Analogue Music | Joy Downer

Joy Downer

By Matt Conner

Technically, Joy Downer is not a new artist.

Yes, Joy Downer been making music in one form or another for a decade or so, especially as part of the band Hello Sunshine, but this vulnerable feeling of having it all under her own name and this level of creative control makes it all feel new anyway. And it's all a bit much to take in.

"That band at the time was very folk-based. You could liken it to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes," says Downer. "My brother was the lead singer in that band and I was more of a back-up singer.

"There was definitely a safety in that for sure, that my brother was at the helm of that ship," she continues with a laugh. "I was just a passenger, y'know, just along for the ride. Now I'm captaining the ship."

"Everyone has a different idea of what I'm about or what the music will mean to them. I'm okay with that."

Paper Moon is the new debut for the "alternative dream pop" crafted by Joy and her husband, Jeffrey. The couple's strong melodic sensibilities should give Downer plenty of confidence in taking this next step, but it's a process any artist must go through to completely own their work as they present it to the world.

"It definitely feels a lot more vulnerable for sure," says Downe. "It's a scary thing putting yourself out there and then everyone is going to make up their own idea or perception of you. I think I've just very recently become okay with that in the last year. I've made peace with it. Everyone has a different idea of what I'm about or what the music will mean to them. I'm okay with that."

Downer describes music as a "center point" of her childhood, a child in a family unit that was always singing, always playing, always creating.

"Music was the center point of bringing our family together in our house," says Downer. "I grew up in a church that was highly involved with music. It was always in our house. My mom and sisters were always playing piano. My dad was always playing dashboard drums or any kinds of pots and pans percussion. We'd be singing with harmonies."

Such strong musical memories and influences provided an ideal palette from which she'd later pull to create irresistible songs like "Plastic Wrap" and "Getaway Car." Her influences are varied, giving her hones ground upon which to stand no matter where the music takes her.

"My dad was really big into The Beatles and Creedence Clearwater Revival and Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan—all those greats. I could go on and on there. My mom was really big into musicals with Cats and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and all those great Broadway shows. So there's all of that, but there's also what I discovered along the way like Oasis and Beck and Cake and Third Eye Blind. David Bowie was a big influence for me. I also love Blondie and Dolly Parton. It's really all over the board, but I just love all of it."

It's only a matter of time that Downer's platform spans the size of her influences. An appearance on James Corden is on the books for sometime soon (with details TBD due to the coronavirus), and Paper Moon's release will undoubtedly deliver even more opportunities to come.

VISIT: Joy Downer