Portland, OR-based sibling indie pop trio Joseph — Natalie Closner Schepman and her two, younger twin sisters Meegan and Allison — derive their name from two different sources: their grandfather Jo and the tiny town of Joseph, OR, in which he was born and raised. The Closner Sisters grew up in a musical household: their dad was a jazz singer and drummer, while their mom was a theater teacher. But their group can trace its origins back to around 2014: Closner Schepman had been pursuing a career as a singer/songwriter, recruited her sisters to join her in a new project.
When the Closners began working together, they quickly recognized an irresistible and undeniable creative chemistry.
The trio quickly developed a reputation for playing intimate house shows, in which they would accompany themselves with acoustic guitar and a foot drum. Within their first yet of being a group, they self-released their debut, 2014s Native Dreamer Kin, which caught the attention of ATO Records, who signed the group the following year.
After releasing 2015’s, ATO Sessions EP, an acoustic, two song, digital EP and accompanying video series, the sibling trio went on to release their Mike Mogis-produced, label debut 2016’s I’m Alone, No You’re Not, which featured the smash hit “White Flag.” “White Flag” landed on Spotify’s US Viral Top Ten Chart within days of its release. By that October, the track landed at #1 on the Adult Alternative Charts.
Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the trio made appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Later . . . with Jools Holland, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Conan, CBS This Morning and Today. They also opened for James Bay during a sold out, 2016 arena tour — and they made festival stops at Coachella, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Newport Folk Festival, Sasquatch Festival, Glastonbury Festival, Outside Lands Festival, Pilgrimage Music Festival and several others.
2019’s Christian “Leggy” Langdon-produced album Good Luck, Kid saw the trio pushing their sound in a grittier, more dynamic direction while retaining the gorgeous harmonies and earnest vocal deliveries that won them acclaim across the blogosphere and elsewhere. “The through-line of the album is this idea of moving into the driver’s seat of your own life-recognizing that you’re an adult now, and everything’s up to you from this moment on,” Natalie Closner Schepman says in press notes. “You’re not completely sure of how to get where you need to go, and you don’t have any kind of a map to help you. It’s just the universe looking down on you like, ‘Good luck, kid.’”
The sibling trio’s fourth official album, the Tucker Martine and Christian “Leggy” Langdon co-produced The Sun is slated for an April 28, 2023 release through their longtime label home ATO Records. The album reportedly sees the group working with a collection of new collaborators and making yet another vibrant sonic shift while retaining the craft, three-part harmonies and hard-fought and harder-won lyrical wisdom that they’ve been known for throughout their career. But unlike its predecessors, The Sun sees the sibling trio taking a decidedly more hands-on role in the production process. The result is an album of material that sees Joseph spinning incredibly complex concepts into anthemic, sing-along ready pop that serves as a backdrop for the trio’s fearless and deeply personal storytelling from each of their perspectives.
Thea album sees the trio focusing their soul-searching songwriting on the quietly damaging force that keep us from living fully in our truth — e.g., gaslighting, cultural condition, unconscious yet painfully limiting self-beliefs and the like. Drawing on hard lessons from relationships and personal growth through therapy, The Sun reportedly shares stories of taking control of your own fate, making difficult decisions in the name of becoming yourself and weathering the highs and lows of love while keeping the faith — and tending to ourselves with presence and compassion. “All of our therapists were a huge influence on this album,” the sibling trio say in press notes.
The Sun‘s first single “Nervous Single” is a punchy pop song rooted in deep, personal experience, rousingly anthemic, sing-along friendly hooks and big-hearted, heart-on-sleeve compassion. Fittingly the song — and its narrator — discusses being our own lifeline during times of anxiety, struggle and uncertainty. “It’s about self regulating and tending to ourselves with presence and compassion, rather than frantically reaching outside of ourselves,” the trio explain. Alison Closner adds “I’ve struggled with a lot of anxiety over the years, at times a constant inner storm, and it’s been easy to look outside myself to feel safe and secure. I’ve fought to find my inner peace, and through that process I’ve found that so much of the time I already have what it takes to calm my nervous system.”
Directed by Vanessa Pla, the accompanying woozy video for “Nervous System” features the sibling trio in matching sienna-colored suits with blue tops and black boots in a blue and white background. Through the use of spinning camera, slow pans and surreal activities, the video evokes and emphasizes the song’s central themes.