When it comes to the science of music, art is an eruption of continual ingenuity; so if you hear the name Joy Jones, expect the pleasure of musical theory to mix with the raw effects of sheer evolution.
For this soul artist, making music is like sharing a reflection of personal thoughts laid out over a collection of awe-inspiring sound. Having spent many of life’s seasons entranced by an array of musical creativity expressed through a mixed bag of various styles, her exposure to different genres such as jazz, gospel and African music, has melded it’s inspiration into her own works by setting her sound apart from the masses. She is the catalyst for a style she refers to as afro beat lullabies or electronic hymns, as she continually rotates her thoughts over a playing field of her own imagination.
Her heart for writing music dances gracefully with the world outside her window as she takes listeners on a rhythmic journey, through her ever-changing paradise. Never one to disappoint and always set to deliver, get ready to be enthralled by her electrifying next coming, God Child.
Clutch: For those who don’t know… Who is Joy Jones?
Joy: I guess that depends on who you ask. Not to mention, the answer is constantly changing as I continue to evolve, ya know? Overall, I would say that I am a person who loves to envision something beautiful, work to create it, and help it come to fruition. There is something very sacred about that process.
Clutch: How’d you find your rhythm as an artist in this industry?
Joy: Everything clicked for me when I moved to London for graduate school. Since I’ve always danced between arts and science, it was natural that I threw myself into the art scene out there. It was the first time I saw people really living as artists! Coming from a West Indian background, art is something that you do once you come home from your respectable job! Lol! Not only were artists flourishing, but I saw various artistic genres and musical styles constantly melding and creating new things. It was so intoxicating and I felt like anything was possible. I could create something and name it whatever I wanted to. I started to perform out, first as a spoken word artist, and then as a singer. At the point, I realized I had to get on with the business of creating this project, Godchild.
Clutch: What would you describe your musical sound as?
Joy: I describe it as afro-beat lullabies, future jazz protest songs and electronic hymns. That’s what it sounds like to me. I’m sure that it will sound different to everyone who hears it. I look forward to the feedback!
Clutch: What inspires the root of your music?
Joy: God. This is all a spiritual experiment of what God can do with this lil’ bit of talent I have. It is about stepping out on faith and putting yourself out there for the purpose of sharing something with the world and leaving a legacy that you can be proud of.
Clutch: How did you get your start as an artist, what was your first big break?
Joy: Daz-I-Kue is to blame! Lol! He was the first to really get me in the studio while I was in London and encouraged me to start writing music. The entire Bugz in the Attic crew was at the forefront of the broken-beat/future soul movement and took me along for the ride. It was great because it led to opportunities to collaborate with lots of folks and be part of some incredible projects. That connection has really helped to give me some exposure both here and abroad.
I have learned to pay more attention to the moment I am in, instead of always wishing or regretting.
Clutch: Do you fall into the trap of being compared to other artists and how do you ensure that you continually set yourself apart from your competition?
Joy: Of course when people hear anything that is Black but hard to categorize, they look to link it to any established alternative soul artists they can think of. Being female, that only leaves a few artists that have mainstream exposure.
I guess my lesson was to realize that I could never be in competition with anybody because can’t nobody do Joy Jones the way I do Joy Jones! So who is there to compete with? So now I try to focus more on just being the best me I can be, because can’t nobody touch that.
Clutch: Godchild is on the way… What can listeners expect from your new album?
Joy: They can expect to dance, smile, laugh, dream, and perhaps to think. I tried to write music that has layers and multiple meanings. Like a good book that means something different each time you read it and allows you to discover something new each time you experience it. I hope it is a musical journey to the past, present and future all at once. More than anything, I hope that it is a little something to help you make your way through the world…like your own personal musical cheerleader!
Clutch: Which song on it is your favorite, and why?
Joy: Oh no! Isn’t that like picking a favorite child?! Well, I would have to say “Beautiful” because it is my personal anthem, my theme song. It is the mantra that I try to remember daily, on good and bad days.
