Bundle of Joy: Burgeoning London-based songstress Joy Crookes Releases Third Single ‘Bad Feeling’

Despite being only 18-years young, seemingly everyone from the established indie blogosphere right through to Brooklyn Beckham are sitting up and taking notice of London-based trip-hop, soul-infused singer, Joy Crookes. Having released 60’s-soul inspired, twilight hour baroque-pop ballads in Sinatra and New Manhattan last year, Crookes releases third single ‘Bad Feeling’, a musical shift towards jazz-enthused, R&B grooves showing a tongue-in-cheek side to the singer who wears a myriad of cultural influences on her sleeve.

Citing a range of genres and artists as seemingly polarising as Lauryn Hill, Nancy Sinatra, The Clash, and Van Morrison as inspirations, Crookes’ has developed a mature, multi-faceted sound which bodes well for her forthcoming debut EP release, produced by Tev’n (SBTRKT, Celeste, Lily Allen). Sold out shows last year included a packed-to-the-rafters Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, with forthcoming gigs at Bushstock Festival in London and a performance at Live Nation’s renowned Source Night on 14th July offering must-see opportunities to see a star in the making.

We recently sat down with Crookes to discuss her intriguing background and how her influences have filtered into a distinctly signature sound.

Joy Crookes Bad Feeling

 

Many people are linking your music so far to Lauryn Hill – would you say that was a fair assessment?

I love Lauryn Hill, Amy Winehouse, Grace Jones. I love artists that seem real or authentic, so I can say I love their authenticity. I wouldn’t say I was directly inspired by Lauryn Hill. I think it’s more complex than saying I’m inspired by one female artist. I think it’s more that people want to understand what you’re about before they listen to you, and sometimes you get comparisons. I never thought I’d be compared with Lauryn Hill, it’s crazy! I grew up on The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, but I’m from a very eclectic background of music.

What would you say are the most prominent influences from your background?

I’m from South London, which is just a melting pot of cultures. I’m part of one of the biggest Latino communities in London, which is linked to Caribbean and West African communities, while my Dad is Irish. I’m an ethnic chic so I understand the comparisons with someone like Lauryn Hill, but when I’m making music I tend to think more of Nancy Sinatra and Eartha Kitt. I’m quite an emotional person, and I’ve had things happen with family and mental health issues so I think when you suffer experiences like that from an early age, you observe things differently and it can make you quite mature. You feel ten times more than anyone else feels at the time.

Tell us a bit more about the creative process behind your latest single ‘Bad Feeling’?

It’s very tongue in cheek and I wrote the chorus part in that vein. Eartha Kitt is incredible and she’s so cheeky, when she does her videos she looks like a lion or a tiger, so Bad Feeling was much the same in that it was a cheeky song and it was done very quickly. It’s a surface level song, you know, we’ve all been through it. It’s not about immigration or anything, it’s simple. I wrote it during a writing camp and there was a funny moment during the experience that I exaggerated and made it about myself.

You hear a lot of songs taking about relationships where the protagonist is worried the other person is going to leave them, while your take on romance on ‘Bad Feeling’ is more about not being sure of yourself.

I am such a cheeky character but I don’t think you grasp that on New Manhattan or Sinatra. New Manhattan reflects more my Irish emotional side, while Bad Feeling represents the charm and whit of my mum who moved over from Bengal when she was just sixteen. She inspired me to be memorable and I think when you meet people like that you get excited, so I wanted to reflect that side of my personality in the song, and show people that I can be funny and quite cheeky as well as being emotional.

 

Going back to previous releases such as New Manhattan and Sinatra, there seems to be a lot of dreamy, emotive, Lana Del Rey inspired imagery on those songs, was this a conscious direction in sound?

The one thing I can say about Lana is that if David Lynch made music the result would be her, with the themes of drugs and sex. I’m hugely into Massive Attack, as I grew up listening to the whole Bristol music scene. Their song ‘Unfinished Sympathy’ is a good example, where they have a soul singer with an orchestra and Latin percussion backing her. There is so much going on and so many influences in their music that I couldn’t replicate everything. New Manhattan is a commercially sounding track, but the guitar does have that Lynchian/Nancy Sinatra sound, while the drum beat is straight out of a Massive Attack song.

It’s amazing to be compared to people like Lana Del Rey because that means people are trying to understand the music from a commercial degree, but then if you look in more detail and learn the reasons behind why I added certain influences then it’s a little more complex. I’m 18 years old and a girl from South London who is sponge when it comes to life experiences, so anything my family or my boyfriend says, or even the music I listen to has an impact, so I’m as much of a melting pot as my location and cultural upbringing.

What’s the story behind New Manhattan?

It’s a place in Brussels that I visited with my boyfriend, and I just felt compelled to write an observational story about the area, which quickly developed into a love song. There was a red-light district, so that’s where the lyric ‘I took a picture with my eyes, and I’m frightened of girls in plastic heights’ came from. It hurt to be in an area like that and realise that a country home to the European Commission can also have streets that are filled with hookers and others which are family street markets in contrast, so it was quite difficult for someone who hadn’t been in an area like that before. The general idea with the song was that you can be anywhere and be comfortable as long as you have the right person next to you.

