I’m on hold, waiting for what I presume will be a dainty, sophisticated and quite British duo called Oh Wonder. I hear a click and an eruption of noise from the other end as Josephine and Anthony announce themselves at the top of their lungs. Oh Wonder has joined the call.
The band didn’t start out as a band. In the beginning, the two just wanted to have a “music-writing experience,” they begin to explain.
“We had our own solo projects going on and were really happy working in those confines,” says vocalist Josephine Vander Gucht. “Oh Wonder was an opportunity for us to take a behind-the-scenes approach to music. We wanted to establish ourselves as a writing/producing duo so we could work with other artists. It backfired though and people thought we were a band! So, we turned into a band,” she concludes.
Keyboardist Anthony West says that when the two met at a studio in London six years prior, they hit it off straight away. “We had the same taste in music and when we started writing together we knew we complimented each other really well,” he says. “That’s the backbone of Oh Wonder; we write and play to each other’s strengths at all times. We pull each other up when we have weaknesses and make each other better,” he adds.
If those sentiments don’t give you goose bumps, I don’t know what will. And Oh Wonder fans feel the same way. Vander Gucht describes the outpouring of love they receive from their fans across the globe.
“A lot of people say that our music is comforting, uplifting and quite positive. I suppose we write songs about being human and experiencing the highs and lows of life,” she poetically states. “We love for people to take away that they’re not alone. One of the greatest privileges as an artist is to make music that helps people,” she admits.
With their newest album Ultralife available July 14, fans can expect the same magical sound with catchy lyrics. But, what’s the secret to this pair’s emotional songwriting? They don’t think about it.
“Ultralife has been really personal but unknowingly so. About a month after finishing the album, we were listening back to it in its entirety like, ‘Oh! So that’s how we were feeling!’ It’s all very weird,” Vander Gucht says. “Our songwriting is instinctive and cathartic. We write in the moment and it’s magical and bizarre,” she adds.
Magical and bizarre is probably the best way to describe what happened next. As the two mull over what their musical guilty pleasures would be, I’m wondering the same thing. Maybe One Direction or a throw-back like Spice Girls?
Vander Gucht puts an end to my guessing-game when she reveals that she’s a huge fan of 90’s R&B. She rattles off names like Ashanti, Sean Paul, Destiny’s Child, TLC and her number one, all-time favorite song: R. Kelly’s “Remix to Ignition.” With that, we have an impromptu sing-along over the phone and say our goodbyes. It was in the moment and instinctive and very-much, Oh Wonder.
Main image credit: Josh Shiner