Josie Dunne Credit: Marc McAndrews

La Grange native Josie Dunne muscled her way onto the stages of local bars and venues at age 13. Four years later she signed a deal with Atlantic, and spent her final high school years traveling back and forth between suburban Chicago and Nashville while finessing her craft and writing for well-known musicians such as Kelly Clarkson (who passed on a song written by Dunne) and crossover social-media star Jacob Sartorius (who recorded “Chapstick,” cowritten by Dunne). “I’d go to Nashville to work with the top songwriters and producers in the world,” Dunne recently told Chicago Magazine. “Then I’d go home, and no one really cared. I felt like I was Hannah Montana.” The songs that appear on Dunne’s debut EP, To Be the Little Fish, bear some resemblance to the hits of Miley Cyrus; the Motown-gone-Radio Disney whoosh of “Old School” is perfect for anyone who may have been enchanted by the irresistible sparkle of Miley’s “Party in the USA”—even those turned off by its hip-hop references. Which is to say Dunne’s squeaky-clean songwriting and singing should be omnipresent in no time.   v