Born in Malta, Day moved to San Diego in 2004 “to follow my dream of being a singer,” she said. “Malta was a great place to grow up but there really are no musical opportunities there.”
Day had performed in school musicals since age 7 and by 22 had entered a few small singing contests in Malta, but she soon realized she needed to relocate Stateside to make it in the music biz. “Watching all the artists on MTV, the places in all their music videos, I wanted to be there doing what they were doing.” Upon arrival in San Diego she quickly immersed herself in the local cover band scene.
Though Day is billed as a solo performer with backing musicians, it’s really more of a duo situation, with guitarist Eric Miller a crucial part of her sound and live show. “Eric and I met in the band Wild Rumour,” she recalled. “I haven’t performed without Eric since I started the Josie Day project. We realized we had the same musical goals and wanted to branch out of the classic rock scene and incorporate more pop, funk and even some country.
“Eric truly is the backbone of the whole operation. He owns all the equipment and most importantly knows how to use it to make us sound the best we possibly can.”
Day’s band also includes drummer Rey Orara, with keyboardist James Ferguson joining in on bigger shows. “We try to tailor the band format to the venue,” she said. “For example at a restaurant or somebody’s house, it would be overkill to bring drums because it’s harder to keep the volume down. But at a full on concert venue, bring on the drums and other instruments. It’s a different energy.”
Day released her debut EP, “About Time,” in 2015, with a new album, “Star Struck” due later this year. While she does occasionally include an original in her club dates, the focus is on dance floor filling hits. “I do like to throw in one of my own songs here and there, especially when we have more of a listening audience. But we play mostly covers on our regular weekend shows,” she said. “We like to keep the crowd dancing and people only seem to dance to familiar songs. So, ‘Uptown Funk’ by Bruno Mars is a definite crowd pleaser and always brings the house down, ‘Cake By The Ocean’ by DNCE is another one that everyone loves.”
She notes that the right mix of songs is important to keep a night jumping. “I found out it’s hard to catch the right people’s attention based off of your voice and singing abilities alone,” she said “But no one can deny the power of a hit song.”
Day currently performs about a dozen gigs a month, including a regular spot at the SDCCU Stadium Swap Meet most Wednesdays, but much of her creative focus at the moment is on her upcoming album. “I’ve been recording at my home studio,” she said. “This process is so much easier than going through a conventional studio, making appointments, having to work around people’s schedules etc. Now when I get an idea I can just sit down at my keyboard or record backing vocals and ad libs on a whim, and have a song done in a couple weeks vs a year, and much more cost effectively.”
Now an established part of San Diego’s music community, Day is happy with her move to the area and the progress she’s made with her music. But she does have one lament. “My parents miss me,” she said. “But they’re happy for me that I’m out here doing what I love.”
Josie Day: Saturday, Aug. 4 at The Harp, 4935 Newport Ave. 9 p.m. 21 and up. harpob.com.