On The Road With Josie Dunne

Josie Dunne will be opening for Ben Rector at Asheville's Thomas Wolfe Auditorium on March 14th and again at Greensboro's Cone Denim...
Josie Dunne will be opening for Ben Rector at Asheville's Thomas Wolfe Auditorium on March 14th and again at Greensboro's Cone Denim Entertainment Center on March 15th. We caught up with Josie and she told us about her early days of performing at neighborhood pools, her pre-show rituals, and her dream music festival.

Describe your music for our readers who may not be familiar with you.
My music is a blend of the Motown and R&B Soul that I grew up on mixed with the Pop music that I love coming out today. Lyrically, I try to always tell stories that are true to me about what I'm going through. Most of my music right now is about growing up: falling in love for the first time, being heartbroken for the first time, all that jazz that someone in their early twenties starts dealing with.

What's the first concert you attended?
I have super fuzzy memories of my dad taking my brother and I to see Amy Grant when I was really, really young. But the first concert I actually fully remember seeing was with my best friend when I was 12. Her dad got the three of us tickets to the U2 concert. It was amazing- I was blown away.

What's the strangest gig you've played?
When I first started playing shows, I said yes to anything that came in. I just wanted to be out there playing! So, I've done some really weird gigs before. I've sung at countless block parties, graduation parties and 5k runs or basketball tournaments. I sang at the grand opening of a neighborhood park. On a weekly basis, I used to bring my own PA system and sing at the pool I belonged to growing up so the kids had something to do during adult swim.

What's the craziest thing a fan has done at one of your shows?
I love when people bring posters to shows. That is so cool. I've had people cry when they meet me, which is really funny to me because I think I'm such a goober. For me to cry when I meet someone, it'd have to be like Beyonce so it blows my mind that someone looks at me like that. I'm just a dork- if you think I'm cool, it's all smoke and mirrors. Haha!

What's the first thing you look for when you hit a new town?
I love animals and I grew up with a ton of pets, so my first choice is to find a zoo or aquarium in any new city when I'm on tour. I also love art museums. My parents are both pretty artsy fartsy so growing up, my siblings and I would paint for fun a lot of times instead of watching tv. They gave me a real appreciate for art and art history. So, I love visiting art museums when I'm in different cities, too.

How do you spend your days on the road?
It's a lot of time looking out the window of the van. Haha! So, I've got a good list of podcasts and music playlists that I've made to keep me busy. Admittedly, I spend a lot of time on Instagram and Twitter, too. When we aren't driving, I try to explore around the cities that we're in. Right now, I'm in Kalamazoo, Michigan and I about to walk into a cool local coffee shop. I just try to find the local gems around the different towns.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
On show days, I always drink a Yerba Mate iced tea to get me jazzed up. They are so delicious and don't dry out my throat like other caffeine drinks so it's great for playing shows. Then, right before I go on, I either listen to Paramore's latest album, Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill album, or Beyonce's I Am.... World Tour live album. All three of those pump me up BIG time. Right before we go on, my band and I do like a high-five circle where we high-five each other as fast as we can. Hahaha, I don't know how that started but it's part of the ritual now.

What's some advice you'd give to a band embarking on its first tour?
I haven't done too many tours myself, so I feel like I'm still learning a lot of the little tricks of being on the road. I think making sure you get out and explore the cities is really important. It's really tiring being out on the road, so it's easy to just want to sleep or camp out in the hotel room, but waking up early and getting out to have fun is so important. You have to remember that you're traveling around and you may never get the chance to be in that place again, so take advantage of it!

Final question: You're the opening act of a music festival. You can get any five artists, living or dead, to perform on the bill with you. Which five acts do you choose?
I love this question! I would choose a good variety of artists. I'd have Stevie Wonder there for sure. No brainer. I'm from Chicago and so I've loved Chance the Rapper for a long time, so I'd totally have him on the bill. When I really got into playing guitar, I fell in love with Jimi Hendrix. I think he's the best of all time so he'd definitely get the invite. I'm such a big fan Billie Eilish so I'd like to have her there. She has an awesome stage presence. And of course, Beyonce would headline.

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Strange Carolinas: The Travelogue Of The Offbeat: On The Road With Josie Dunne
On The Road With Josie Dunne
Strange Carolinas: The Travelogue Of The Offbeat
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