Check out our interview with Vogue, Glamour & Cosmopolitan-featured indie pop artist Josephine Relli who is about to release her new single “Tell You.” After a creative block amid the pandemic, “Tell You” marks a new chapter in Josephine’s music focused on tapping into her creativity and writing for herself.

Follow Josephine @josephinerelli

Hi Josephine, please tell us a little about you?

I’m a singer-songwriter currently residing in Portland. I’ve been doing music now for 6 years or so. I’ve done some acting and modeling as well. I’m currently going to school and continuing my music at the same time.

Describe yourself in 3 words?

Independent. Authentic. Non-conforming.

How did you get started in the business?

At around age 13 I decided to take my singing to the next level. I found a vocal teacher. At some point he asked if I wanted to try writing music. I wasn’t sure but I thought I’d give it a try — experimented with it. I wound up liking it. We worked together on the music, did some recording, which ultimately turned into the debut album. And it just snowballed for there. My passion for it developed more and more by doing it. And has continued since then.

How has this changed your life? 

In so many ways. It changed my path when it came to high school. I never would have moved to Los Angeles, even if it was only temporarily. I never would have done home school. I went from a normal, liner path to this crazy, chaotic thing. It allowed me to explore and to decide for myself what I was able to do. It allowed me to break out of the structure of things. It’s introduced a huge passion that I now cannot live without.

We’re sure you have been asked this million times but how did you get in the industry?

It happened naturally. After recording the music, after I experimented with songs, I found myself with the finished product, the music in a recorded form. We didn’t know what to do next — like are we just going to let it sit here and do nothing. So, we decided to release it. It was just a natural turn of events. It all kind of happened naturally and fast.

Describe your sound in 3 words?

Malleable. Evolving. Genre-less.

Who influenced you and why did you choose to make music?

The initial reason I chose to make music was because of someone name Joseph Konty, my vocal teacher. He brought up the opportunity to make music to me. Without him I wouldn’t have gotten into it. But in terms of other recording artists, there are a lot of them. From the 50s, I’d say Jackie Wilson and Ray Charles. A more modern one would be Sam Smith. There are so many.

Do you play any instruments?

I feel like I dabble in piano, drums, guitar — but it’s nowhere near my singing ability. But I manage on them, at least for songwriting. I know the instrument enough to do that.

Do you ever get nervous?

In general, yes. But that’s just life. There’s also always pre-performance nerves, which is usually the anticipation. But that disappears almost instantly once you’re in it. I also get nervous when it comes to writing music. It’s like a mix of having nervousness for not reaching the standard of what I want the song to sound like, and there are nerves produced from the amount of comparison there is in society with music, or anything for that matter.

Tell us about your new single “Tell You?”

This is the first song that I’ve really worked on properly since the pandemic. I know some people just got super creative because there was nothing else to do. But that did not happen for me. People like Taylor Swift recorded 2 albums or something like that during the pandemic. I actually did a lot of reevaluating my life during that time. And because of that I realized that I’d been writing less for the passion of it and more for the business part of it. In reevaluating all of that I rediscovered my love for writing. This is the first song I’m trying to write based off how I feel about it without so much attention on how it will be received. It’s kind of like a new chapter.

What’s the story behind the song?

It’s specifically about that state of really liking somebody but having those feelings unrequited. You really like someone but you’re trying to convince yourself that you shouldn’t. There’s a part of you that wants to tell them yet you feel you shouldn’t. Emotions telling you one thing and your brain telling you something else, where you’re kind of fighting with yourself on what to do.

What is the most rewarding part of your work?

The ability to be who I am and express myself accordingly. There’s a certain sense of freedom that comes with creating your own product, image, songs — whatever. When you can feel it out and do whatever you want to do with it, I think that’s the most rewarding part. When I’m free to be me.

What would say are the greatest lessons you learned so far?

To not take everything so seriously. To not get so lost in something that you forget why you started in the first place. That the journey is the point, not the destination. To not get so caught up in where you want to be that you forget where you are now, in the moment, and how amazingly beautiful that can be.

What advice would you give to your younger self and why?

I feel like I’m still a child [laughs]. But I’d say, to breath, to just kind of relax. To not rush growing up. That it’s okay to take it day by day.

How would your best friend describe you?

My mom is my best friend and I feel like all of her answers would be insanely bias. But I would hope she would say that that I’m a good listener and hopefully that I support her.

If you were a book, what would be the title of the book and why?

I Don’t Know What I’m Doing [laughs]. And why is pretty self-explanatory — because I don’t know what I’m doing. But I also think there’s a beauty to that because you can discover it along the way, and it’s everchanging.

What’s next for Josephine Relli in 2022?

To release this song. To create more. To continue to write and produce and record new music. Hopefully doing more performing as well. And also to create more performance-based content online.

What is your favorite healthy food?

Brussels sprouts. Especially if you roast them with raisins and nuts. And mushrooms too.

And your favorite cheat food?


How would you explain your fashion style?

Oh no. It’s like I’m constantly having an identity crisis [laughs]. Let’s say eclectic. Versatile. Let’s go with that.

What is your own definition of happiness?

I think it comes down to finding happiness internally, and I think that process and what that looks like for each person is different.

If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?

Alan Alda. He’s amazing. Creatively, acting-wise, his view of the world and the things he knows — I think a conversation with him would be very enlightening.

What would be the dream holiday, and who would you go with?

I love to travel so anywhere is amazing. But I’d love to go to Norway, specifically Bergan. And I’d love to take my mom.

Best advice ever given?

That not everything has to be perfect. That perfection does not exist.

Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?

Not sure where the journey will take me. But wherever it is, I hope I’m still being me and expressing myself authentically.

Favorite song? Why?

I don’t have one. It’s constantly changing. I’ll have something on repeat for 4 weeks, then it will change. I do have a favorite artist though, which is Sam Smith. All of their songs fall under the umbrella of my “favorite.”

What do you think of Social Media?

It’s a double-edged sword. I think it’s a cool thing where people can come together and share things. It can be a nice place of community. But it can also be bad by creating a space and an ability to treat people not so nicely.

Where we can follow you?

Instagram: @josephinerelli. Also Apple Music and Spotify.

Book: Any Sherlock Holmes book.

TV Series: M*A*S*H*!

Favorite Food: Eggs.

Travel Destination: Anywhere really, but let’s say Italy.

Sports Team: I don’t really have one. But whatever team my brother ends up on in college, that will become my favorite.



Photos: Courtesy of Josephine Relli