Joy Crookes 19 London
Categories: Musician

Posted: 16th October 2017

London-based singer Joy Crookes has been on our radar for some time both for her multi-faceted sound and her thought-provoking lyrics. One scroll through her Instagram and you’ll see she’s a total babe, too. Born in South London to a Bengali mother and an Irish father, Joy cites music as a form of survival whilst growing up. Whether it be the familiar sound of Frank Sinatra, the soothing croon of Marvin Gaye, or the hypnotic hum of Massive Attack, Joy has been influenced by both the sonic diet she grew up on and the area she grew up in: South London. Fronting a unique and endearing trip-hop-meets-soul infused sound, lyrically Joy takes inspiration from her own experiences and the people who surround her. It was in fact Joy’s history teacher in school who taught her about the misuse of power that inspired her to write songs from the perspective of being a woman of colour and how it’s shaped her life. From political commentary to emotional family moments, and tender issues with mental health – Joy’s observations of the world come from a place of extreme maturity for someone who was signed at 15 years of age and is just 19 now.

If you ask Joy to describe herself, she’ll tell you she’s a “bit of an existentialist”. It’s no surprise she takes cues from some of the female greats. Lauryn Hill, Amy Winehouse and Grace Jones (not directly for their music, but for their authenticity) and women like Frida Kahlo and Barbara Kruger for their personal and thought-provoking work. Not dissimilarly, Joy’s own tracks give listeners food for thought. In particular the don’t-mess-with-me lyrics of “Power” in which Joy spits poignant lines like “you’re a man on a mission, but you seem to forget, you came here through a woman – show some fucking respect” and “melanin is not your enemy”. The self-directed video for “Power” features Joy’s mum and grandmother, alongside some of her closest friends too, acting as both an ode to the powerful women in her life and a reminder of the issues faced by women and women of colour around the world. One listen and you’ll have Joy’s mantra through your head all day: “Can’t take my power, you got nothing on me”.

Tell us about yourself and what you do:I’m 19, I’m a bit of an existentialist and I’m from Elephant and Castle, South London.How did you first get into music?My dad making sure it was the only thing I ever breathed, just like himself. It was our world. It was the way all of the cultures in the house communicated, It was survival, it was everyday.What did you listen to growing up?Everything. Frank Sinatra. The Clash. Gregory Isaacs. The Pogues. Sinead O’Connor. Marvin Gaye. Young Marble Giants. Massive Attack.What else influences your work?My life, the people in it, the situations i’m in and those around me are in, basically everything I can feel whether it’s first hand or a hand-me-down.How has growing up in London shaped you as an artist? I definitely think growing up in South London has had a huge, huge influence on me. The culture here, the cultures that live beside each other here and the struggle that South East London is known for. There’s so much to try and understand, there’s so much beauty, there’s just so much of everything.Tell us about your approach to your videos (we love the video for “Bad Feeling”)… Whatever I see when I’m recording the song is what I end up making as a video for everything. It’s also the time and space that I’m in during the time of the song. I love that songs can be so visual even if there is no video to them.What would be your dream music collab? Easily, Kendrick LamarWhat’s your proudest moment to date?My Grandma’s face during my first headline show this year in July at Corsica Studios, Elephant and Castle. She was the reason I bucketed it down with tears by the last song. Everyone there was really, but mainly her.How would your friends describe you in a sentence? A worrior (not warrior), in a joyful disguise.A day in the life of you… Consists of at least two self choreographed routines to anything. Literally anything. What's the first thing you do when you get up?Wish that alarms never existedWhen are you happiest?Around people I love, easilyWho do you admire?Boys, lol What's your current obsession? Boys, lol What’s your best advice Be your own muse, that is the subject you know best. (big up Frida Kahlo) What could you not live without?My familySong to be playing as you enter the club?Chevrolet by Tev’n, actually anything by Tev’n What's your signature dish?My mum’s biryaniOne item of clothing that best sums you up? Set up girl looking beretWhat words or phrases do you most overuse? “Each to their own” and the f wordWhat's next?New music, new adventures, new visuals AND FINALLY...WHO IS YOUR NEXT BABYFACE GIRL SUGGESTION?Who: Definitely Marielle Mata. @matathemua.
Why: My girl is on the come up.
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