For Salt Lake-based musician Josaleigh Pollett, music has always been a family affair. Her father grew up teaching music lessons in Ogden, and if his student didn’t show up, Josaleigh would receive an impromptu training session. She started with the drums, then moved to the stand-up bass and finally settled on the guitar. “It doesn’t even feel like I have a choice,” Pollet said. “It’s just part of my personality now.”
Of course, Pollett was listening to all kinds of music from an early age. She got Frank Zappa from her dad, Joni Mitchell from her mom and The Beatles and Led Zeppelin from both. Soon, she developed her own taste. “Because I’m a ‘90s baby, I also grew up on Alanis Morissette and Nirvana.”
All of these influences show up in Pollett’s Americana-inflected folk music, which pairs her warm, raspy voice with simple, gorgeous melodies, and her acoustic guitar with occasional flourishes of strings and banjo. Pollett usually writes her lyrics first, and it shows — her songwriting, which tends to tell melancholy stories of love and heartbreak, is the star of the show.
Sceneless in Seattle?
After growing up in Ogden, Pollett moved to Washington to jump-start her music career. Now she’s back in her home state, and she draws inspiration from Salt Lake’s tight-knit music scene. Pollett said it could be hard to find a place in Seattle’s enormous music community, but here, everyone supports everyone.
Now, Pollett is working on her next album No Woman Is the Sea, set to be released in early 2020. The new music is a departure from her previous projects, as this is her first album written with a full band in mind. Working with local musician Jordan Walko, Pollett is opening her intimate music to new genre influences —like indie rock —and instrumentation—like string quartets and synthesizers. Though she cautions her new material will be “really different than a lot of stuff I have out on the internet right now,” she hopes to satisfy old fans and win new converts. “It’s the most ambitious I’ve ever been about my music,” she said.