Joy Crookes has one of the most promising and hypnotic voices out there, so it’s been a real pleasure to chat with her about her roots, the new EP Reminiscence and her future music.
Enjoy the interview below:
How would you describe yourself as an artist?
Honest, sometimes too honest…
At home, you used to listen to an eclectic mix of genres because of your father. What artists or genres of music got more your attention at that time?
I was exposed to so many genres, from Qawwali to Dub, but some of my favourites are Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Kendrick Lamar, Nina Simone, Sinead O’Connor and Gregory Isaacs.
Do you remember how you felt when you started to write songs?
I always feel somewhat relieved when I write a song, even when I know it isn’t my best. I feel pretty special when a song answers a question for me about a situation – it’s like they give me a perspective sometimes but they’re always the rare songs.
At your first sessions at the studio were a bit uncomfortable because of a producer who believed he was God’s gift to earth. How did you approach that situation?
I removed myself from the situation and tried to become musically self sufficient. I learnt how to produce and use logic, got better at guitar, piano and became more comfortable with my voice. I gathered some quiet confidence.
The song “Power” was the result of a beautiful experience that happen in the studio. Can you tell us a little bit more about that moment?
Audra Mae sat and chatted with me for 2 hours asking me about personal experiences, how I felt about them – how I felt about politics at the time, the treatment of women, etc. She then proceeded to get up and have a glass of wine. She said I had a song and that when she’d be back in an hour I’d have written it. She came back and I had Power.
Your latest EP Reminiscence is inspired by your first visit as an adult to Bangladesh. What happened there that made you came back as a “different person”?
I learnt more about my mother, my roots and my ancestors. I didn’t come back sage-ing my house and chanting around South London – I just became more self aware and grounded.
This EP is, in essence, a compilation of love songs. What do you want to express to the world with these beautiful tracks? And how long did it take it to you to finish the EP?
They are in some ways love songs but in different forms. For A Minute is a love song to my area. The EP took less than 6 months to be produced and mastered and I guess I just want ‘the world’ to take whatever they interpret from it. I want them to feel like someone feels the same as them about a certain situation. That’s always been my own connection to music.
How good has been the reception to Reminiscence?
I’m really happy how Reminiscence has been received. Had a couple more slides in the DMs. Can’t complain.
Is it possible to perceive influences from Sade to Amy Winehouse with a lot of spirit from soul music. But who are the artist that inspired you the most?
The artist that’s inspired me the most recently is probably Frank Ocean. He’s so versatile.
What can we expect from you for the rest of 2019? Promotional tour? Another EP?
I’ll be putting out another EP early summer. I’ll have more shows and will be doing some festivals too. I’m really excited for it all!
If you could only listen to one album during your whole life, what it would be?
Probably either Little Girl Blue by Nina Simone or Channel Orange by Frank Ocean. Or ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’ by Kendrick Lamar.
And the last question. What’s the most important thing that you’d like to tell people about you and your music?