MY conversation with Kathryn Joseph ahead of next weekend’s show at the City Halls in Glasgow gets off to an unusual start when I share my dietary woes.

“I was good until someone in the office told me that eating too much fruit can make you fat,” I tell her.

“Oh no,” she laughs. “It’s all downhill from here. Even when you’re trying your best there can be something wrong,” she says.  

Among our fruity woes, there is consolation that the fruits of Kathryn’s musical labour have landed her a gig at the City Halls.

It’s a venue where the cultural offerings make one fat in an indulgent, healthy kind of way, and it’s a big deal for her.  

“This will be my biggest gig I’ve played,” Joseph says. “I’m really looking forward to it, and I still find it strange that that many people might want to come and listen to me. The next level is when people write really horrible things about you and I’m not there.”  

Joseph will have to try a lot harder to make her music sound rubbish if she wants people to write bad things about her.

Her debut album, with musical partner Marcus Mackay, Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled, won the 2015 Scottish Album of the Year award.

Written after the death of her newborn son, in 2010, the album was the first marker of a life she decided to dedicate to making music.

Her latest release, From When I Wake the Want Is, was shortlisted for the same award this year.

“The second album sounds more confident to me and I feel sure about it as a record,” says Joseph.  

“The first was for me. They are different in that way. This is much more outward facing – I felt like this, it was s**t, and now I’m OK again. I didn’t even think in terms of what I was doing, it was just being pregnant and recording my favourite songs that I’d written over 20 years. It’s like a document of my life in a safe and quiet way, and this is a document of a hard time in my life.”  

Joseph’s musical sound, while being unique, benefits from involvement in a musical community in Scotland that is both supportive and familial.  

“I don’t know if working with bands like The Twilight Sad has influenced my sound, in a way, but a lot of things have come from my relationships with musicians like Marcus. I feel so lucky to be a part of the music scene in Scotland, paired together with Mogwai and the likes, and it’s overwhelming to know that I’m a part of it too.”

We agree that the snubbing of The Twilight Sad’s It Won’t Be Like This All the Time in this year’s SAY Award nominations came as a shock.

“I think that Grant Hutchison summed it up perfectly, though, when he said that he was glad they weren’t in the list because if they were, we’d all have had no chance of winning” she laughs.  

Joseph has became a face of the Scottish musical community – and not because she is one of the few women in it.

“It’s never been about being a woman doing music and I’ve never felt that that was something that either stopped me or let me do something.

“The industry itself is masculine, that’s not a lie. In school, girls were learning as many instruments as boys were. The confidence that you need to write your own songs is what I think is the important part. It’s a funny one.”  

Joseph’s gig at the City Halls is a landmark moment in a career that has, until now, been characterized by imposter syndrome.

“So much of my life was marred by being self-conscious – I am a weird mix of paranoid and sure.   I use that part and that feeling shit part to make something that makes me feel better. Playing live was never the part that I worried about. There was something safe in that for me.”  

In that way, we can be reassured that her set will be nothing less than the recorded perfection that her studio albums give us.

They, for Joseph, sound like a moment of lived clarity amidst confusion. To watch that unfold live can only be nothing but a pleasure.  

Kathryn Joseph, November 9, City Halls, Glasgow