Joseph Of Mercury
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Joseph of Mercury doesn’t believe he owns his voice. According to the burgeoning Toronto artist, none of us do.

“I truly believe that everybody can sing beautifully – you just have to find your voice every single time you open your mouth,” he says. “You eventually get so good at it – you get that search down to a millisecond – and then it feels like it’s always been there.”

Growing up an old soul who listened to sprawling film scores and the mid-century crooners his grandfather adored, Joseph W. Salusbury unknowingly began exploring with his vocal range and infatuation with words at a young age. After picking up a vintage Teisco guitar and writing his first love song later in life, before quite literally losing his voice to a temporary vocal cord injury, Salusbury “woke up” and found his lilting voice as Joseph of Mercury.

That awakening has culminated in last week’s release of his self-titled debut EP, a poetic retro-pop collection produced by Al-P of MSTRKRFT, with guitars from The Weeknd’s Patrick Greenaway. The debut blends what Salusbury calls “noble” melodies seeded by Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin with the “deep longing and melancholy” angst-ridden teens found in Elliott Smith’s 'Angeles'.

Whether the hopelessly romantic “Without Words,” doo-wop-infused “Angel” or neon-lit beat beneath “Find You Inside” – Salusbury’s work is a beautiful array of genre and decade influences.

“They’re all very different in terms of pace and vibe – but each song is the forefather to another song I’m going to write or have already written,” he says. “Now I can go down any path.”

One thing’s certain: You can’t write these kinds of emotive, timeless ballads if you don’t feel things strongly. On his debut, every chord, lyric and harmony comes across as meticulously assembled – a notion that makes sense, considering its observant author who chooses each word very particularly, but with ease.

“I’ve never had a pathological desire to be center of attention – perhaps the opposite,” he laughs. “I find it hard to pay attention to things if everyone is paying attention to you.”

Self-described as “born to the dying synthesized bells of the 80s and reincarnated from the velvet gentleman of the 50s,” Joseph of Mercury folds class and modern accessibility into everything he does – from his insistence on real musicality to his crisp fashion sense and aesthetic.

Although he’s never strived for celebrity, the self-prescribed “songwriting addict” wants to experience everything, if only for the creative fuel. “I don’t want there to be a room I can’t go into – I just want to see things, I want more,” he says. “Now that I’ve finally released this, I think it’s going to be really hard for people to convince me to stop.”

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Words: Jess Huddleston

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