Featured artist: Josephine Oniyama

Josephine Oniyama

Manchester’s soulful chanteuse Josephine Oniyama was brought up on a rich musical diet of everything from Joni Mitchell to Fela Kuti, and it shows.

She weaves her broad influence into well crafted nostalgic songs, which carry echoes of her early love of The Smiths and Motown, right through to the West African vocal style of her mother’s homeland and the singer songwriters she most resembles.

Born to a Jamaican father and a Liberian mother who came to the UK before her birth, Josephine’s upbringing provided a melting pot of influence which has shaped her sound.

So, for her effervescent 2012 debut album, Portrait, it was only fitting for her to draw in a wide range of musicians to help interpret her songs, from Polar Bear’s Seb Rochford to Ed Harcourt and composer Leo Abrahams.

The result was a warm, comfortable record which played that classic R&B sound against bossa nova, gospel and blues. It also earned her high praise from Guy Garvey and a host of music press.

But Josephine is no stranger to the world of music – she has been playing live since her teens with Jimmy Cliff, Paolo Nutini and, more recently, Michael Kiwanuka.

Now armed with funding from the latest round of PRS for Music Foundation’s Momentum Music Fund awards, she is busy working on her second album. And, if it’s anything like the first, we’re in for a real treat…