Joy Crooks Talks Longevity and Here Debut Album, Skin

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image Source: sony music

Some artists cite longevity as their only career goal. For many, it often appears to be about relevance, recognition and making it international – things that can arguably be considered easier to do in the short term. not for joy crooks, Although. The 23-year-old singer-songwriter wishes for a long life, and she has a pretty good idea of ​​how she’s going to achieve it. fresh from high level of release his first album, skin, the crooks have been nominated Mobo Rewards, performed throughout London, and began touring the world. We spoke with her to talk about the inspirations behind her album, holding her community accountable, and how she found self-preservation in an industry that’s constantly changing.

“I always knew I loved music but I didn’t think it was a viable job,” Crooks told POPSUGAR. “My parents are great, but neither of us thought it was realistic. I think passion took that notion, and it just became something where it was a natural next step for me.” Like it felt.” His Bangladeshi-Irish heritage also played a part in the decision-making process. “As much as immigrant parents want you to have a stable and secure job, I think there’s a lot more to say about the opportunity. I think they saw that there was an opportunity and they told me to do it.” Encouraged to take, while keeping full knowledge of the risks thoroughly.”

“Sam Fender never asked if he represented England, so I don’t think I need to represent Bangladesh.”

In terms of her musical influences, Crooks cited Kate Nash, Sugabase and Lily Allen as her early inspirations, explaining that her father brought her up listening to records, many of which she still listens to today. Names like Marvin Gaye, Van Morrison, and The Pogues popped up in his head alongside female jazz singers like Nina Simone, which, if you’ve heard Crooks’ music, makes a lot of sense. Crooks realized that she wanted to make her own music while singing Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” and Nina Simone singing “Ain’t Got No, I’ve Got Life” and was impressed by the level of emotion. “How much emotion was in that music and how raw and direct it was, it was mind blowing to me. I think I was really struck by the feeling that their music and their live shows emitted to me. That was the turning point. “

Like many music artists, the pandemic made it hard to arouse those feelings in fans, and it forced many to look inward instead. However, for Crooks, looking inside wasn’t an entirely bad thing. “For me to be an extrovert and be an artist, it takes a lot of back-and-forth and I feel quite a bit on my mind. Not in a negative way, however, I really like my company and my own space and To do things at my own pace, I think, to the level of introversion,” she explained. Taking time for myself isn’t something Crooks has really struggled with in the past, but, she said, “to sit with my thoughts and my thoughts about them, good and bad, it made me face myself more than ever.” inspired to do it.”

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Crooks was writing his first album mainly during the lockdown, skin, Given that the record was set in a pandemic, a number of concerned sentiments clearly affected it; Most notably, however, the state of the world at the time it was created. “Feet Don’t Feel Me Now” is a song that Crooks says is a commentary on cancellation culture, and the idea that many people who fear cancellation turn out to be either hyperperformative or complicated instead. Crooks explained, “It’s really easy to point a finger at other people, but in that video I really wanted to address my community, especially my Bangladeshi community. I think that as a people, we are very much Decision-makers can be there. Being born half Bangladeshi, I know that from the moment I am born, my morals are controversial.”

The track’s video shows a widow wearing a white sari (usually worn in South Asian cultures when someone in the family dies) while wheeling a moped. “His whole idea is to try and reclaim our narrative, but also to hold ourselves accountable. In what light was that song written? Black Lives Matter protest in 2020, and [during that time] I was really struggling with some South Asians and myself too, because I felt like just because you might have a shared anguish, doesn’t mean it’s the same. I think if we’re going to correct someone, first we need the right people, not to point fingers at everyone. It’s really easy to see this ‘white people this, white people who’ in that moment, but in reality this mentality is as present in our people as it does in any other non-black race. it’s going to take a lot of time [to change things]People need to take the time and know when they are not doing the right thing.”

“I think indigenous people are so multifaceted in culture, religion, sexuality, there is no point in having one person for everything.”

Crooks’ sole purpose as an artist is to think of someone who is here to stay. “I believe in using my voice sometimes for political reasons and sometimes saying things that are difficult for people to hear, but as versatile as an artist can be, I believe in longevity. I am,” she explained. According to the singer, achieving that longevity is simple because, for her, “it’s about not compromising too much.”

He believes that while it may be easier to go along with what everyone else is doing, there is a level of self-preservation to be had when you are an artist. “It’s like fast fashion. I have to ask myself, ‘Do I want to be part of the conveyor belt and be a hypermarketable, hyperaccessible thing that sells?’ It’s not that I don’t think my music is accessible, because I’m a pop artist, but sometimes that top that everyone is wearing now was already in the stores three years ago. I’m that top instead , and I think this is only achievable if you actively choose not to be on the conveyor belt. There’s a reason I don’t have any features in my album. There’s a reason why all the features I did, I can count on one side. It’s to avoid saturation. Right now, all I’ve learned about not being an artist is just Flash and Go. I have a lot more to learn, but Those are the steps I have taken to reach this point.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18: (editorial use only) Joy Crooks attends the Brit Awards 2020 at The O2 Arena on February 18, 2020 in London, England.  (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

While crooks never shy away from wearing their culture on their sleeve—sometimes quite literally—more often than not, it’s meant to make a statement. “When I wore a british cloak“It was just to make a point, it’s weird that I can go to an award ceremony and know that no one is going to wear my outfit because there are no South Asians in the music industry,” she said. It was like a semi ‘f*ck you’, it didn’t even really sound like where I was trying to represent something. I really refuse to be someone who is representative Sam Fender never asked if he represented England, so I don’t think I need to represent Bangladesh. I think indigenous people are so versatile in culture, religion, sexuality, for everything There’s no point in being a person.”

Despite this, Crooks is still fueled by the idea of ​​making his family proud and seen. “On a completely personal level, I hoped that my mom and grandmother would see it and feel some kind of pride,” she said. “My mom and grandma are darker than me and they’ve had a really hard time accepting who they are, whether they admit it or not. I thought, ‘If they see me in this, maybe they themselves But I will feel a little proud.'”

In terms of what’s next for the singer, you’re already seeing it. “I just want to make records, and then everything that comes with it. Touring and performing and making music videos, I basically want to keep doing that. Longevity is everything to me.”

Image Source: Bray McDermott-King

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