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September 13, 1995 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-09-13

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Wednesday, September 13, 1995 - The Michigan

iDaily -11

Detroit-based R&B singer Joya's got it all
Her debut album 'Here I Am' brings R&B back to its Motor City beginnings

By Eugene Bowen
Daily Arts Writer
Detroit. In the '60s and '70s, it
was the home of Motown and the
center of everything that was any-
thing in black music. Of course,
times have changed, Motown has
moved to L.A. and Detroit has little
claim to its past glory except for a
recently-opened museum. But, De-
troit native Joya is on a one-woman
mission to bring R&B home.
With the recent release of her
debut album, "Here I Am" (Atlas/
Polydor), Joya, 24, hopes to set her
R&B career on the right foot. Actu-
ally, Joya admits, her family and
friends were shocked when they first
heard about her album deal; she
wasn't the type of person they envi-
sioned as a professional singer.
"When I was in the church choir,"
Joya recalled, "I wasn't the type
who stood out. I got one solo, and I
was so scared because it was Easter
Sunday and everyone was out there.
I was singing all timidly. So every-
one was quite shocked to find out I
really could sing."
At 18, Joya and two others started
formed Many Faces. "It was me, my
friend, Liz, and this other girl. But
she was in the group for a week and
. then dropped out." Less than a year
later, Joya and Liz "sang at the fu-
neral of a close friend, and some
people heard us." Those "people"
turned out to be associates of pro-
ducer Mike Powell, who became
interested in forming a quartet -
Joya, Liz and two brothas from the
East side - which they would con-
tinue to call Many Faces. Eventu-
ally, the two guys left the group to
Continued from page 10
Various Artists
Original Movie Soundtrack to
the contributors to the "Kids" soundtrack;
actually, it's a select few such as Sebadoh,
Folk Implosion, Daniel Johnston, Slint and
Lo-Down that make it a cohesive counter-
part to the film.
Most motion picture soundtracks nowa-
days are nothing more than an a marketing
tool, designed to cram in as many hot new
Forever" soundtrack, as well as the current
~y 9
?. * s.P c

pursue a rapping career in Atlanta,
and Liz left as well. So, Many Faces
was now only one, Joya.
Through a series of lucky breaks
(they always happen in the music
biz), Joya was asked to sing back-
ground for groups like N II U, Shello
and After 7. From there, things kept
going more or less like butta, and
now Joya's preparing herself for
one of the most difficult battles a
person could ever face - making it
big in music.
It's not easy. Rumors begin to fly
almost instantly. Many would claim
that Joya's short, golden blonde hair
is a bite off of Mary J. Blige's "My
Life" look. But it's not. "I'm a
former cosmetologist," Joya states
proudly. "I've been wearing my hear
like this for two years." And it hasn't
always been gold. It's been "green,
blue - What you wanna name? -
pink, fuschia, burgundy, red. Ev-
erything. I've been in it all." It
shouldn't come as a surprise that
Joya is into the wild hair. After all,
"Detroit is the hair capital of the
Joya's biggest hardship, however,
hasn't come from lies, rumors or
innuendos; it's come from all-too-
real business facts in the biz. "My
worst experience was when I real-
ized it wasn't just music. That hit
me like a boulder." What does she
mean? "There is so much politics in
music. There's so much people don't
know, so much pressure. It's never
black or white in the music indus-
But Joya is a little wiser now.
She's not as timid about music's
business side as she used to be. She

has opiniors, and she demands to
be heard. "i f there's something I
feel that I'm right about, then I'm
going to raise some cain, 'cause I
know 80 percent of the time nobody
hears Joya. So if something's not
going right then someone's gonna
get it, just like they give it to me."
Joya admits that there are times
when she just wants to throw in the
towel, but she gains the strength
she needs to continue from two
things, her spirituality and the
memory of her deceased mother.
Raised by her mother and grand-
mother, Joya "grew up in the [Mis-
sionary Baptist] church." She was
in everything, choir, usher board,
Sunday School. This religious back-
ground has influenced her to this
day. "I'm a very spiritual person. I
always have ito take time to pray,
and I don't feel that I should be
disrupted from that. There were so
many times it could have been over.
So that's proven to me that there
must be a higher force." But, Joya
admits that she isn't an adamant
church attendee. "God is my life,
(but) I don't go to church every
Sunday. I don't think it's neces-
Joya's mother passed away at age
41 of natural causes when Joya was
still singing with Many Faces. The
emotional blow of her death could
have led Joya to halt her budding
musical career then, but "my
mother's belief in me really helped
me to make the decision to continue
with my music." Joya feels that her
mother is still wiith her in spirit, but
she nevertheless laments that her
mother couldn't be with her in per-

