The Atlanta-based Singer/Songwriter and Multi-Instrumentalist JOA keeps our fires burning with his single "Living Proof," off his recent album, 'Why Can't I?, Part 1.'
The Alternative artist has grown his passion for songwriting and recording through multiple collaboration opportunities with acts like Bonnie McKee, Demi Lovato, and Katharine McPhee, to name a few. After JOA and his father built a studio together in Atlanta, JOA has been recording local bands while also putting his own craft to the test.
Through his latest single, "Living Proof," JOA tells a conceptual storyline about exceeding others' expectations and being living proof that adversity is to be overcome.
With uplifting Alternative instrumentation and production, JOA offers a sliver of his recent album while allowing the listener to feel a sense of security and reassurance deep down within.
"Living Proof" opens with soft and serene production that melts through our speakers with soothing synths, airy percussion patterns, and a tender electric guitar. As JOA begins singing with incredible passion and strength, his lyrical message begins to stand out with a message surrounding the problems that families face and dealing with them one day at a time.
Being "Living Proof" that he can overcome the obstacles in his way, JOA expels this heightened sense of confidence within the second half of the song and allows listeners to feel an uplifting sense of well-being. Through the song's transcendent and atmospheric instrumentals/production, the piece offers this overall feeling of inclusion and coming together.
We love what JOA has offered to listeners with his recent hit, "Living Proof," especially with the anthemic feel he delivers alongside his wise lyrical message; JOA is soothing the souls of listeners everywhere.
The concept you've written for your single "Living Proof" is quite in-depth. Could you explain what inspired the song's lyrical content and what you wanted listeners to take away?
The main objective of my latest work has been to face head-on my own lineage / DNA. We all inherit certain things from our parents - good and bad. I’ve always been relatively aware of the good parts, but over the past 5-6 years, I started to realize that in order to really focus on my own issues, I should take a moment to reflect on the trauma that may have been passed on to me from my parents or even the generations before them. Doing so gave me a lot of insight into my own problems, why I am the way that I am, and how I could heal from those ancestral wounds in order to stop passing along the same disadvantages to my own offspring. The verses of “Living Proof” are describing those wounds, first, my uncle’s mental illness (Schizophrenia), my mother’s trauma in dealing with her own childhood carried on to me and my brother’s story, my father’s battle with alcoholism and addiction, passed on from his mother, and alas, now I am realizing I am now the carrier of all this weight, and it’s up to me alone to learn how to shed it. I’ve always felt the odds were stacked up against me my whole life. And I think other people saw that, too, and felt pity for me in that regard. "They said it’s gonna take a miracle”. The chorus is a realization and a celebration for myself and for everyone else that if we’re alive, which we are - then within that fact is an inherent proof that we’re still trying. The blend of organic and electronic instrumental/production within your song "Living Proof," perfectly compliments your uplifting lyricism. What was your recording process like when crafting the sonic atmosphere to offer this sense of well-being?
Something I experimented with on this latest batch of songs is going back to my roots, musically. Growing up in the south, I spent my earliest years listening to country music. That was probably the first style of music I was ever really exposed to, and I love a lot of country music, particularly for the storytelling and songwriting style. So when I sat down to write a lot of these songs I broke it down to just acoustic guitar and vocals, and then I would find a tempo, and track a scratch acoustic guitar and a vocal to that, just to have a guide for the song, and then I would promptly delete the acoustic guitar and then build a track around a vocal that was basically singing a country song framed by an organic instrument, and then reframing it another sonic dimension. It proved to be a worthwhile experiment, as I feel I created something that sounds familiar but yet original. The first song on the record “Running Out Of Reasons” is a perfect example of that, in that it is 95% vocals/vocoders, but if you really break it down, in essence, it’s a country song. Perhaps that “down-home” feeling that country music often brings to the table is that sense of well-being you’re describing. Seeing as your song "Living Proof" is off of your recent album, 'Why Can't I?, Part 1,' what does the single offer to the album in terms of dynamics? How does the single add depth to the album?
“Living Proof” is certainly the shining light of hope in a rather dark tunnel of an album. I’m very self-aware about this. By design, the first “Why Can’t I?” EP focuses more on the darker aspects of the fore-mentioned journey. "Part 1” is overall somber in mood, so I felt that there should be a song on this EP to serve as a backbone and also a hint to what is coming on the next EP - “Why Can’t I? Pt. 2” Do you usually write songs like "Living Proof" that offer this uplifting and positive tone? Might we see more tunes like this within your album 'Why Can't I?, Part 1'?
I feel like I’m paving the way, both musically and emotionally, to be able to write more positive, upbeat, and brighter songs in the future. I can feel that coming on, actually, as I finish up this recent batch of songs. I’ve written many happy songs in the past with different projects, but when I started this solo venture of JOA back in 2016 there was a noticeable shift in my musical demeanor. I think I knew I was going to have to dig deep for a while, and that has certainly proved true. I’m very excited to see what the future holds now that I have confronted many demons and feel like I’m putting my woes to bed. What has been keeping you inspired throughout 2020? What can we expect to see next from you as we enter a new year?
2020 has made me feel a sense of urgency about what I’m doing. Time has passed so quickly, and it has been a major motivator to finishing projects that I have been taking my time with over the past few years. I guess the radical changes we have experienced this year has made me realize that time is precious, and big shifts in our world are not only possible - but ultimately inevitable. This has led me to wanna clean out my closet and be more readily prepared for anything to come. I hope that by doing some heavy work on myself this year, I can be a better friend, a better lover, and a better brother to my fellow human beings. All that to say - “Why Can’t I? Pt. 1” is actually the first of 3 EPs that I plan to release in the coming months. On top of that, I will be collaborating with a bunch of my artistic friends in February to write and record “That’s Called Going For It! Vol 3”, which is a project aimed to write and record an entire album in one month as a part of February Album Writing Month. I will also be finishing up some new singles from my band World Is Watching, as well. I plan on releasing more music in 2021 than ever before, and I’m right on cue to do so.