It’s been a few years since the chart-topping 80′s icon Joyce Sims graced the UK charts. Remembered for RnB classics like ‘All and All’ and ‘Come into my life’ from her debut album of the same name, Joyce has been spending time in the UK working on her fourth album due out this summer.
Jazz & Blues TV writer Musicvein met with Joyce in the studio to get the low down on what she’s been up to.
MV: For the new followers of your music, tell me, who or what are your biggest influences?
JS: Musically that would be the Jackson 5, definitely Chaka Khan and Stevie Wonder.
“I heard the piano rhythm on ‘I want you back’ and was just like Oh my God what is that!”
MV: And what was it about them that influenced you?
JS: Well with the Jackson 5 it was the first album. I heard the piano rhythm on ‘I want you back’ and was just like ‘Oh my God what is that!’ It was everything, the music, the family, the singing; the whole package was just perfect. And you could relate, they were my age, playing instruments – I wanted to do the same thing so I could really relate to them. With Chaka Khan I just loved her stage presence and Stevie Wonder – the fact that he was a song writer, he could sing and play the keyboard, it just really influenced me and I started reading and writing music.
MV: There’s a lot of new technology out there since you were around the first time – how have you embraced this?
JS: Oh I’ve definitely embraced this. You know when I came up in the 80′s, I was with the bands and so you had to rely on their schedule, their family time, everything relying on another person but now with the software available you can do a lot yourself, once you’ve learned the technology. Social media too, it opens up the whole world to you. I use Twitter and Facebook – I don’t use them all though there’s just too many! (She laughs) You can correspond with someone from Europe – while you’re in New York, it makes it easier for writing and collaborations. It’s not like you have to fly to New York and have a studio session, you can do it online and send your files back and forth so I’ve really embraced the new technology.
“I’ve been writing and touring…started my own label called August Rose Records”
MV: So what have you been doing since your last album ‘A New Beginning’?
JS: Since ‘A New Beginning’ I’ve been writing and touring, I’ve released 3 singles and started my own label called August Rose Records, so I’ve been busy constantly writing and trying to establish the record label.
MV: Talking of that album ‘A New Beginning’ you had a few deep, religious tracks on there which were funked up with the help of some great DJ’s Junior Vasquez and Benjamin Deff. How was this received by fans and also Christian people?
JS: Well at the time when the single ‘I Praise His Name’ came out it was well received in New York, especially in the clubs which was surprising to me. I don’t know how well it was received in the churches and the congregations though. Unfortunately when I released ‘A New Beginning’ it was at a time when the economy was taking a downfall, I was with Tower Records and that whole chain went out of business so that really messed up the whole circulation and promotion of that album.
MV: I see, so are you a Christian? And how do you find the balance between writing songs that tell of the love of Jesus and those suited to the masses?
JS: Yes, I am Christian and I write love songs – God is love. I won’t sing or write anything that I couldn’t sing in front of my father, niece or nephews so I don’t have a problem with it. You know there is praise and worship and then there’s for the masses like you say.
MV: Ok, on to your new album. How did you come up with the concept for this album?
JS: It’s still based on love songs. Everything starts with a great song so I always approach the album first from the song.
“I’m working with a lot of UK producers…I even have something in the making with Maxi Priest”
MV: And how long has it been in the making?
JS: Some of the tracks were written years ago but I also have a lot of new material which I’ve been working on for the past year.
MV: Does the album have a name yet?
JS: No name yet
MV: Jessica’s love songs perhaps? (Jessica being my real name)
JS: (Joyce throws her head back and laughs) Ok! Jessica’s love songs! – Just kidding!!! The album does NOT have a name yet.
MV: Drat…OK then. Tell me how will this album differ to your others?
JS: I’m collaborating with other writers and I’m working with different producers so automatically it’s going to have a different sound and that’s a big difference for me. I’m incorporating a lot of new technology too on the tracks so it will have a different twist.
MV: Who are you collaborating with?
JS: I’m working with a lot of UK producers – Livingston Brown, Matt ‘Jam’ Lamont, Bryan ‘Keys’ Tharme and Jay Picasso. Collaborating with wonderful writers Mark MA, Dion Lewis and also the Hoxton Whores. I even have something in the making with Maxi Priest!
“Learn your craft…get a good attorney…surround yourself with good people”
MV: Wow some great guys there, I’m looking forward to this album already! What advice would you give to up and coming artists?
JS: To be true to themselves. Not to get into this business because of the money or what they see on the television because it’s not real, television is for entertainment! Really learn your craft, if you want to be a singer or musician take lessons – obviously it’s good to go to a music school but you can also go online, Google anything, you’ll find lessons online! Make sure you get a good attorney and surround yourself with good people. People who are not afraid to tell you when you’re wrong or don’t know what you’re doing – because it’s rough out there, but it can be a beautiful thing if done right.
MV: Thank you Joyce for your wise words, and what does the rest of 2013 have in store for you?
JS: Brand new music! I have brand new management – Suzy Zanousi, brand new music and I’m just excited about everything!
For more information on Joyce’s new album due out Summer 2013, catch her on Twitter, Facebook and her website Joycesimsonline