We connected with our next interviewee, JOYN, after we showcased his DOPE new single "Sinister", which features Jordn. JOYN is definitely an artist on the rise so we decided to get ahead of the bandwagon and interview him before he's a household name in the music industry on the mic and behind the boards.
Enjoy our exclusive Q&A with this talented singer-songwriter and producer and be sure to stream "Sinister", as well as follow JOYN on his social media streams.
Tell us about how you got your start as a singer-songwriter and producer. Do you remember the first song you wrote or produced? If so, describe them for us.
Well I guess singing came first. I started singing in choir in elementary school. I picked up the guitar when I was nine and that pretty much took over for the next decade or so. I played in rock bands throughout high school as just a guitarist and never really had aspirations to sing. I started producing a couple years ago as a side hobby at first then one day just decided to try my voice on top of one of my crappy little beats. I just sort of took it ran with it. Now I’m in the process of rediscovering my voice! The first song I ever wrote was in 5th grade. It was called “Gasoline” and I played it at my school’s talent show. It was awful by the way.
Describe your creative process when it comes to writing lyrics and producing instrumentals. How do you start creating and when do you know that you are done?
It’s anything and everything all at once. I don’t usually write in the typical acoustic guitar “singer-songwriter” sort of way. I usually build a beat first just so I can catch a vibe. The instrumental usually tells me where to go lyrically. I’ll scat sing nonsense over the beat until I find a melody I can settle on. The lyrics tend to write themselves in my head over a period of a couple weeks. They come to me at the most inconvenient times. Usually when I'm at work or doing something way more important. I actually never really write them down until the final draft is recorded. If the production sounds good while I’m driving by myself late at night and the lyrics look elegant on paper it’s safe to say the song is finished.
You mention that Jane's Addiction, Destiny's Child, Black Sabbath, The XX, and 6lack are some of your musical influences. These artists span a wide array on genres; how do you as a creative pull from them to develop your own sound?
Like I mentioned I grew up playing in rock bands so most of my childhood heroes were pretty heavy guitar groups. In my dream world I’d be able to wail like Layne Staley or Chris Cornell but my voice just isn’t built for that. When I started singing again is when I went back and rediscovered all the RnB music my mom and aunt weaned me on growing up. 6lack’s debut album single handedly got me through one of the toughest periods of my life last year. Not only was it thematically powerful but hearing how he expressed his voice showed me you didn’t have to be vocally extravagant to still connect with people. In fact I think those “vocal acrobatics” as I like to call them really distract from the song most of the time. I saw The XX at Bonnaroo last year and it definitely changed the way I approached my instrument. I think Romy Croft is genius and a bad ass. My sound is an amalgamation of all those influences. Trends scare the hell out of me and it’s pretty spooky to me when I see everyone so anxious to fall in line for some movement like a bunch of sheep. I just try my best to create something I haven’t heard before while still delivering something culturally relevant.
Congrats on your new single "Sinister"; it's a great track. How did you and Jordn connect to create it? Is it self-produced?
Jordn is the homie! We actually went to college together but I didn’t really meet him until accident when he came over to my best friend/photographer’s house one day. We blew some trees and vibed. We ended up working at the same restaurant one summer and he needed a guitar player for a show and got me on my first stage in Nashville which is where I was living at the time. He’s a sharp minded dude and by far my favorite rapper among my peers so I hit him up for the feature. To be real with you I was reluctant to put the track out cause its so grotesquely honest in a way. But I know I’m making my best and most honest shit when I get nervous about people hearing it. I started the production off myself and then sent it to my producer Ghost and he turned it into the sonic adventure it is now. I’ve actually known Ghost since high school. I'm privileged to work with him. Surrounding myself with peers like him and Jordn has definitely pushed me to elevate my artistry.
What's next after the "Sinister" single? Will there be a visual next and/or an EP or album coming soon?
Definitely. I have an EP coming out hopefully around my birthday in May. Its inspired by my adolescence growing up in LA. Then I’ll be releasing my debut full length this fall which Sinister will likely be on as the LP has a darker vibe. It’ll tackle a lot of stories and relationships from my life over the last couple years. I’m also working on a screenplay for a short film that will hopefully accompany the LP. My life has been a turbulent rollercoaster ride and learning lesson over the last year and I’m happy to say it’s inspired some pretty intense music.