Fringe preview: Kathryn Joseph
This year’s SAY Award victor brings her winning talent to the Fringe
This article is from 2015.
Anyone who keeps an eye on the Scottish music scene knows that the SAY (Scottish Album of the Year) Award is a respected arbiter of the state of the nation’s fertile music scene, but it really came into its own last year when the winner also happened to claim that year’s Mercury Prize – Edinburgh’s Young Fathers, one of the most exciting and uncategorisable propositions to have landed in UK music in recent years. The momentum in the Scottish scene at the moment is further demonstrated by this year’s winner, Aberdonian singer-songwriter Kathryn Joseph, whose music exists at the opposite end of the scale from Young Fathers, but whose talent is considerable.
A singer who creates sparse, breathy piano ballads which reveal a unique voice (but listen closely and you can hear the controlled vocal drama of Tori Amos or Kate Bush, and a folksy edge reminiscent of Joni Mitchell), Joseph sings with truth and experience in her voice. A 40-year-old mother who left an unsatisfactory deal with Sanctuary two decades ago and waited in bars while playing music for herself, she overcame her natural shyness at last when a chance encounter with local producer Marcus Mackay led to the creation of Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled and feverish interest when it became public. ‘I hadn’t really felt in control of it before,’ she says, referring to her first go at making music. ‘So I turned my back and came back. This is the first time I’ve worked on something that’s made sense to me, that I’ve wanted other people to hear.’
Kathryn Joseph supports Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat as part of Nothing Ever Happens Here, Summerhall, 560 1581, 12 Aug, 8pm, £16 (£14).