Clutch: You’re in love with travel and a lot of your music is penned through your experiences while away. Which place that you’ve gone has brought you the closest to your artistic creativity and why?
Joy: I would have to say the UK first because that is where I came into myself as an artist. However, I would say that my travels to India and throughout Africa have brought me closer to being able to articulate the messages I want to leave behind me. Music is woven into the fabric of these cultures in a way that acknowledges the real power that music possesses; the power associated with saying or singing something and putting it out into the world to make something happen. This is a power that we really downplay in Western societies, but it is real and to see people harness that power is an amazing thing. It taught me that I have a creative responsibility to be cognizant of this gift and what a blessing it is that I was chosen to use it.
Clutch: You’ve been in the game as artist for a few years, how would you say that you have evolved as an artist?
Joy: More than ever I realize that this life is what you make of it. From where I started I have evolved into a woman who has become quite intimate with both love and loss. I have learned to pay more attention to the moment I am in, instead of always wishing or regretting. I also value laughter more than ever. Life is too doggone intense to not laugh as often as you can! This has become the vantage point that I write my music from.
Clutch: Does Joy Jones have a favorite artist?
Joy: That changes every day. Today I’m listening to lots of Herbie Hancock, DeBarge and Minnie Riperton. Tomorrow it might be Muhsinah, Mos Def and Fela. Depends on how the sun rises, I guess.
Clutch: Are you involved in anything apart from your music?
Joy: Man, how much time do you have? I am always in school. My husband is like, how many degrees does one person need? It’s not about the degrees for me, it’s about learning and being able to apply what I learn to help folk. It seems that because I am a creative/scientific hybrid, I have to feed the scientific side of myself along with the creative side. I am very interested in psychiatry. Imagine the kind of music I can write once I really understand how the brain works! The brain is so fascinating to me. The way it protects us, the moments that it chooses to loop in our heads. I feel like I could study it forever because it helps us understand who we are.
Clutch: What do you hope to accomplish with this new album?
Joy: I hope to be able to pay off my car! Lol! Just jokes, good people, just jokes! I just hope to inspire in some way and create music that doesn’t make me cringe in 60 years!
Clutch: Since you’ve been in the industry, what have been the biggest highlights for you?
Joy: This is it! You are in it with me. Seeing this finally come to be is amazing to me! Although the one-woman shows were really great, before the album I would have said that, but right now nothing can beat this for me.
Clutch: Who have you been blessed to share the stage with, and which interesting places has your music career led you to?
Joy: My husband, which is great because we are able to create and perform together. I love to look over and see him killin’ it on the bass or holding everything together as the musical director. In fact, that’s how I met him. He came out to LA from Chicago because he was playing with Peven Everett at the time. We were on the same gig and the rest is history. So I guess it led me to true love.
Clutch: Do you have any ongoing obstacles that you struggle with as an artist?
Joy: It is still no joke being a woman in this business. Your skills and knowledge are constantly questioned. At times it is a challenge to be taken seriously. That is why it is vital that women learn how to write their own music, play an instrument, cop a version of Logic and learn the production aspect. There are so many voices that we aren’t hearing because they are somewhere waiting for someone to give them a beat to sing on, or waiting for someone to squeeze them in for some studio time. Ladies, get yourself a microphone and a computer and make it happen. I was doing a whole lot of sitting around and waiting. Just upset, because my music was not a priority to many of the folks I was trying to work with. So one day I told myself that ultimately, if this music never gets out, it will be my own fault because I’m the custodian of this dream. I admire artists like Muhsinah and Georgian Ann Muldrow for that reason. Man, just get out and do it. I’m going to learn to mix and master my music next. Then look out! I’m gonna be like Prince, putting out a record every 2 weeks!
Clutch: What’s up next for you as far as your road through the future goes?
Joy: Lots of love, lessons and laughter. Always laughter!
Clutch: What will the world take away from Godchild?
Joy: A beautiful moment that they can experience over and over and over…and over again.