For her debut body of work, Jofi, aka Josie Mann, a 21-year-old from Sydney, has employed her classical composition training. Combining her love for pop, indie and soul music, Jofi has released two debut singles that highlight her ability as a composer. Entitled ‘Before the Morning’ and ‘Fly Baby Fly’, this double release highlights the potential of this singer songwriter.
The two tracks have very similar musical tones, being grounded in a light, ethereal style that delicately balances the different genre influences that Jofi draws upon. The main standout is her voice, not only in her ability but the way she uses it within the tracks. On both tracks it is gentle and soulfully smooth. It soars in the high melodic lines like “you can pull me along for the ride” on ‘Fly Baby Fly’, showing the emotive strength of her voice. While this is enough to warrant praise, Josie takes her role as a vocalist one step further and uses vocal harmonisation as an instrument. Throughout ‘Before The Morning’ in particular, the harmonies softly glide from the middle to the foreground. This has the same effect of conventional instrumentation, in adding some much-needed sonic depth, without compromising the delicate tone of the pieces. That is not to say these are acapella pieces. The instrumentation includes a deep bass line, some subtle drum machines and jazzy finger clicks. With her vocal work doing all the melodic work, this allows her to strip back the rest of the instrumentation, using it to maintain the rhythm and metre instead of intruding on the stellar harmonies. The way all these elements come together shows a compositional depth that is often lacking in the growing commercial simplicity in pop and indie music. The only aspect of these tracks that are lacking would be the lyrics. However, the generic love stories are a vehicle for the music, not the other way around. They serve their purpose, and provide room to grow for the next release.
All in all, this is a commendable debut release and it highlights the potential Jofi has in using her classical composition training in a contemporary style.