The story of a young creative ditching their restaurant gig and devoting their life to music is practically as old as the music biz itself, but for Josie Boivin, the impetus was a bit unusual – after all, it was a TV show that helped inspire her to quit her job and start making gorgeous dream-pop under the moniker MUNYA.
Of course, it wasn’t just any TV show – it was David Lynch’s 2017 revival of Twin Peaks that gave her the necessary kick.
“I’m a big fan of David Lynch,” says the French-Canadian singer-songwriter and producer. “Honestly, a huge part of [the reason I make music] is because of him.” She cites his 2007 book as an aid in overcoming her struggles with confidence. “I read his book Catching the Big Fish and it talks about meditation and having ideas. He talks about his creative process and when you have ideas, trying not to judge yourself and let yourself be a creator. And I was like, ‘I gotta try it.'”
Classically trained in the piano and opera, Boivin had played keyboards in various bands in her hometown of Montreal, but for MUNYA, she moved in with her sister and started recording music in her sister’s kitchen. “I lost my apartment — I was broke, I had no place to stay,” she says.
That’s a rather humble start, but you wouldn’t know it by listening to her spectral synth-pop tunes, which are expertly crafted and smack of a production professional. She credits her finesse to her musical studies. “I have the skills and knowledge to produce my music, which is a gift for me. I’m not depending on someone. I think that’s very cool.”
Her songwriting process is similarly self-sufficient. “Usually I’m gonna play around with chords [on a piano] and a melody will come to me. I’ll write it down, I’ll put some beat on it, drums, then I’ll play guitar, and then add a few instruments after that.
“I’m very independent,” she says (supportive evidence: she even draws her own cover art). “I make everything myself. Most of the time I have my gear with me, so wherever I am, even if I’m traveling, I make music all the time. Making music is kind of like meditation. You put yourself in a mood and let yourself go.”
Friday MUNYA will release her third EP, Blue Pine, but Billboard has the exclusive premiere of the three-song effort below. In addition to the lush, bilingual “Benjamin” and the vibey, swirling “It’s All About You,” its meditative title track comes from the TV show that helped jumpstart her creative career.
“Blue Pine is a mountain in Twin Peaks – it’s not a real place, but for me it’s my soul place,” she explains.
In addition to Lynch, Boivin says she’s a huge fan of sci-fi such as Star Wars, Blade Runner and Aliens, but despite the song title “If I’m Gone Tomorrow (It’s Because of the Aliens)” on her second EP, she hasn’t had any close encounters.
“When I look at the sky, I think for sure we’re not alone in this huge universe. But I’ve never seen an alien. I’d love to. Or maybe not, when I think about Independence Day,” she adds with a laugh.
MUNYA plays Berlin in New York City Thursday (March 7) as part of Colossus Festival, and hits SXSW the following week. In addition to her Blue Pine EP, Friday also sees the release of MUNYA, her full-length compilation of her three EPs.