By Stevie Connor.
‘Kindred’ is the current album by the soulful singer-songwriter Josephine Oniyama, who is based in Liverpool but was born and raised in Manchester. Released digitally in late 2022, the album is now being made available in expanded CD and digital formats that contain three bonus songs.
‘Get Into Danger’ is a collaboration with Oniyama’s long-standing live guitarist Steve Marsden, ‘Made For Love’ was written and produced with the Hamburg collective that contributed to much of ‘Kindred’, while ‘Desert Without A Stream’ was included on the German CD format of her ‘Portrait’ album released a decade ago but has never been released in the UK until now.
With five of its songs released as singles, ‘Kindred’ reintroduced Oniyama to fans after a period out of the spotlight. While reviewers compared her favourably to the likes of Joni Mitchell and Joan Armatrading, she explained that its songs “focus on human connections, friendship, family, love and being strong through adversity. It’s about going on a journey together and sharing life with others and each of us striving to be the best we can be along the way.”
‘Kindred’ appeared a full decade after ‘Portrait’, which itself had been issued to stunning reviews that praised its fusion of folk, soul, Afrobeat and jazz. Songs from it were playlisted at BBC Radio 2, with further support from 6 Music, XFM and Jazz FM, while Oniyama also performed on Later With Jools Holland, The Andrew Marr Show and more. High profile support slots, festival appearances and extensive tours helped solidify her burgeoning reputation and also saw her noticed by a diverse selection of her peers, leading to collaborations with rock band Travis and jazz producer/trumpeter Matthew Halsall.
Oniyama was subsequently commissioned to compose scores for the launch of HOME, the Manchester international contemporary arts centre, which expanded her creative ideas and skills as a songwriter, arranger and sound artist. Some of her thoughts about her writing process appeared in an interview with Songwriting Magazine in 2022 and have just been republished online.
Oniyama also spent time earning an MA degree in English and became a mother while writing and recording ‘Kindred'.
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