Joy Valencia is a Los Angeles based singer/songwriter and producer currently working on her début album. Haven't heard of her? You have now and other people you know may soon. Until then just get on the computer because she's out there being a self promoter for her music that she feels you should be hearing. I have to agree with her.
Hailing from the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights, Valencia studied her musical craft at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. While at the school she changed her major from Songwriting to Music Production and Engineering giving her a feather in her cap when in the studio setting, but still calls songwriting her favorite. She plays both guitar and piano.
Currently, she is working with her husband at their studio Elytron in Santa Monica writing and producing songs for her album. With the production background she feels she can be creative with Logic and ProTools on top of the traditional instruments. Valencia's fascination with production and the inner workings of recordings began at an early age -
“As a kid, I used to splice together parts of different songs and make my own mixes,” Valencia said. “I also used to record myself from tape to tape, over and over again so it would sound like I had five voices.”
Valencia admits that her music is influenced by 1960's psychedelic pop yet her tastes are wide-ranging. Fans of pop music without all the overdone qualities of the last few years should enjoy her style and grace while fans of indie bands may dig her vibe -- at least in a guilty pleasure sort of sense. She confides that inspiration to be a better writer comes from the works of songwriters she loves -- Harry Nilsson and Paul McCartney. Her pop sound is well crafted with a lush production quality reminiscent of mid-1960's Brian Wilson sound without the proficient Wrecking Crew in tow and a little less echo.
Her song "Wallet" evokes a Brill Building vibe with a clever pumping piano line that sounds decades old, but adds lyrics with a recession era reminder that the cost of living isn't cheap -- especially in California. Wouldn't it be great if all it took to stay current on the bills was a new shiny wallet? On the track Valencia laments she has no money to get her car washed and has put off the task for way too long giving someone a perfect pallette to draw a picture in the dirt on her window. She sings "I feel like the only non-shiny car in this town"; a serious faux pas in Southern California where people see their cars as more of a status symbol than their home. A summertime sing-a-long song for the car with the windows down.
The breathy vocals with a thick echo effect on "If You Love Me" are just above whispering level as she tries to win over the affection of her lover. The music, a piano and strings with no percussion, gives the song a stark quality that brings to mind hits by a 1990's chantuese or two.
Valencia uses social media to her advantage to get the word out about her music as she is not currently playing any live shows, but she will be playing live dates soon. Currently, she documents her recording process with a prolific Twitter feed, Facebook page, You Tube videos, and website. For now follow online to see her progress to her eventual goal.
Recently, she put out a call to raise $3,000 in 3 days to help her make a music video for her song "Don't Wake The Lion." The entire crew donated their time, but the money needed to be raised to "cover food and lodging for 14 crew members for 2 nights, gas and transportation to the desert, wardrobe, art department, makeup, and some equipment." She ended up raising $4,390! Her cinematographer, Christian Sprenger, for the project just shot the video for The Black Keys "Howlin' For You." In an e-mail, Valencia advised that she plans to release the video next month. Be watching for an announcement in the coming weeks.
At present she is focusing on the music without thinking about a scheduled album release date. Since she has no label she's not under any timetables on when to have the songs done and therefore she's letting her songwriting dictate when the album is complete. Though not opposed to shopping her music to a label, she has not approached that phase yet. Although she does have a title for the album; she's keeping that a secret for now.
Her beautiful looks will certainly open some doors if she decides to shop her music to a label, but will her music do the same thing? It's hard to say as tastes in this digital age are hard to nail down, but Stereofame named her their Artist of the Month in September 2o1o. It's an accolade that likely won't be her last. If you like what you hear below, watch this space for more news in the future.
If You Love Me