Former Belmont student Josie Dunne has received national acclaim following the release of her highly-anticipated debut single, “Old School,” and its charming music video earlier this month.
The song and video tell the heartfelt story of her parents’ marriage and was filmed in the actual neighborhood where Marty and Marcy Dunne grew up together in the ’60s.
“For my first big release, my first music video and my introduction to the world, I really wanted my family to be a part of it,” said Dunne. “I’m so close with them, and they’re so much a part of who I am.”
Dunne’s debut has been a long time coming. She signed a deal with Atlantic records when she was just 17 and over the last several years has worked with the label to find her voice as an artist.
“Atlantic has been so crazy supportive and just to be on their roster among my heroes is surreal,” said Dunne. “I really think that my team has been so responsible for my development as an artist. They really helped me figure out what I want to say and how I want to say it.”
The Illinois native flew to Nashville almost every month throughout high school to meet with the label. This made Belmont a perfect college choice for her, placing her right at the heart of Music City. However, as her opportunities in the industry grew, she was forced to leave Belmont to focus all her time on her budding career.
“I really felt at home at Belmont, so it was hard for me to leave,” said Dunne. “But just from a time commitment standpoint, I was having trouble doing school and music as seriously as I wanted to do both.”
Now that Dunne has released her debut, her years of hard work are really starting to pay off.
“Old School” is unapologetically fun, with bouncy hooks and a funky pop sound that is guaranteed to be stuck in your head for days.
This unique brand of soulful pop comes from Dunne’s diverse musical influences.
“I grew up on a lot of old Motown and R&B soul,” Dunne said. “So I think part of what I try to do with my music is in that vein of Aretha Franklin, Amy Winehouse — who is one of my favorites — and Ray Charles. I feel like that’s kind of my base.”
Combining these inspirations with the pop she grew up hearing on the radio shaped her unique sound.
“That gave me such a love for pop music, so I’ve tried with my own stuff to blend those two worlds,” Dunne said.
“Old School” perfectly pairs this style with her proclivity for good storytelling and deep-rooted love for her family. The video starts from her parents’ births — five days apart at the same hospital — and chronicles their relationship, from childhood best friends, to madly in love, to parents.
“My parents are super cool, and their story is amazing,” Dunne said. “I write love songs every day, and I’m always thinking about their love story, because they’re the ones who taught me how guys are supposed to treat girls and vice versa.”
Dunne will be releasing her first EP later this year. But in the meantime, she will continue to look to her parents’ model — both in music and in her personal life.
“My friends all say good luck finding somebody, because there’s no way you can match that story,” said Dunne with a laugh. “But I’m still not going to settle.”
Photo courtesy of Warner Music Group