Not unlike many other aspiring performers, Josephine Relli turned 18 and she went straight to Hollywood.
She moved from Portland to Los Angeles last summer to build on her music career, while also making moves into modeling and acting. Just recently, she released a two-song EP, adding to her résumé that already included two other recordings, and also made an appearance on the red carpet at the Grammy Awards and other events, including the L.A. premiere of movies "1917" and "Bloodshot."
Such appearances led to photos in Cosmopolitan, Vogue and Glamour UK — nice exposure for somebody only months removed from home-schooling and playing gigs in Portland.
It's not easy making it in show biz, but it's been a pretty good start for Relli.
"My manager (Donjia Gale) lives in Los Angeles, that was a big reason for the move, so we could work more closely with my career," said Relli, who was born in Spokane, Washington, and lived in Minnesota before moving with her family to Portland at age 10. "I was having a great time in Portland, played lot of venues and met great people. But, I visited L.A. and there were more people to meet and places to go."
Relli has a publicity firm working on her behalf, and she has attended International Modeling and Talent Association training center and participated in high-end events with the likes of Macy's. She also made her onscreen debut in Chloe Sevigny's short film "Carmen."
It's all a bit of a whirlwind, and Relli said she feels in her element, albeit in a competitive world for singers, models and actors.
"It's definitely a huge mix of emotions," she said. "I find that I don't get as nervous as I was expecting I would get. It's rewarding in a way that small rewards lead up to something, which can be difficult. If you don't pay attention, you might miss something, or it slips by. I enjoy every part of the process. Things are moving. You gotta meet the right people, and figure out what you want to do, and build your skill set."
Relli was happy how the two-song EP turned out. "Slow Down" and "Falling" are based on her current romantic relationship, "about how a relationship can be good and honest, and falling in love with a person without intending to." They're available on iTunes and Spotify and other platforms.
She recorded her first album at age 13 ("Miscellaneous"), followed by an EP a few years later. While still fine-tuning her sound, Relli prides herself on avoiding genres, equally singing hip hop and R&B along with alternative and pop.
She comes from a family of music enthusiasts.
"My parents have a broad taste in music — my dad exposed me to AC/DC and Ray Charles, a ton of stuff, and mom liked modern music to the Bee Gees to 1990s hip hop," Relli said. Musical influences also include Jackie Wilson, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Sam Cooke, and 1950s music.
Relli played piano and sang in choirs and performed in musical theater in her youth. She always had designs on a performing career.
Relli attended Beaverton High School and then switched to online Oregon Connections Academy before going the home-school route.
"I enjoyed the fact that I was able to make music my classes, so to speak, and continue working (as a singer)," she said. "Through working I was learning. ... It was difficult from a social aspect that I didn't get to experience (regular school). It was fun in some ways, a struggle in some ways."
It led her to L.A. and the Grammy Awards in January (the awards show where fellow teenager Billie Eilish raked in five awards). Relli's manager had a connection for tickets.
"It was really cool. Definitely unlike anything else I've ever experienced," she said. "Being around so many different people, different music.
"I got to talk with and get a picture with Tank of Tank and the Bangas. I had an interview with a local guy who runs a YouTube show ("The Terrell Show"). I got to see a lot of people from afar. It was awesome to see somebody so young (Eilish) making such a breakthrough. I feel like every once in a while people don't take you so seriously because you're younger."
Relli stays in touch with friends and band mates in Portland. As for the next step, well, the current health and economic crisis has to subside before she can book gigs and other work.
"The next step is to get the music heard, whether it be through talk shows or interviews or playing shows and performing," she said.
For more: http://www.josephinerelli.com.
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