Glasgow & West Scotland

Who is 'Sound of 2020' contender Joesef?

Singer Joesef
Image caption Singer Joesef is only several months into his music career but has been nominated for a new music prize

It's fitting that singer Joesef has been compared to Sam Smith.

The 24-year-old from Glasgow's east end is following in his footsteps with a nomination for the Sound of 2020 prize, which the Dancing With A Stranger singer won in 2014.

Despite only performing his first gig this year, Joesef has made the long list of 10 rising acts in the running for BBC Music's new music award.

It is voted for by 170 music critics, broadcasters and DJs, as well as former nominees such as Billie Eilish and Scottish acts Lewis Capaldi and Chvrches.

The winner will be revealed in January, but until then, what do we know about this young crooner?

He has been compared to a long list of greats

Sam Smith is one, but Amy Winehouse is another. Joesef is proud to be in that company and get the nod from talented people.

"I feel like it's a massive heads-up I am doing something right," he said. "I still feel very new to this. but to get that kind of recognition this early on must be a good thing."

He credits his mum for his musical talents

He told BBC Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme: "Al Green and The Cure, The Mamas and the Papas, a big melting pot. I was brought up surrounded by music constantly. My mum always played tunes in the background, there was always the radio or records playing. I don't really come from a musical family but I owe my musical influences to that.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Joesef at the Scottish Music Awards 2019 with Be Charlotte and Tom Walker

He sold out King Tut's for his first gig

Joesef only started performing his music at the start of 2019.

His manager thought it would be hilarious to sell-out famous Glasgow live venue King Tut's for the first gig. He did.

Joesef said: "At the time I didn't even know the way to King Tut's. I wasn't that bothered by it until afterwards when I realised it was quite a prestigious venue.

"I have no frame of reference. I never did this before and I have no pals that have done this. I was working in a bar at the start of the year."

Incidentally, the last guy to manage that was another singer called Lewis Capaldi.


People thought he was a woman

People discovered his music before they knew who he was. He said: "I put a couple of clips up online at the end of last year and it started to catch on and people were saying 'Who is this guy?'.

"They thought I was a DJ and I was getting a woman in to sing for me."

'I'm a fetus'

Joesef only started making music about two years ago.

He was encouraged by his mate, who then became one of his managers, after singing, a bit worse-for-wear, at an open mic night.

Image caption Joesef in session at the BBC

He admitted; "I was a bit scared because if people came and the music was terrible then I would have flopped."

Bad relationships are his muse

He revealed: "It's an endlessly interesting subject to dissect things that happen. being lonely and having your heart broken is a universal feeling - it's good tune fodder.

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