The melodic reverberance of violin strings does not ordinarily sound like hip hop. Or jazz. Or pop rock. But you have not heard Joseph In The Well.
“You can do so much more than just play Bach and Beethoven,” says singer-songwriter and violin-looper Joseph Kye.
Kye’s earliest memory is singing in front of his extended family as a child in Korea. After moving to the United States at the age of 6, Kye was drawn to the wailing of the sax. Perhaps threatened by the thought of sleepless nights during practice sessions, his parents encouraged him to give violin a try. He obliged and fell in love with the centuries-old instrument and its classical roots. During his sophomore year of high school in Seattle, he realized there were more applications for the instrument. Improv and experimentation became the name of the game.
He began to play professionally two years ago. His release show in May at Harlow’s for his self-titled EP sold out. Kye describes his support as an “outpouring of love” and “a happy blur of intense, positive energy.”
The indie string pop band is named after the biblical story of Joseph, which speaks to key themes in Kye’s experience: identity and migrancy. Still a fairly recent Sacramento transplant, he has connected with local musicians, including Casey Lipka and Andres Salazar, both of whom provide backing at live shows. In 2015 he won Sammies for Outstanding New Artist and Artist of the Year.
Following the release of his EP, Kye embarked on a national tour, and he’s preparing a full-length album for release in 2016. For more information, visit joekye.com, or catch him live on Sept. 12 at LowBrau Bierhall.