We met with singer Josie Dunne at her Atlantic Records offices in Manhattan recently. We love her song “Old School,” and we were able to sing with her.
What was the first song you ever wrote?
The first song I ever wrote was about my brother going to college, and it’s called “Colorado.” But the first song I ever wrote that I thought, Oh, this feels like me, was the song “Old School,” which is going to be my first single.
What inspired you to write “Old School”?
I wanted to make the feeling I got from my parents. You know — you look up to your parents. And they love each other so much, so when I was writing “Old School” I was kind of thinking about them, thinking they have such a great love story. I wanted to write a song about that. But also about guys treating girls the right way.
Who are some singers from the past that you like and admire?
I really love Aretha Franklin and Amy Winehouse and Etta James. A bunch of the Motown soul people. When I was growing up, it was Britney Spears and Aaron Carter and a lot of pop people that maybe you haven’t heard of, but are kind of older. I try to blend those worlds when I do music.
What color car would you be in, and why?
I like red the best. I like the ’60s, and that reminds me of old-school cars, and they’re kind of red. It’s just a classic color, I think.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to be in the music industry?
I’d say just practice all the time. I think that’s the most important thing, to be writing or playing your instrument or singing all the time. And that will help you, I think.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully, playing a tour. And I’ll hopefully have you guys there, too. But I would be probably on tour, maybe around the world. I want to travel a lot, so that would be fun.
What inspires you at this very moment?
There’s a lot of young pop girls that are coming up right now, like Dua Lipa, who are making really cool music. Right now I’m really inspired by them.
What was the most memorable experience in your music career?
Just an hour ago, I got to play for a big group of people at Atlantic, and that was really cool. I love being on Atlantic because it has so much history within the label, and everybody I’ve met cares about the artists so much. So that was, honestly, probably up there for me.
What instruments do you play?
I play bass, guitar, ukulele — which was my first instrument — and piano, and I just started playing the trumpet.
When did you know you wanted to spend the rest of your life being in music?
When I was in fourth grade, I took singing lessons from my cousin, who lived two doors down. And it was from then that I got the confidence to start singing in front of people and playing around.
Do you have time for a love life?
You ask the hard-hitting questions! Not right now, but hopefully in the future.
What is one place you have not traveled to yet but hope to soon?
I really want to go to Australia. I’m into fish and marine biology, so I want to go scuba diving there.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.
Are you working on anything?
I’ll have a couple of other songs coming out, and later in 2018 my whole EP is coming out.
What is the best advice given to you?
My parents always tell me just do what you love, and stuff will happen. That’s what I think has been the best advice I’ve gotten, because right now I’m sitting here and I am so happy. I love my job.
If you could to sing with any other singer, who would it be?
I want to do doo-wop with Stevie Wonder. But I also love Tori Kelly. She’s a really good singer.
What was your favorite place where you have performed?
My favorite place would have to be my high school. The high school I went to has a big assembly, and when I was a senior at high school I played a song there. Just to play in front of my friends is fun, you know.
What do you like to do when you’re not doing music?
I like movies, so I watch a lot of documentaries. I like to do that and learn instruments.
Is it fun to be noticed in public now that you’re famous?
Not that many people are noticing me yet, but I think it will be fun when people start to notice me.
Do you have one special memory from your childhood?
I had a lot of pets growing up. I used to have a pet pig in my house. Isn’t that crazy? A lot of my memories are of walking the pig down the street, and I used to snuggle up with the pig, too. It’s really funny.
Jennifer DeCarlo and Robyn Grieco’s fifth-grade class, Nokomis Elementary School, Holbrook