Album Review: Joy Oladokun – ‘Carry’

Joy Oladokun is a Los Angeles based singer-songwriter who recently released her debut album Carry. Joy is known for merging the sounds of roots rock with the song writing style of folk and smooth, sultry soul vocals. She has been writing music since she was 10 and always used music as a way to work through the difficulties and celebrations of life. She self-produced and released her debut EP Cathedrals in 2015 and has since raised $30,000 during a Kickstarter campaign to fund her debut full-length album.

Joy released her debut album on April 29th and since gained huge critical acclaim. She states that ‘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.’ She went on to say, ‘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 is currently preparing to embark on a worldwide tour later this year to support her debut album.

641Courtesy of the Artist

The first single released from her debut album is Shelter, which instantly showcases her incredible voice and raw, genuine lyrics. The vocals are paired with a poignant piano until the chorus which picks up with a constant beat and the addition of a simple tambourine. Joy shares that the track is “A song I wrote about learning how to receive love and fighting to give it without reservation or condition.” Another highlight of the album is Young, which opens with bluesy, fuzzy guitars and is paired with edgier, soul vocals and hauntingly folk backing vocals. It is quite a drawn back track with the main focus on the vocals, with quiet moments where there is no instrumentals.

Opening track, Fight For It, is one of the most upbeat tracks off the album with lyrics filled with hope and love. The track opens with energetic, driving drums and powerful piano keys which perfectly sits as a backdrop for Joy’s R&B style vocals. My personal favourite off the album, Say You Will, is another intimate and emotive track. It opens with a gospel style organ and lyrics that explore life, death and memories. The track heads into an inspirational direction, with lyrics such as “what are we scared for?” and is a paired with upbeat percussion, distant guitars and soothing backing vocals.

In Bread + Wine, she showcases her ability to create alternative rock songs and incredible ballads. The track opens with an unsettling violin which is then layered over more emotive violin lines, which then immediately stop as Joy’s vocals begin to hum and the addition of a twangy, electric guitar. The track is the longest on the album, which then picks up with Joy’s vocals soaring over the top of driving percussion and an electric guitar breakdown. The combination of quiet, emotive moments and powerful, athematic ballads, shows her personal journey and ability to draw on a variety of elements from multiple genres to create something unique.

Joy Oladokun’s debut album Carry is an exploration of life, with an honest reflection of the hardships and triumphs. She experiments with a wide variety of genres, combining soul, folk, R&B and rock to create something that showcases her stunning vocals and genuine lyrics.