“The impact and emotion that translates freely through his music is reminiscent of James Blake with a slightly more poppy overtone.” – tmrw
Joseph Reuben’s career is in the ascendancy after releasing his debut tracks ‘Dreamland’and ‘Life In Colour’this year, earning the attention of tmrw and Cool Hunting. It also took him to the main stage of this summer’s Wilderness Festival where he set the tone for the day ahead of sets from Jamie XX, Rudimental and Loyle Carner. Now Joseph builds on that early attention by sharing his new single ‘Maybe, In California’. Listen HERE.
‘Maybe, In California’ finds Joseph Reuben conveying a nostalgia for ‘70s singer-songwriters such as Lee Hazlewood through the modernity and detailed textures of James Blake’s production style. Like ‘Dreamland’ before it, ‘Maybe, In California’ has a widescreen cinematic atmosphere, but this time it’s a melancholy ballad that eventually sweeps with a majestic grandeur.
“‘Maybe, In California’ is about searching endlessly for another place,” says Joseph. “Constantly asking, maybe, I’ll feel happier over here? As a kid growing up in an orthodox upbringing in north-west London, I would get lost in Hollywood films and wish I could exist inside them. After living in Los Angeles for a year-and-a-half, I came to realise the fantasy of it you’d see in films was different to the reality of it. Although I had many wild experiences there, I found LA to be a pretty lonely and dark place.”
‘Maybe, In California’ was written the very next day after Joseph wrote ‘Dreamland’, with both songs emerging from his fruitful, month-long Song A Day writing project. He wrote, produced and performed the song himself, with a little help from his brothers David King Reuben (additional lyrics) and Danny Reuben (production edits). Joseph then mixed the track with Goetz Botzenhardt (Björk, Pet Shop Boys).
As ‘Maybe, In California’ suggests, film is a big influence on Joseph’s creativity, especially when it comes to narratives that put a grittier spin on iconic Los Angeles locations (‘Drive’, ‘True Romance’) or the bright palette and dreamlike filters of Wes Anderson, a style which informs his own visual aesthetic.
Both ‘Maybe, in California’ and ‘Dreamland’ play on similar themes: a fantasy of a utopian world or often thinking in any given situation that the grass could be greener – even if deep down there’s a realisation that’s not really true.
Joseph Reuben has battled against the odds to commence his solo career. He first came to attention with his soulful take on Robyn’s ‘Call Your Girlfriend’. But just as he began to build traction, he required emergency surgery which resulted in the devastating news that he may never sing again. Instead he channelled his talents into a successful vocation as a score composer for film, TV, theatre and ballet. But after years of gruelling vocal rehabilitation, Joseph is now able to step back into the spotlight and focus on his long overdue solo work.
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