Oh Wonder’s Anthony & Josephine On Why No One Else Can Wear Your Crown
Oh Wonder is a blessing in so many ways – from their emotional lyrics and stories to their down-to-earth character and personality, the London-based alt-pop duo has been the gift that’s kept on giving during the lockdown and COVID-19 pandemic. With the release of amazing songs via “Hometapes”, daily live streams and beautiful music videos featuring their fans, the couple have a displayed how solid their love for their music, each other, fans and now – themselves – are. Likely spoke to both Anthony and Josephine on their growth as individuals and how to wear our own crowns with pride.
Ever since the pandemic broke out, what has your morning routine looked like?
Anthony: I know Josephine’s routine quite well. Every day she eats the same breakfast and every day she says, “Wow, I could eat this every day.”
Josephine: I’ve become a bit of a creature of habit because normally, our diary is so random and we travel and tour so much. There is no routine in our lives – we’re in a different hotel every night, a different city every day. We are doing random things on a Monday like recording a music video, Tuesday we’ll be doing radio, Wednesday is this and Thursday is writing a song – and now, it’s like every day is the same. I love it, I’ve never had it in the 5 years of being a band – you get no structure and no sense of normality and routine and I guess that’s healthier for people. We’ve never had a weekend.
Anthony: We’ve started writing in a different way recently. I’ll get in the studio and create a little idea using little keyboard toys. So we start ideas on little keyboards. We’ve written a lot which is great.
“No one else should wear your crown”. The title is so strong and it reflects the songs in the album itself. When you look back at your first album in 2014, you see a lot of lessons from the album, has any of the success and fame changed your identities as “Josephine” and as “Anthony”? What is your identity as people through your music?
Josephine: This is like therapy. Umm..
Anthony: That’s a good question.
Josephine: I would say that I have become – and I’ve never really thought of this, this is the first time I’ve thought of this – I’ve become way more confident and in love with myself in a good way since we’ve been in a band. Before we were in a band, I am somebody who needs external validation, I’ve realised, which is fine but I never really loved myself, I suppose. And when we released our first album and people were like, “What you’ve done has affected me in a wholly positive way and it’s comforted me and it’s changed my life and it’s brought me closer with my friend/family/partner/whatever” and I was like, “Oh, I can do something that’s valuable and worthy.” In turn, I think, I’ve learned self-worth and I guess that’s where we’ve moved from writing songs about other people to then making our last album, with such a statement like “No one else can wear your crown”, like “You be you; You be awesome”. Because I’ve realised that – not in an arrogant way but like – I’m awesome, I am. And I’ve never seen it for my whole, the whole of my life up until a couple of years ago. I thought I was rubbish and that was such a waste of energy. I just think it’s a shame – we should try, so hard, earlier on in our lives to find something good about ourselves and cherish it and look after it because that’s the point of life – learn to love yourself and then you can love others. And you, Anthony?
Josephine: You’ve become a diva hahaha
Anthony: I’ve probably gone the other way, umm hahaha, I was always the lead singers of the bands I was in until this band. And actually, having been in a duo now where there’s two of us in the front, I realised that I didn’t enjoy the full spotlight of – there’s not a lot of pressure but – it’s really nice to share that with someone else. Because when you’re the lead singer of a band, there’s a lot of eyes on you and you have to kind of pull up your bandmates as well but because we share this thing at the front which is something we’ve created together (oh wonder) it feels even more awesome when positive things happen because we get to share them so…
Josephine: Awwww, that’s so cute. I need a sick bag hahaha
In ‘Hallelujah’, there’s a line, “There’s a crown covered in glitter and gold / I’m gonna wear it, whether you like it or not” – saying that is easier than done. Can you tell us how that song came about, in what way are you wearing your own crown, and what are you being defiant against?
Josephine: Saying it is harder than doing it but I also believe that when you affirm something and you say something out loud, it sets the precedent for what’s to come so by just even waking up and saying, “Today I am in charge of my life”. I feel – I’m a big believer in energy so like if you say that it will happen. If you say it enough times it will happen. So I guess that song was like almost me trying to tell myself “say this out loud and it will happen”. It came from a place where I was taking stock of what we’ve achieved. It feels like, when you’re in a band and you’re on tour, you blink and you go from writing a song in your room and then suddenly you’re on stage in a festival in a country that you’ve never been to before and people are singing your song back to you. And you’re like, “I don’t understand how I got here”.
Anthony: Yeah, there’s no transition.
Josephine: It’s just like there’s A and B; there’s no journey. It just happened – it’s really weird. And I guess that song was me trying to process that and process the fact that like, all through my teenage life and my early 20s, all I wanted to do was be a musician and be in a band. I was never really encouraged to pursue that because it’s such a risky career and ‘no one makes it’, ‘nobody’s successful’, ‘you’ll never make money’ and I think I just realised that I was a bit sick of that narrative because I’d followed it for so long and I just wasn’t happy. And I just went, “Absolutely not. I’m going to be in a band” and that took me years though and it kind of aligned with learning to believe in myself and have confidence. So I guess if you say it enough times, “I’m in charge” then you become it.
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