I don't make cool music...

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the music I make and the lyrics I write, and I'm excited to share this album with you because my heart is in it. 

But it's not cool.

I don't know when I realized that, to me, my songs didn't sound hip and badass like the music on the radio, but out of nowhere I started agonizing over how to make the album cooler.

I started rebuilding songs and stressing out. I started working on my mandated days off, and snapping at people who interrupted my "creative flow".

I was gross and unpleasant.

The worst part was that, no matter how hard I tried, the songs still weren't slick enough.

I even took a few days off and came back to listen to them...

The time away helped me calm down because I knew that the songs weren't half-bad, buuuuuuttt the nagging feeling of lacking a certain "cool-factor" persisted.

Probably because I don't ever feel cool enough.

My entire life, through all the different hairstyles, clothing, places I've lived and people I've met... I've never felt cool enough.

I look at pictures of past (and not-so past) Joy and I want to sit her down and say,

"Stop running, kid."

I want to tell her that that boy was an idiot...

I want to tell her that the pop punk band she was in was actually pretty incredible...

I want to tell her that that zebra shirt she wore most of senior year was the 3rd best choice she's ever made...

And I want to tell Past Joy that she's now 23 and she's still not cool.

That she still  sometimes walks into rooms and feels like she doesn't belong.

That she's still rather awkward, but in a much more endearing way..

Past Joy might be disappointed, but I think she'll also be stoked that she's grown into a woman that loves people the best she can.

She'll be excited that she finally stopped being afraid and started  working as a musician full-time.

She'll be over the moon when she hears that she gets to make a record and that she's gonna put out something that she can be proud of.

Something that maybe only a few people will ever hear.

And it may not be super cool.

But it's honest.

I like that.

 

 

P.S. Do people even say cool anymore? Should I change it to "dope" or "hip"? Please advise....

P.P.S. Should that be an editors note and not a P.S.?

P.P.P.S. Here's a picture of my high school band, Hit The Ground Running. Be blessed.







Paris.

Paris is burning

 God’s children weep

there is healing inside his wings

Paris is hurting

and blood runs through the streets

as a chorus of angels sing

 

Heaven waits and weeps with you

God is weeping waiting too

Though the seas roar and rumble

Love will not be moved

Heaven waits and weeps with you

 

The world is turning

And none of us can sleep

As nightmares creep to reality

 

But

 

The kingdom is violent

& our plowshares will beat

Into swords

Swiftly they'll bring peace 

The spirit and marrow cleave

 

Heaven is fighting now for you

God He fights for you now too

Though the devil tries to break us

We are gold forged, fire proof

Heaven is fighting now for you

 

 

Heaven is coming coming soon

God rides in on justice and on truth

Though the darkness has its moments

Light will always shine through 

Heaven is coming coming soon

What's In A Name?

For the past few weeks, I've been wrestling with whether or not to re-brand and change my artist name.

I want to make it easy for new friends and fans to be able to find me, and for some reason Oladokun (O-lah-doe-koon) has proven difficult for people to look up.

 I've spent a lot of my life apologizing for my names. My first name-- Olubukola (o-loo-boo-kuh-luh) -- has been this intimidating mountain of vowels and consonants and sound for every teacher I've ever had.

On the first day of school every year, I would sit and wait for the inevitable pause of a teacher who had gone from a  slew of Brittanys and Lindsays to this....

"OLO-BOKA-LAY?"

"Here. You can call me Joy."

Just like that, a name  lovingly bestowed upon by my father (it means "one more blessing") was tossed to the wayside because it was too difficult.


For a long time, I didn't mind. I didn't think it was important at all. 

Then last week, my manager and I were on the phone, and we were searching for variations of my name in order to change my social media handles into something palatable. Something cool, and sexy, and easy to pronounce.

However, I felt this indignation rising up in me. 

Maybe it's because the people pleaser in me has been dying a slow, paaaaiiiinnffuuull death, but I realized that I'm finished trying to making my brand--and myself-- palatable and easily acceptable to any one group.

God made me with an identity, and placed inside me certain convictions and passions and fears. He gifted me with family and friends that challenge me and bring those things out of me in a beautiful way.

No more hiding. No more whittling that down to make you feel safe.

I won't ever do that with my music, so why do it with my brand?

From this day forward I refuse to apologize for believing wholeheartedly in the salvific work of Jesus Christ, or for being a Democrat, or for being black, or for not being "black enough" (which is an accusation that ALWAYS stems from a limited understanding of black culture based on my speech patterns and indifference to most hip-hop).

I refuse to apologize for not speaking out on some things, so I can pick my battles and speak when it counts.

I refuse to apologize for feeling things deeply, and holding them in my heart.

 I refuse to apologize for my name.

Joy Oladokun.


It means "Joy, One with limitless authority," and I intend to use it.

 



 

 

 

Roll Up Your Sleeves- Meg Mac

Today, I broke two personal rules.

No, I'm not going to tell you what they are.

No, I didn't hurt myself or anyone else.

I just had a moment of clarity and freedom.

Kind of like the story of Peter and Cornelius in the Bible.

Peter was convinced of what he should and shouldn't do, what he could and couldn't eat, until a vision changed everything.

In a moment, one of Peter's strongest religious convictions was destroyed and it didn't destroy his faith, it just made it new. Stronger, bolder, freer. As Christ intended it.

That's how I feel today. 

Stronger. Bolder. Freer. As Christ intended me to be.

There are things that are essential to believe, to live in, to adhere to.

Then there are other things, things that grace covers and makes beautiful.

 

There, I said it.

This morning I sat at my dining table and said it.
The thing I've been avoiding saying for months now.
The thing that I said to my mom when I wrote my first song about LOTR.
The thing that I thought as a kid listening to Genesis and Michael Jackson and Conway Twitty.
The thing that a lot of you have been suspicious of as my page fills with posts about new songs and shows.
 

The thing that I didn't want to say because I am so cripplingly afraid of failure and making people unhappy that it didn't seem worth the risk.

The thing that I would spend the rest of my life wondering about if I didn't try it.

I'm going to pursue music. Full time.

This could prove to be embarrassing, or it could prove to be amazing.  It'll probably be both.

However, no matter how long this lasts, I know that fear has lost this battle and that makes it all worth it.

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Hold Back The River by James Bay

I just had a moment of self-awareness while putting laundry away (miracles happen everyday, people).

It is so easy for me to dream for others.

So easy to look at my imperfect self, and think that that good things won't happen to me, so I shouldn't try.

That's not real.

That's not right.

Life is full of these amazing or maddening moments that happen whether or not we deserve them.

Life is full of favor and failure and fear that can only be overcome by love.

Loving yourself enough to try something no matter the outcome and loving others enough to share what you have hidden in your heart.