As a recent UCLA graduate, Josephine Tehrani first started a music career with her four-song album “Love Trap,” yet she now enters a new stage of success with further releases and her upcoming album “Chasing High.” Maintaining the motto “Stay Weird,” the musician commits herself to individuality and creativity within the artistic sphere. As a young musician in a competitive industry, Josephine strives to stay unique and boldly use her voice. We took some time to talk to Josephine about her new releases and projects:
This year, you released the single “Okay,” which holds a dark, electronic tone while discussing the difference between actions and words. The person in the song never changes, although they say that they’ll stay, according to the lyrics. This seems to accompany your story that you’ve been telling throughout your past music– how does “Okay” create its own chapter within this story, and what was the writing process like?
In relinquishing power and our need for control is when we find it. – “Okay” is about that. It’s the saying “acceptance is the first step” – this is about acceptance being the last step – the closure. When we can say – “I omit to you the power you hold over me, you win” we finally become free. The most power a person has is when they know their truth so well they no longer have to speak on it – all they say is “Okay”.
I’ve been listening to a lot of alternative rock/ indie – Panic At the Disco’s “Fever..”, SZA’s “Z”, Lana’s “Paradise” – they all served as inspirations for the song. I love guitars and I wanted the distorted electric sound so we started with a guitar riff and the rest just flowed. We recorded it in one take – I usually like to go back and make adjustments but as its a f*** off ode, I wanted to keep the integrity of the song.
Your other release this year was “Friends,” with a personal selfie of you with a guy. What was the inspiration behind this album art, and how does it relate to the song that you wrote?
Friends is about falling in love with your best friend..it was autobiographical – the lyrics in that song were all based in reality – “Hold my hair back when I’m nauseous/ Always vulnerable with no cautious” one time he picked me up from a party and let’s just say I wasn’t feeling too well and he took care of me, walked me into my house etc. it’s the type of friendship you don’t find everyday. As for the guy in the picture… I’ll let you guess if it’s him or not 🙂
You’re releasing a new EP this summer called “Chasing High”– will this be continuing the same story of “Love Trap,” or will it be taking a completely different route? What is your core message and purpose through this EP?
Chasing High is a prequel to Love Trap. We become consumed by the stereotypes of high school (Chasing High) setting the lifelong pattern of “social normalness” causing us to use vices to numb ourselves and escape who we really are (Love Trap).
High school is a heightened example of the rest of our lives. It’s where we learn to either let the box define us or we define the box.
Chasing High is a commentary on our first “highs” and how they set the pace for the rest of our lives as we continue chasing these highs, instant gratification vs. delayed, lust vs. love, real vs. fake.
The motto “Stay Weird” has stuck with you throughout your entire career. How are you continuing and furthering upon this phrase as you are creating more music? How does “Chasing High” play into this movement?
Chasing High plays into this movement because high school was the prime of my weirdness. I wore du-rags to school, I cut my clothes and would wear my own designs, I was loud, aggressive and unabashed. I would run around making sounds and making up words, yelling for no reason (gotta use that projection ;).
I wore what I wanted, said what I wanted and was exactly who I wanted to be. High school is extremes. There are those of us who fit in in high school and so we spend the rest of our lives making sure we fit into every thing and those of us who don’t fit in so we make our own box. I was the latter. I never really fit in so I made my own mark – I was a drama nerd but I had popular friends too. I was in honors but on the tennis team as well. I was undefined and that is what stays weird is about – undefinededness. I am and will forever remain undefined. No one will define me or put a label. I’m the pretty girl, the smart girl, the creative girl the funny girl – I am who I decide to be and that’s how we should all live our lives.
I take this approach with my music as well — I’m an American jewish persian girl who grew up on middle eastern music, pop, hip-hop, and jazz. My sound is boundless and ebbs and flows between soul and pop and alt r&b. I’ll throw in whatever sounds good. Who knows maybe one day I’ll sing in Hebrew or Farsi. I do what I want – I focus on how I want to feel, I don’t believe in having one sound. My sound is me. 🙂
Lastly, you are traveling all over performing your music, introducing your art to hundreds of listeners with each concert. What have you learned about yourself as an artist ever since you first started producing music?
Stay weird pretty much sums it up… no matter where I go or what I do I keep myself grounded and I count on the people I trust and love to keep me grounded and sane. If I don’t want to do something I won’t do it – I don’t care who will be there or what they can do for my career etc. — I made a decision early in my career that my mental health and the happiness of those around me are my priorities. My art, my uniqueness, my gift, my ability to inspire and share my light with people — that is all within me – money, success, fame, those are all just cherries.
Like what you read? See more at itsjustjosephine.com.