Over the past year, Joy Crookes’ introspective songwriting has been picked up by the SRA music network alongside press heavy weights like Vogue and The Guardian. Crookes released two EPs in 2019 – Perception and Reminiscence – both of which exploring themes ranging from belonging to outgrowing relationships, with tracks like London Mine and Don’t Let Me Down.
Crookes initially caught my eye with her release YAH / ELEMENT in which she interpolates Kendrick Lamar tracks into a downbeat chillwave number with her own instrumentation, weaving her own meaning into the mashup perfectly. When I heard this track I knew she had an energy I wanted to bring to Shock Radio that I felt would appeal to other students also – a young woman full of ideas that balance out borrowing from classic sounds while putting a distinct spin on it. While regularly pigeonholed as a neo-soul vocalist, such as the late-great Amy Winehouse, to characterise Crookes as such without referencing her other influences would be a shame. Her lyrics are both analytical and soul-searching, while the instrumentation varies from trip hop to synth pop with an art rap undercurrent.
In a recent interview with Miss Vogue, Crookes states that she hopes to ‘level up’ from a lyricist to a poet before her upcoming 21st birthday, but at three EPs in almost as many years it’s clear to an outsider that she has long since exceeded this goal. This autumn Crookes completed a UK tour including sold out dates at eARTH in Hackney and The Deaf Institute in Manchester before jetting over to continental Europe to continue her tour into the winter. Once the tour is over, hopefully her debut album won’t be far around the corner.
Eleanor Toni Huggins-Cooper of Shock Radio, Salford Uni