Artist Spotlight: Cozy
Columns / February 24, 2017
Debut album representative of Josie Patterson’s creative self-reclamation
Alyssa Laube, Associate Editor
In her kitchen lit by the early morning sun, Josie Patterson of Cozy slides two plates of fried raspberry jam sandwiches onto a small wooden table. Through laptop speakers, Cozy’s unreleased debut record fills the room. Chirpy notes of ukulele and Patterson’s soft warbling rises above the first noisy bites of breakfast and clatter of dishes.
Leaning back in her chair, she starts to talk about how she got her start in music, beginning in the dog days of her childhood.
Growing up, Patterson’s dad was in a band called the Bluegrasstafarians, and he encouraged her to play music throughout her life. That encouragement payed off in noticeable ways. Patterson joined the Vancouver Children’s Choir before she even got into Kindergarten, and would later go on to attend fine arts school, learn to play tuba, trumpet, piano, ukelele, didgeridoo, bass, and drums, and write and perform original music in her community.
Patterson’s dad has been sending her old recordings and videos from her childhood to incorporate into the album over the past year. Some of those are now interludes on her first record, Cozy, which is set to be released this April.
“It’s hard to talk about the album as a whole because it’s so many different parts of my life from so many different times of my life. The clips of me as a kid and two of the songs were written from when I was like, 14, and most of the rest have been written in the past two or three years,” says Patterson.
“With this [record], it’s just me, and that’s the project. That’s what makes it cohesive, which is exciting. I picked these songs because they were the most me at the time.”
Cozy has strong rhythm and blues roots with a folky undercurrent. On most tracks, Patterson writes on ukulele and raps over a sunny, head-bopping melody reminiscent of early 2000’s funk, pop, and hip hop. The result is a fun and smooth sound bursting with personality.
As a composer, she hopes that listeners will pay close attention to her lyrics at the same time as they sway and sing along to the new tracks.
“When it comes to writing music, I always feel like the words are more important to me than the melodies. It all works together to be cohesive, but I like people to hear what I’m saying,” she says. “I like to imagine people in a car singing along to a couple of them, at least. I mean, some of the songs are quite contemplative. Some of them are ‘putting on and sewing’ kind of music, for chilling out on your own and listening.”
On a personal level, the record is about reclamation of self. Patterson is outwardly feminist with her music and intentionally weaves strong narratives into songs like “Famous”, where the words “non-binary labia” and “misogynist” are belted out clearly and unapologetically. Focusing on female empowerment is one way that she has found strength in her own identity, leveraging that fortitude to overcome hardships such as “being frustrated with someone or being in love with someone or both, needing to let go of people who are toxic to you, and falling into patterns of drivel.”
“It’s about holding space and giving myself a platform, and having a voice, and having confidence, or faking confidence, which is now turning into real confidence,” says Patterson. “Singing about how I’m totally going to be famous—that’s not necessarily what I aspire to, and I do say it quite literally in the song, but it’s more that I just want to provide for myself and the people that I love. If being hyper-confident and manifesting whatever success I can through hard work helps, I’m going to do it.”
Her first single as Cozy, “Let Go” was released on Feb. 10, and the second, “Famous”, will come out on Mar. 10. A release show is organized for the end of April, and those hoping to attend can stay tuned to her Facebook page at Josie Aileen Patterson.