Josephine Philip may have just released her debut solo record but she is by no means a new name on the block. The singer has been working alongside many local and international artists in a diverse combination of projects, ranging from choirs to ska bands, and experimental outfits. Her solo work focuses on the voice as a tool of finding creative identity. We Get Lost and Found was released earlier this year and is an homage to the artist’s beginnings of music making with a guitar and a voice. Decades after discovering her talent, and with it the dream of working as musician, the artist rediscovers the joy of singing.

“When I finally discovered my voice, a new world opened up to me”, she says about her beginnings. When reflecting on her journey of the past years, shaped by collaborations, new connections, and motherhood, the singer says she was not even sure if she wanted to make music anymore. “I couldn’t figure out where I belonged”, Josephine adds.

“I had been in a dark hole, which kind of shut down my fire, but after going back to basics and remembering what I love about performing and writing music, it became healing.”

Solo But Not As In Solitude

Photo by Fryd Frydendahl

We Get Lost and Found is a document of that healing process the singer went through. It’s mellow arrangements varying from jazzy, to folky, and gentle RnB beats put her breathy voice at the center stage. It transports emotions through its raspy imperfections, highs and lows, that match the narratives of the lyrics. Deliverance of example strikes a darker note, while her voice soars to highs on Little Boy. In the process of reconnecting with her voice and finding her musical “language”, the artist allowed herself to invite collaborator Lasse Martinussen, who also produced for her band Darkness Falls.

“Even though I was making a solo album I did not have to make it in solitude.” The two musicians ended up working on We Get Lost and Found together to make it the versatile and genre-bending record it came out to be. It is shaped by the voice and the melody of the lyrics. The singer tells me, that the entire production process came after the songwriting to ensure the vocals to be the leading element. In the limited instrumentation, the true skill of production can be seen and the spacious and minimal compositions highlight the vocal range of the singer. The arrangement provides a soft bedding for the vocals and enhances the mood created by Josephine Philip’s voice.

Duality of Life

The character of the record is reflected in its title. It is a transitional record of the lost and found voice of a singer. As for many artists, the pandemic put a hamper on Josephine Philip’s creative process. Finally finding the language for her solo record current developments made it hard for the singer. “Nothing felt sure”, she says. But she learned to embrace the lost as well as the found moments of life.

“I have always been very interested in duality of life, that nothing is either/or but rather both, if that makes sense. There is a lot of melancholy in my songs but also hope. For me it can’t have one thing without the other. I need to get lost before I can be found.”

She Said

We Get Lost and Found reflects personal struggles and hopes. She Said for example, is a song about womanhood told from two perspectives. Since the singer had her own child, her perspective on life changed influencing her creative work. “It is not all about me, but about them – my family. I have two girls and I feel a huge responsibility prepping them for the world that they are growing up in which is quote different than the world I grew up in.”

The song tells a story from two perspectives: “One perspective is young, carefree and full of hope, but also insecure and scared to make the wrong decisions. The other perspective is delivered from an older narrator, that has lived life. She is singing to her younger self, wanting to give advice but not wanting to interfere because she knows that life has to be lived and experienced, good or bad, wild and mundane. In regard to motherhood, I of course want to give them all the advice I can but also know that they have to make their own decisions. That includes both good and bad. Most of all I want them to believe in themselves. The song is a celebration of all women and a reminder to believe in oneself.”

Mother and Artist

Working in the music industry, and any industry for that matter, as a woman is difficult. More so once one becomes a mother. “There is still along way to go, but things are progressing in the right direction”, Josephine says referencing the cover of Vogue that the pregnant Rihanna graced not long ago. “That would have been a huge no go just a couple of years ago, so that is progress and it feels like something is changing. But I also have had experiences with judgement from other people.”

Now as the mother of two, who keeps working not just as a musician in collaborative projects but also continues to explore her solo expression, Josephine had to face the preconceptions and stereotypes of motherhood. She tells the story of when she was on tour with Trentemøller, which had been arranged so that she could join for a few shows in the beginning, while having a baby of six months. “I remember people around be being quite shocked that I would allow myself to be away from my daughter. It made me feel bad. Why should my daughter not be safe with her father? I also had people asking me what I intended to do now in life since I was pregnant because surely I could not keep on living the life of an artist.”

We Get Lost and Found

With her solo debut Josephine Philip shows that instead of being held down by motherhood, like many assumed, it actually made her even stronger as an artist. Her changed perspective on life allows her to write lyrics that penetrate personal struggles and relationship with a fine-tuned eye. Women and mothers have to prove themselves over and over again in the male-dominated industry. Regardless of the strength that constant resistance costs, Josephine Philip created an immersively poetic debut record that is inspired by great female artists like Nina Simone and reminds women across the globe to not let themselves be held back by the restraints imposed by society.

Every Monday the treasure hunt squad from the NBHAP staff is bringing an exciting new artist to your attention along with a 30-track-strong Introducing Playlist over on Spotify as we add ten strong songs by fresh acts on top of it. Feel invited to follow the playlist and give these talents a good spin.

This week’s picks include brand new music from artists like Lowly, Rigmor, and CTM. Come and hit the play button.