I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering the rising Québec-born and-based multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and producer Josie Boivin, the creative mastermind behind the critically applauded recording project and JOVM mainstay act MUNYA over the past couple of years.
And if you’ve been frequenting this site over that same period, you may recall that when Boivin was asked to play at 2017’s Pop Montreal, she had only written one song. Ironically, at the time, Boivin never intended to pursue music full-time; but after playing at the festival, she quickly realized that music was what she was meant to do. So, Boivin quit her day job, moved in with her sister and turned their kitchen into a home recording studio, where she wrote every day. Those recordings would become part of an EP trilogy with each individual EP named after a significant place in Boivin’s life: Her debut North Hatley EP derived its name from one of Boivin’s favorite little Québecois villages. Her second EP, the critically applauded Delmano EP derived its name from Williamsburg, Brooklyn-based bar Hotel Delmano. The third and final EP of the trilogy, Blue Pine derived its name from the Blue Pine Mountains in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks.
Since the release of her critically applauded EP trilogy, the Québecois JOVM mainstay has released a string of singles including the Washed Out-like “Pour Toi,” a single centered around the aching and unfulfilled longing of being forced to speak to a loved one from a distance. Boivin has also been busy working on her highly-anticipated full-length debut Voyage to Mars.
With a background in opera and jazz, Boivin’s life has been centered around two big dreams: to be a musician — and to go to Mars. “I love space. I love aliens. I love thinking that we’re not alone in this big strange universe,” she says. “Those things give me hope.” Naturally, that hope led to Voyage to Mars, an album that derives its title from Georges Méliès’ classic silent film Le Voyage dans la Lune. Slated for a November 5, 2021 release through Luminelle Recordings, the album’s material feels beamed in from another, more beautiful and whimsical world.
Last month, I wrote about Voyage to Mars‘ first official single “Cocoa Beach.” Deriving its title from the name of a Florida town, located about 15 miles from the John F. Kennedy Space Center, the song features a driving and funky bass line, four-on-the-floor, squiggling Nile Rodgers-like guitar, glistening synth arpeggios and Boivin’s dreamily coquettish vocals singing lyrics in English and French. The song is centered around the JOVM mainstay’s unerring knack for crafting a razor sharp, infectious hook — and fittingly, a ton of space and space travel-related imagery.
“’Cocoa Beach’ is a song about being fearless, about finding your inner force and embracing failure as your path to happiness,” Boivin explains in press notes. “It’s about pushing yourself over your limits and accomplishing the impossible through sheer force of will. It takes courage, dedication and many failures to reach your dreams…and that is the origin story of MUNYA.”
Voyage to Mars‘ latest single is a slow-burning cover of The Smashing Pumpkins‘ “Tonight, Tonight.” The cover sees the JOVM mainstay stripping some of the original’s bombast away for an intimate, bedroom pop-like production centered around shimmering and reverb drenched guitars and skittering beats paired with Boivin’s ethereal and plaintive vocals. But what the MUNYA covers does is retain the song’s melancholy and wistful air within a breezy, hook driven framework.
“My sister shared the ‘Tonight, Tonight’ video with me at a very young age, I vividly remember feeling certain emotions for the first time: longing, sadness and a hopeful melancholy,” Boivin says in press notes. “In a weird way it was also my introduction to exploring space and the infinite possibilities that humans can achieve if they embrace the urgency of now. With everything going on, I felt like it was time to share my love for this song and hopefully inspire a new generation to realize life is a galaxy of endless possibilities, as long as we don’t hesitate and act now.”