An Interview With JOY OLADOKUN On Her Debut Album “Carry”, Her Favorite Artists and What Inspires Her Each Day
Posted On 05 May 2016
Joy Oladokun is a LA-based singer/songwriter who combines the sounds of roots rock, with folk songwriting and a voice that oozes with soul and honesty. Writing and playing the guitar from the age of 10, Joy has always used music as a way to make sense of the struggles and celebrate the triumph of life.
In 2015, Joy self-produced and released her debut EP titled ‘Cathedrals’, still available on iTunes. Last year, Joy raised $30,000 in a Kickstarter campaign for the funding of her first full-length album.
Joy Oladokun has recently released Shelter, the first single taken from her upcoming debut album. As for the meaning behind the song she adds ‘”Shelter is a song I wrote about learning how to receive love, and fighting to give it without reservation or condition.”
Her debut album Carry was released on April 29th. Joy states “Every song stemmed from a lesson I learned, or a lesson I’m still learning. I write to process and to heal, and I sing to help others do the same. I think this past year has taught me that my voice is one of the few gifts I have, and I can use it to spread a lot of love and lift people up. That’s the heart behind the album, and that’s my motivation as a person too.”
Joy will embark on a worldwide tour later this year to support her new material. In the meantime, learn more about her in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! So, how’s 2016 been treating you so far? 2016 has been wild and wonderful. I’m excited to see where it goes. What were some of the highlights of 2015 for you and your music?
2015 was easily one of the most challenging years of my life, but I wouldn’t trade it. I grew a lot personally. As for music, I’ve gotten a lot of emails and letters about how songs have helped people through certain things, and that is huge to me because I write to help heal myself and others.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest music memory?
I wanted to own a gas station for a bit. That still hasn’t worked out for me. I’ve always been musical, I would make up songs and stuff as a kid, but I never really wanted to pursue music full time until about two years ago. I had a moment at my old job where someone asked me what I would be doing if resources weren’t an issue (food, money, love). I realized that all I wanted to do was make meaningful music and travel.
Let’s talk about your newest single, “Shelter”. Where did the inspiration for it come from?
I’ve dealt with anxiety my entire life, and as I was starting the process of producing the songs for the album I was under a lot of stress. I had a bit of a panic attack while working on an early version of the song, so I stepped back for a minute and realized that I was trying so hard to make something that everybody would like. That’s not possible. Songwriting is such a vulnerable business that if someone doesn’t like your songs, it can almost feel like they don’t like a part of you. I had to come to terms with the fact that I’d rather conﬁdently give my songs, my life, and my love without being worried how people are going to respond than to stay quiet. Making music is my gift of love to whoever is willing to hear it. It’s always been that way. The song is also a deep thank you to all the people who have done the same for me. I’ve been blessed with family and friends who are willing to love me when I couldn’t return or receive it.
How long did you work on your debut album, “Carry”? What was the recording process like for it?
It was a whirlwind. I don’t think I did it right! (Laughter) I found a group of people that I liked (who also happened to be great musicians) and I sent them the songs. We had 1 day of rehearsal and then 3 days in the studio recording the album live. It was the most fun I’ve ever had.
How is this music different and/or similar to your debut EP, “Cathedrals”? How do you think you’ve grown as a musician through the years?
I think my writing style is very much the same, the sound has just gotten a lot bigger. It’s fun to be able to ﬁnally share not only the vulnerable lyrics, but vulnerable sound as well. To me the notes are saying just as much as the words. I don’t know if there’s anything like hearing a song come out over speakers and have it sound the way you ﬁrst heard it in your head. That part of this process has helped build conﬁdence in what I can do and that conﬁdence is helping me take risks musically that I wouldn’t have taken a year ago.
Later this year, you will head out on a worldwide tour. Where will you be going? Where are you most excited to play at? What do you think is the best and most challenging part about touring?
I’ll be headed to the UK for some shows and then will be coming back to the US to tour up and down the east and west coasts. I’m really excited to play for my friends in Brighton and London. I’ve always considered myself something of a misplaced Brit, so it feels like a homecoming of sorts.
What musicians have continued to inspire you through the years?
U2. They combine faith and creativity in a really magniﬁcent way. Peter Gabriel because even though he is so unique, he does a good job of honoring the people and cultures that inﬂuence him. The Beatles, because I feel like every song is like a room or a universe that you can step into. Their music is so immersive. I could go on for days……
Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
Lenny Kravitz. I just think he has this wonderful vibe, and makes great music.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
I don’t know if there is a singular message. When I sit down to write a song, it’s to work through something. I write to process the world around me and to heal, so I guess my hope is that other people can listen and experience healing too. I don’t ever want to be this untouchable ﬁgure. Our culture is full of those. I hope people hear the love and the weight of the songs and that it puts a smile on their face or helps them realize that for all the things that can divide us, we have these common feelings and desires that bind us together.