|(Niki Hinkle photo)|
Webster’s dictionary defines joy (n) as “1. the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.”
At 26, artist Joy Daniels is doing more than just living up to her name.
If asked, she’ll tell you she wasn’t extremely talented but always had a love for music. Ask anyone who knows her, though, and they’ll tell you that encapsulated in her music, influence and personality are proof she’s a rare gem.
“Joy is someone that I think is different, a good different,” said promoter and event organizer Justin Springer, a friend and former co-worker. “She brings something I don’t think has been seen in music itself. She channels a lot of energy, and given the right platform, she will make you love her.”
Daniels’ smile alone is enough to light up a room. But it’s her powerhouse voice, passion for people and the art of music that reign supreme.
That’s what prompted the New Jersey native to turn down a near full academic scholarship, move to Boston and attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music, where she would graduate in just three and a half years. It was during her time there that she “stopped caring about what others thought and started working on an album.”
Since then, the rest has been history. Daniels eventually went on to organize and host a long-running live music event called Boston Renaissance.
While working on albums and exploring this new musical venture, she learned much about herself as a singer and songwriter, as well as the ins and outs of the local business scene.
“I went through a lot of criticism and a lot of messy stuff [as] I was growing up and figuring out what I wanted to do as a business woman and who I wanted to be,” Daniels said, referring to her experience running Boston Renaissance and her inexperience at the time of working with peers. “I’m a lot more confident now and I have a lot more tact and know-how and wisdom on how to deal with [issues].”
Always finding joy in the midst of things is just her style.
Dealing with haters, social network slander, unexpected obstacles, uncalculated struggles and wavering so-called supporters are just some of the things she’s had to overcome. And despite candidly admitting the road to stardom has been far from a cakewalk, Daniels acknowledges the highs and lows have helped shape her story to what it is today.
But it’s far from over.
In just a few short years, Daniels has gleaned from her experience the importance of counting every test towards her testimony and savoring sweet moments all the more because of the bitter ones.
Thus, creating her album “Joy After the Rain” was a project of much clarity and awareness.
“Mainly my awakening came from a really crappy relationship,” Daniels said. “I had a really tumultuous one where I fell so deeply in love that I was acting stupid and willing to put myself in really horrible positions in order to maintain [it]. And as a result of that, when I lost it I had to really re-find out who I was.
“So the album is a compilation of some of that relationship, some of my past relationships and then with higher self — just some of who I wanna be and what I wanna do. It’s vulnerable. Everything you hear on that record I’ve been through and probably 10 times worse.”
After spending time in the trenches with best friend, producer and “partner in crime” as she calls him, Harold “Levelsoundz” Shawn, “After the Rain” was written and produced solely by their joint effort.
“Joy has a healthy, quiet confidence that just rubs off on you,” said Shawn. “It’s nice to have in a friend someone that can uplift you and make you believe in yourself, and she’s definitely had that effect on me, my music composition and life. She just inspires me the most. I’m proud of her successes but know she has so much further to go.”
Proud of her work and overall progress, Daniels decided after eight years of living in the Bean that it was best to explore other horizons.
That’s why in January, Daniels took her talents to L.A. The move was necessary to take her career to the next level, though she’ll miss the bonds she’s built on the East Coast.
“Boston is a really great place to nurture and cultivate your talent, but places like New York and Los Angeles are epicenters where it’s now time to present the product,” she said.
In every strategic move she makes, Daniels makes it a point to actualize her musical goal: changing people’s lives with her music. As a “disciple of Christ” she wants people who may be brokenhearted, hurting and going through difficulties to be reminded of a “higher power, something more, and prompt them to start searching for whatever that is.”
That’s what brings her joy.
“If I could say anything about myself it’s like yes, I do music, I love music and this is my profession and I take it very seriously,” she said. “I’m a great businesswoman [and] all that stuff, but at the end of the day, inside of me is just a little girl who really loves to sing. That’s who I am.”