Breakthrough singer, songwriter and musician Joy Oladokun was featured on “CBS Mornings” this week speaking with correspondent Anthony Mason.
Watch Joy Oladokun discusses her faith, hopeful sound and Chris Stapleton collaboration
The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, Oladokun was the first in the family to be born in America. After some time in Delaware, the family eventually moved to Arizona.
Her father’s record collection included hundreds of titles, and he introduced her to everyone from Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, and King Sunny Adé to Conway Twitty and Johnny Cash. On Saturdays, the family would “either rent a movie from blockbuster or watch the thousands of hours of concert and music video footage dad had recorded since coming to the states.”
One afternoon, Oladokun watch Tracy Chapman pay homage to Nelson Mandela during his 70th birthday tribute at Wembley Arena and it changed everything.
“I grew up in Casa Grande, which is in the middle of nowhere in Arizona,” Oladokun states on her website. “I was surrounded by images of white dudes with guitars. Seeing tracy chapman up there with a guitar in front of a full stadium was such an empowering moment. I ran into the next room and begged my parents to buy me a guitar for Christmas—which was six months away.”
After college in Orange County, she relocated to Los Angeles where writing became a job and she finally came out.
“I quit the church and came out of the closet,” she said. “I got to a point where i was like, ‘If God exists, He does not care that I’m gay. With all of the things happening, He cannot give a shit’. I feel like it’s not an accident I’m a queer Black woman writing and making music.”
She wrote and recorded countless songs alone in her Los Angeles apartment and her music and story galvanized a growing fan base as she completed a successful kickstarter campaign to release her independent debut.
She landed a string of high-profile syncs, including NBC’s this is us, ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, and Showtime’s the L word: Generation Q. Around the same time, she settled in Nashville, TN and continued to create at a feverish pace.
The CBS profile this week adds to a landmark year for Oladokun, who released her new song, “Sweet Symphony” featuring Chris Stapleton, last month.
Watch “Sweet Symphony” by Joy Oladokun & Chris Stapleton
Produced by Oladokun, Mike Elizondo and Ian Fitchuk and written by Oladokun, Fitchuk and Shae Jacobs, the song debuted at #1 on the iTunes Singer-Songwriter chart, in Pandora’s Top 10 most-liked songs and continues to receive widespread acclaim.
Widely acclaimed, the album landed on numerous “Best of 2021” lists including at NPR Music,Billboard, Variety, American Songwriter, The Tennessean, Nashville Scene and The Bitter Southerner.
Continuing to receive overwhelming praise, Oladokun was recently featured in Vanity Fair, who proclaims, “Her name is both prescient and redundant. She oozes energy that shifts a room’s center of gravity and makes you happy for it. It is charisma and she has it in spades. It’s the way she approaches her craft too.”
Since her debut, Oladokun has been featured as part of NPR Music’s “Tiny Desk (Home) Concert” series, was a guest on the renowned podcast “Song Exploder” and has performed on “CBS Saturday Morning,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” “TODAY” and PBS’ “Austin City Limits.”
Moreover, Oladokun recently collaborated with Brandi Carlile and Lucie Silvas on new song “We Don’t Know We’re Living,” with Noah Kahan on his track, “Someone Like You” and with Jason Isbell for a new version of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” as part of her debut Spotify Singles session.
Known for her powerful live performances, Oladokun completed her first ever headline tour earlier this year and has joined artists such as Maren Morris, My Morning Jacket, Jason Isbell, Pink Sweat$ and Leon Bridges on the road. She’s also performed at several major festivals including Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Hangout, Ohana Festival and Newport Folk Festival.