s all about setting boundaries. I think that’s the main thing.” Whatever life throws at her, you can count on Josie Man to navigate her way through the noise, taking life’s lessons in her stride and turning them into diamonds.

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