Once Upon a time a girl named Emma Joy Melissa Duncan was born to a family deep in the heart of Africa. She was born into a rythm, melody and adventure that she could never quite get out of her blood.
First called Em Joy by her ‘Pops’ this little sunbeam brought her Joy with her wherever she went.
There is a family joke that Em must have eaten bird seed as a little girl because ever since she was tiny she’s been singing or whistling a happy tune.
Em Joy’s tunes are ones of reflection, optimism, playfulness and love. Her folky accoustic sound has been likened to Angus and Julia Stone, Jack Johnson, Regina Spektor, Daughter, Colby Calait and Missy Higgins. (Which makes sense as they have all been musical influences).
The effects of the bird seed live on and Em Joy continues to bubble forth songs. She released her debut EP album “Say Nice Things” in 2013 and after taking a short break is working on a further album and has released of her single “Home” November 2015. After a change of scene from Newcastle NSW to Cairns, QLD ,she was nominated for the Cairns Spotlight Showcase and performed at the Cairns Festival August 2015. Em Joy also opened at the Tanks Botanica for ‘The Waifs’ Cairns show during their “Beautiful You” tour this October and has some exciting shows coming up 2016. Em Joy’s music is a blend of poetic, soul, and folky accoustic, emotion. Her tunes will sneak their way into your psyche and follow you long after the last note has faded. And your heart will be happier because of it. will be happier because of it. I thought a chat with Enjoy was long overdue..
You originally come from Africa, what brought you to Cairns?
Well it wasn’t a strait transition from Africa to Cairns, there was NZ and Sydney/Newcastle along the way, but the draw card was initially the tropical fruit. From 2012 till midway 2015 I was a raw vegan/fruitarian and I originally came to Cairns for Australia’s first fruit festival where I ended up meeting my partner. So I guess you could say it was love and fruit that drew me to Cairns!
What are the highlights of your performing career so far?
The highlights of my music career would have to be my EP ‘Say Nice Things’ 2013, my single ‘Home’ 2015, Opening for The Waifs in Cairns on their ‘Beautiful You’ tour 2015 and I’m really looking forward to making an appearance at the Esplanade festivities in Cairns for Australia Day.
How do you see your music has evolved since releasing the “Say Nice Things” E.P?
Well I would have to say that it seems to have taken a more reflective, soulful direction. I still write with a simplistic acoustic folk feel and probably always will. I feel like I have just settled deeper into my creative expression perhaps the same way a good cheese ages. Becoming more comfortably myself.
The music I have heard on your website has a band backing, are they local musos or was that recorded before you came to Cairns?
I’ve only every recorded as a duo or max a trio. I’ve been very lucky to know some really talented musicians in my time! ‘Say Nice Things’ was recorded in Newcastle at Spinlight Studios. The band consisted of just myself, my good friend, and legendary musician Billy Otto, who played every instrument except for the drums, and Billy’s friend and sound engineer Rhys Zacher on the drums. My recent single ‘Home’ was recorded locally, in Speewah actually, in our little treehouse studio by my partner Matthew Bell and I. (Matts another one of those sound wizards who plays everything under the sun and can engineer sound like nobodies business!)
Whats on the horizon for Em joy?
Well I have high hopes to creatively work in film and TV. I really enjoy the creativity involved in the mixture of music and visual arts and am currently looking into sneaking my way into that part of the music world. I also have discovered that I really enjoy crowd interaction. I love live shows and don’t have any touring plans as yet but wold really love to do more live music in 2016 so watch this space. This summer Matt and I plan to hit the studio and hustle up a couple good tunes too. So with keeping the chickens fed and my day job happy Em Joy is going to be a pretty busy happy whirlwind amidst a pretty darn good life.
Em Joy will be playing the first Resonate of the new year on the 7th of Jan. Entry is free.
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