Bluesfest locals: Josephine Leone

July 7th, 2022 by  |  Published in Bluesfest locals, Features, Interviews, News

Josephine Leone - promo

Josephine Leone

The Bluesfest locals series will introduce you to the talented music makers from the Ottawa area performing at this year’s RBC Bluesfest. Come on out early to Bluesfest and discover some great new music!

Josephine Leone

Sunday, July 10
6:30pm to 7:30pm
River Stage


Named after front woman Valerie-Josephine and the Latin word for lion, Ottawa-based band JΘSΞPHINΞ LEΦNE pulls their influences from bands like Nirvana, Beth Hart, and The Black Keys. With some blues, soul and funk thrown in the mix, they describe their sound as Scrunge Rock. Gritty vocals, swampy funk grooves and fuzzy riffs permeate their songs.

JΘSΞPHINΞ LEΦNE has been gaining recognition in their hometown since 2015. They’ve performed at venues and festivals across Ontario and Quebec, sharing the stage with great talent such as Bif Naked and The Pack AD as well as performing in front of over 10,000 people with Trooper and Loverboy at Kemptville Live Music Festival.

Their first release, a self-titled EP recorded and produced entirely by the band members, came out in 2016 with several songs earning plays on Ottawa’s alternative rock station Live 88.5 FM as well as rotation on numerous campus stations. Next, the band released a series of singles with accompanying music videos in anticipation for their first ever full length album “Gold In The Fire” released October 19, 2019. The first taste of this album was a live off the floor version of “Never Satisfied” which landed plays on radio and podcasts around the world and in late 2018 the album’s first official single “Watch Out” was released. Next they released “Vice Grip” followed by “So Fine” in spring 2019, both receiving enthusiastic feedback with their accompanying provocative music videos.

After a successful Ontario tour in fall 2019 that was topped off with the “Gold In The Fire” album release party, the band was gaining incredible momentum. JΘSΞPHINΞ LEΦNE was scheduled to play at the Ottawa Bluesfest in the summer of 2020 and anticipated a busy year playing festivals and venues across Canada. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancellation of all major shows and forced the band to delay their plans to tour the country. However, with COVID-19 restrictions finally appearing to ease up, the members of JΘSΞPHINΞ LEΦNE are very excited and optimistic about getting back on stage this summer.

The Talent

Josephine Leone – Vocals, Guitar
Peter Gene – Drums, Backing Vocals
Nik Moisan – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Nico Rioux – Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals


What was your reaction to the news you’d be a part of Bluesfest and who was the first person you told?
Peter: We were all very excited. We were originally asked in 2020 but of course it was cancelled due to the pandemic. We were happy to see that in 2021 the Bluesfest organizers decided to honor their initial performance offers but as we all know, the festival was cancelled again. Because of this, it wasn’t as much of a surprise that we got the offer again for this year, however, it was still very exciting.

With our original offer in 2020, the first person I told was my best friend, Mallory. I remember being so excited to tell her that I called and messaged her phone off the hook as she didn’t answer right away. When I finally got a hold of her she was equally as excited and told me she was definitely coming with her whole family to see our show. I’ll never forget this conversation as it was unfortunately the last time I ever spoke to her. She tragically passed away a couple of days later.

Please describe your sound.
Josephine: We pull a lot of influences from bands like Nirvana, Beth Hart, and The Black Keys. With some blues, soul and funk thrown in the mix, we describe our sound as Scrunge Rock. We like to use gritty vocals, swampy funk grooves and fuzzy riffs.

How did you get started on your musical journey?
Josephine: I started playing music later in life compared to many people. I started singing in church when I was about 25 years old. A little while later someone gave me a guitar and it seemed to come naturally to me to start writing songs. I had always had certain grooves and melodies playing in my head and it just felt great to be able to bring them to life with my guitar and my voice.

What can music fans expect from your show? Will you be playing any new music at Bluesfest and/or releasing new music ahead of your performance?
Josephine: Most of our set will consist of new songs that we’ve written over the last couple of years. It’s quite exciting for us as we haven’t performed or released these songs yet and we are looking forward to seeing the reaction from the crowd. Since we released our first album “Gold In The Fire” in the fall of 2019 our song writing has taken a bit of a different direction and we really like it.

What artists are you hoping to catch during this year’s Bluesfest?
Josephine: Definitely Sue Foley!

Peter: I’m really looking forward to seeing Nathaniel Rateliff and Alannis Morissette. It’s pretty cool that all the artists that Josephine and I really want to see are actually playing on the same day as us. If we were going to buy tickets for just one day it would be for that day.

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