The buzz is brewing locally about the artist Josephine Mills and her sounds coming out of Orleans Records. She signed with Orleans in November of 2001 and her debut release “THIS IS LOVE” brings listeners on a wonderful journey through Josephine’s Soulful Rhythm & Blues. She is a breath of fresh air within an industry that tends to just stick with acts that follow musical trends and has proven that there is great music out there to experience.Share
Josephine’s career started when she was just a little girl, as she says. She believes to be great at something you have to work a lifetime at it and that is exactly her goal. Her background is rooted deeply in a supportive and musical family, the daughter of Rudy Mills of Rudy’s Caribbean Funk Band, and the cousin of famous R&B diva Betty Wright. Josephine’s style is reminiscent of such artists as Faith Evans, Chaka Khan, and Aretha Franklin. Her voice is strong and powerful, yet whispery and seductive at times. She possesses a voice and power to win over audiences with her sound.
After signing with Orleans Records, Josephine’s name did not waste any time getting around town. She was given the honor of singing backup for Allen Toussaint at the 2002 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. After the Jazz Fest Josephine was invited to perform in New Orleans at the Cutting Edge Roots Music Gathering in August of 2002. She received grand applause from the French Quarter crowd at the Blue Nile Cabaret. Josephine’s next performance was at the Inter-Fest Music and Cultural Festival at Congo Square in September where she was brought back for an encore performance.
Josephine Mills communicates directly to the heart and soul of her audience. Her songs overflow with emotion. She was born to sing.
Orleans Records has a fresh voice with Josephine Mills, a very modern type of R&B star in the making. Mills is definitely a neoclassicist in the mold of Alicia Keys or Erykah Badu: she’s not living in the musical past, but she’s also not indulging in those appallingly blues-free vocal gymnastics that pass for soul these days.
Her debut album, “This is Love”, contains no hip-hop as might be expected from a new R&B artist; Mills’ approach is decidedly jazzier and imbued with the spirit of New Orleans funk. The title track is darkly insinuating, as Mills soars over popping bass, keyboard filigrees and Spanish guitar, while “Don’t Wait for Me”is excellent modern-day Soulquarian torch music. The real standout, however, is the slow burn of “Being Myself”, where the singer conjures up an electronically treated version of classic Atlantic label Aretha while Allen Poche lays down gently distorted guitar runs that sound like Ernie Isley gone classical. Josephine Mills may not have launched herself into the first rank of modern soul with this debut, but she’s certainly skipped over a number of rungs on the ladder.
Offbeat Magazine, May 2003