son now that her career is starting
to grow. "(My mother) never got to
see me start getting off into my
career," Joya states regretfully. "I
was on the verge of that.when my
mother passed."
Another thing Joya surely regrets
about her mother's death is that her
own daughter will never get to know
her grandmother. Joya is the proud
mother of a four-year old girl,
Maleka. Trying to launch a music
career is tough; trying to lauch one
as a single parent is damn near im-
possible. Joya has been lucky in
that respect. "Me being a parent
doesn't hinder me. That has a lot to
do with Maleka's dad (Maxwell).
He's very responsible and contrib-
utes fair and square."
Joya thrives off of negative feed-
back. "My pet peeve is when people
try and coax me. I have to take my
time and get in the mood." But,
Joya realizes now that it's not just
about what she wants. "It helped me
learn to be patient. (Now), I con-
sider myself a very down-to-earth,
cooperative, hard-working person
who realizes that I've been blessed.
That's what keeps me focused."
For Joya, fun comes in two words:
Rollerskating and shopping. In fact,
of all the things Joya misses now
that her schedule remains constantly
booked, rollerskating tops her list.
"My parents and grandparents met
at a skating rink, so skating's in my
blood." As for shopping, Joya takes
a special delight in shopping for
cosmetics. She is convinced that if
Fairlane's Mall brings in M.A.C. (a
make-up store), "it will be the
world's greatest mall." Joya plans

Joya has definitely got it goin' on.

on filling out one of those little
suggestion cards.
Joya is also a music freak; actually
she prefers "music fiend." "I have
like a million CDs and tapes. And I
know if any one of them is missing."
Yup, that's a fiend alright.

Speaking of music, Joya is very
excited about her future prospects,
and she's certain "Here I Am" is a CD
R&B/pop lovers will enjoy. "The al-
bum has versatility. It has some funky
hip-hop cuts, some slow ballads. It
has a touch ofjazz. It has everything."

are perfect examples of this phenomenon.
However, there are some soundtracks
that actually correspond to the movies
they accompany. The recent film "Ama-
teur" boasted songs from My Bloody
Valentine and PJ Harvey because Hartley
wanted them there. "Kids" has such a
soundtrack; for while Deluxx Folk
Implosion's brief but scabrous "Daddy
Never Understood" is a single, it's not a
calculated chart-buster. The soundtrack
has a definite feel to it; Barlow's de-
tached, icy vocals on Folk Implosion
tracks like "Nothing Gonna Stop" and
"Natural One" reflect the apathy and ni-
hilism of "Kids"' kids.
Instrumentals like"Simean Groove" and
particularly"Jenny's Theme"are also oddly
detached and depressed, with the hyper-hip
andblasatttudethatarethekids' wayoflife

and their ultimate downfall.
At the other ends of the spectrum are
Daniel Johnston's songs, "Casper" and
"Casper the Friendly Ghost," both of which
are classic goofy, geeky, childlike and awk-
wardJohnstontunes. AlongwithSebadoh's
"Spoiled," Johnston's tunes are the only
cracks of vulnerability in the cool veneer of
the soundtrack.
Lo-Down's "Mad Fright Night" and
Slint's "Good Moring Captain" add to the
air of mal ice and quiet despair on the album.
This soundtrack is a good example of what
can be done with movie music; it's both of
the movie and equally enjoyable and under-
standable separate from it. And it just may
last longer on your turntable than the film
will down at the State Theater.
- Heather Phares
See RECORDS, page 12


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