„It’s different now” – but what exactly? Listening to Joy Bogat’s EP you can hear the afro-german singer re-live different stages of growth, that changed her music, personality and mindset over the last two years.
There are joyful moments celebrating taking time and space for yourself, musically transported by laid-back grooves and floating backing vocals. But to write about the longing for a parent living on the other side of the globe also finds its place in her music. While diving into such personal topics, Joy always finds something healing in the darkest places – and that’s what makes her music so honest: reassuring the listener that you don’t always have to have everything figured out – you’ll find your way in the process.
Since she started producing her own music in 2019, a unique style of mixing vocal harmonies, synthesizers and soulful grooves has evolved, and Joy is symbolic of a new generation of multiply talented musicians not only in the German Indie- & Soul/RnB-scene: composing, arranging, writing, being on stage.
1. being under water you can get a taste of eternity
2. the energy you radiate into the world is what’s coming back to you
3. there’s no point in searching for beginnings, we were always in the middle of everything
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
every emotion I have felt throughout my life
2. How and when did you get into making music?
When I was five I wrote songs for the fictional radio shows of my sisters, then at nine I started playing the piano and writing real songs. Using my voice was always something that allowed me to express myself and my feelings so I guess that when I grew more conscious of the world around me and my place in it I needed an outlet to process it all. And that’s what music has always been for me. I am most present when I listen to, create, make and feel music.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Since my favorites have changed over the years, these are just five albums which have influenced or inspired me recently:
The miseducation of Lauryn Hill – Lauryn Hill
A Seat At The Table – Solange
Rose in the Dark – Cleo Sol
Baduizm – Erykah Badu
Acoustic Soul – India.Arie
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
It’s a place of contrasts for me – inhabited by different smells and tastes, like a dish that’s always simmering but never finished because there are constantly new ingredients to it. Whenever I’m in the city I feel like I know my place but at the same time I know I could reinvent myself there if I wanted to.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
The water. I live 2 minutes from a river that leads you out of the city in fifteen minutes by bike. There I have a kind of refuge where I can press pause for a bit and sort through my thoughts when I’m swimming and can silence the outside world when I dive under water.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I’d probably do something that has to do with words. Own a bookstore, write, learn about how words shape our reality and how communication works. There’s so much power in that.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
That would have been the “Lianen La Havas” album that came out in 2020.
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I’d love to work with Cleopatra Nikolic aka Cleo Sol. She manages to move something in me in the way she writes and sings music. There is such purity in the sounds, the lyrics. The way she speaks to her audience is a musical trait that inspires me a lot.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
As a performer I’d say my best gig was my EP release show that I just had in November 2021 because it was the first show in a club in Hannover where I live since the start of the pandemic. My approach to music has changed so much over the last two years and I am more confident in what I do now, so it was really special to finally be able to share this progress with so many people I know and feel that they see me for me and the music that I create. There was a really special energy in the room that evening.
The best concert I ever went to as a spectator was a show that Solange Knowles played in the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg in 2019. Seeing how she owned this classical white space for herself and fellow musicians and dancers as a black woman was so empowering and soothing.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
Since I “broke up” with the other musical projects I had a few years ago, the importance of technology has grown a lot. Nowadays I still write music when I play the piano but I’ve also started producing my own music using Logic and it’s helped me discover new ways of writing music. For example I never used to be able to put into words how I imagined the drums of a song when I worked with other musicians and now that I am able to produce them at the computer I can try different grooves and patterns for as long as I need until they are how I hear them in my head. So technology enables me to really put my musical vision out into the world.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
My two older sisters have had a huge impact on me as an artist, I don’t think they know how much they shaped me in the way that I always felt okay with myself and knew that no matter what I’d do in music, they’d still support me and love me. We’re really different but get along well even though we don’t live in the same cities. And despite our differences they always mirror back to me that somehow I manage to put into words what they’ve also felt or experienced over the years. So they are really supportive which I’m super grateful for.