Although it’s still early days, what do you hope to achieve in music?

I would like to be known as iconic, and to feel like I’ve made a difference to people. My favourite subject at school was history, and I had this brilliant history teacher who taught me about different cultures and mental health, which was quite inspirational while growing up in Elephant and Castle at the time. The main issue I remember her talking about was American history and the misuse of power, which can happen to everyone no matter how big or small. I always wanted to write songs from the perspective of being a woman with colour and how it has shaped my life.

Words Jamie Boyd

 

Stream Joy’s new track BAD FEELING below:

Pixie Lott announces release date for eponymous third album

 

Pixie-Lott 2014 album

 

Following the release of her single ‘Nasty’ in March, Pixie Lott has announced her next album will be released on the 4th August.

The self-titled album, Pixie Lott, was recorded between London and New York and is said to have been heavily influenced by 1960s soul, with songs from the era used as samples, blended into modern beats.

Check out the video for ‘Nasty’  below – and look out for more from Pixie in FAULT over the next few weeks!

 

Funk-soul singer TRAEDONYA! Presents New Video ‘Family Affair’ and unveils new app for fans

Prohibition Entertainment’s NYC based vocalist TRAEDONYA! (aka The Bride of New Funk Hipopera) releases her first video, ‘Family Affair’, from her forthcoming digital debut EP High Fructose Corn Syrup. The instrumentalists on the song is her band, ”Sample This!”, of which she is the lead vocalist and songwriter.

traedonya_front_highres

The song ”Family Affair’‘ is a cover to the classic song, originally done by funk legends Sly and The Family Stone. The video has garnered over 47k on you tube and will be coming to MTV, BET Centric, Music Choice and other video outlets for summer 2013. The video shows various well known families together with TRAEDONYA! bringing her vocal rendition with true emotions. ”I just didn’t want to do too much because the song speaks for itself. I feel the visuals captures the essence of the song,” says TRAEDONYA!

In more TRAEDONYA! news you can now download her brand new app. The app will allow fans to hear about all things new about TRAEDONYA! in real time. The app is available on iPhone and android platforms.

”Family Affair” will be the bonus song on her debut Ep’, High Fructose Corn Syrup, available from Fall 2013.


TRAEDONYA! explains how this classic cover came about and means to her in this interview; http://youtube.com/watch?v=yNOpXhhYLvU.

Download the App: 


iPhone platform: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/traedonya/id628608607?mt=8
Android platform: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.appbuilder.u246686p429214&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEsImNvbS5HChbIdWlsZGVyLnUyNDY2ODZwNDI5MjE0Il0

Follow TRAEDONYA!:

http://www.twitter.com/traedonya
http://www.facebook.com/traedonya
http://www.youtube.com/traedonyatourstation
http://www.traedonya.com

Bookings : prohibitionent@hotmail.com

Look out for more from TRAEDONYA! in FAULT Issue 16 this Fall!

Fault Magazine Album Review- Lianne La Havas

 

Is Your Love Big Enough?

Watching Lianne La Havas on Later with Jools Holland last October I recall instantly comparing her to Corinne Bailey Rae, who had also grown to fame following her own performance on the show. However standing alone and vulnerable in the spotlight singing about her lost love and new found companionship  found in the arms of an older man I couldn’t help but question the authenticity of her song writing. Being only one year her younger I always have an issue when I hear such young vocalists singing about the turmoil of their love lives and the multiple abusive partners they have had to endure whilst I sit at home comfortable in my single marital status.

Sceptical I decided to give the album a chance, Adele has done pretty well for herself singing the blues at 21 so why should the journey be any different for Lianne?

Opening track ‘Don’t wake me up’ tells of the passion she feels for her lover. With lyrics such as “I’d take my life, to stay in your bed” she invites us to experience her highs and throughout the proceeding track we free fall with her to experience her crushing lows.

All scepticism of her authenticity vanished by the track, ‘Lost & Found’. The rich production infused with the vulnerability in her voice creates such a feeling of sorrow that it more than tugs at your heartstrings but shatters them. Never over singing a note or pushing the song into yelling rant territory her words flow without violent cracks or over baring belts ending the song as smoothly as it begun.

What I loved most about the album is that the comparisons I drew back in October are gone, only ever stopping to note down her Nina Simone like rawness. I know I am listening to Lianne La Havas, no one else.  Even as she covers Scott Mathews’ song ‘Elusive’ she leaves her own signature style on the track and it is executed brilliantly.

 

After a full listen of the Album I felt like I had somehow come to understand Lianne. The youthful spirit of tracks ‘Gone’ and ‘Forget’ reminded me of her young age and I found myself feeling saddened by her experiences. While I was at first dismissive of the idea that such a young performer could have truly suffered the way she did, I found myself feeling distressed by the fact that this young performer HAD indeed gone through such experiences at such an early point in her life.

Never the less the Album did what any good album should. It showed me who she was as an artist, young, soulful, daring and gifted. Most importantly it showed me who she was as a person, she has allowed us to hear her story to feel her pain and stare voyeuristically into her inner being. The foundations of a great career have been laid I just hope she has the strength to keep building.

For information on Lianne La Havas’ gig dates, videos and more head over to http://www.liannelahavas.com/

Words: Miles Holder