joy downer
Joy Downer: Photo by John Knipp

Most of us prefer to ​bury the memories of our most vulnerable, blissfully naive teenage years brimming with mistakes and saccharine love. Alt dream-pop darling Joy Downer, however, channelled them into her songwriting. The result: A funky, neon-vibrant melody parading with tongue-and-cheek lyrics. “A Song You’d Never Want to Hear” is Downer’s latest single off her debut record​ Paper Moon, and features a bold, syncopated bassline underscored by synths and drum machines.

“Jeffrey [Joy’s husband and musical collaborator] was playing a sweet bass line,” explained Joy in an email interview. “I started to feel that wonderful feeling of inspiration – I wrote it as I do most my songs, in stream of consciousness sort of just press record with this sweet sweet bass line rolling, start singing and see where it takes me.”

The most sharp lyric on the track, “I still don’t know why I didn’t let you let me go” was notably a lyric Joy wrote for a scummy high school boyfriend. The remainder of that song may be history, but from it a gem was born!

“Most the vocal you hear is from that very first recording,” shares Joy. “I always thought I would replace with some more clever and poetic words, or a better vocal take, but when I listened back to the idea, I thought about how it put me back in the mindset of my 17 year old self. How it resonated with who I was when I used to write romantic sappy songs for my high school boyfriend. He never really cared for them, or for my singing …”

Joy Downer’s childhood was filled with music – her parents, both musicians and music lovers, helped to shape a wide range of influences from Broadway musicals to disco to punk. All throughout school Joy wrote music, whether it was to help her retain information for classes, or to cope with feelings of what she would later learn to be depression.

Ultimately, “Joy Downer, she’s not a downer at all,” says Joy when asked to describe herself. Her positive outlook and self-awareness, combined with a fearless musical range, have culminated with a stunning collection of 9 songs on her upcoming album ​Paper Moon. ​All nine tracks were written, recorded, and produced by Joy and Jeffrey Downer in their Los Angeles home.

Paper Moon​ is the highly anticipated follow-up to Joy’s debut EP Radio Dreamer ​- released in 2017 to local buzz, prompting Joy to sing a cover of “Over the Rainbow” for a powerful Honda TV Ad that same year. From there, syncs started rolling in with MTV’s ​Siesta Key​ highlighting “Weapons Down” and Netflix’s Original Series ​Spinning Out​ tapping “In the Water” as its theme song in early 2020.

Featured on Grimy Goods’ Forecast of Artists to Watch in 2018, as well as commended by Refinery29, PopSugar, Earmilk, ​and Magnetic Mag, a​s well as playlisting at Apple Music and Spotify — Joy Downer is soaring through new dimensions with ​Paper Moon​.

Words: Jenna Dorn

Get down with Joy via her Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Stream: Joy Downer “A Song You’d Never Want to Hear”

joy downer

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