Joy Oladokun

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Fusing the deep emotions and confessional nature of classic singer/songwriters with music that encompasses contemporary folk, R&B, and pop, Joy Oladokun is a fiercely independent musician who has built an international audience. While she had been playing guitar since childhood, it wasn’t until 2015 that she quit her job and took a shot at realizing her dream of making music full-time. She released a solo acoustic EP, Cathedrals, that year and followed it up with 2016′s Carry, a full-band effort that included the single “Shelter,” which introduced her to a wider online audience. Oladokun earned more acclaim with the companion albums in defense of my own happiness (the beginnings) (2020) and her major-label debut, in defense of my own happiness (2021), as well as 2023′s Proof of Life. The single “Questions, Chaos & Faith” appeared in 2024. Raised in a small rural community in Arizona, Oladokun began playing guitar when she was ten years old. Inspired by artists like Tracy Chapman, Lauryn Hill, Bob Marley, and singer/songwriters of the 1970s, she started writing songs but initially had no intention of pursuing music as a career, preferring to perform for family and friends, sometimes writing them new tunes as gifts. After completing college, she got a job and was planning to settle into her new position when a friend asked her what she would be doing if money were not a consideration. Oladokun replied by writing songs and traveling, and her friend urged her to follow her muse before it was too late. Oladokun relocated to Los Angeles and initially landed gigs as a backing vocalist while she honed her craft and played occasional solo shows. In April 2015, she released a solo acoustic EP, Cathedrals, and later that year launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise the money to record a full-length album. She was able to raise more than her $30,000 budget, and Carry, featuring backing from a full band, was released in April 2016. Full of personal, emotionally powerful songs, the record helped Oladokun expand her audience, and she followed it up with touring in the United States and the United Kingdom. She continued to record and release new material in a series of singles, with “Memphis” appearing in October 2016, “No Turning Back” in April 2017, and “Sober” in June 2018. Another single, “Sunday,” arrived in June 2019, and appeared on her acclaimed 2020 full-length effort in defense of my own happiness (the beginnings). After signing with Verve Forecast and Republic Records, Oladokun made her similarly titled major-label debut with 2021′s in defense of my own happiness. The album featured her previously released singles “Breathe Again” and “Sunday,” along with several collaborations including “Wish You the Best” with Jensen McRae, “Heaven from Here” with Penny & Sparrow, and “Bigger Man” with Maren Morris. Oladokun kicked off 2022 with the stirring stand-alone single “Keeping the Light On.” The following year, she issued another album, Proof of Life, which was written with the intent of representing everyday life. The record featured an impressive array of guest artists including Manchester Orchestra and Chris Stapleton. In 2024, she released the Jon Foreman collaboration “In Bloom,” as well as “I Wished on the Moon” and “Questions, Chaos & Faith.” ~ Mark Deming