JOY. is the musical vehicle of twenty one-year-old Olivia McCarthy, a singer-songwriter-producer and multi-instrumentalist who crafts ethereal and introspective electronic-pop songs anchored by sultry, hypnotic vocals, incisive songwriting and a keen focus on production.
Nearly three years on from the release of her much-fêted debut single ‘Captured’, and less than two years since her breakout moment, performing as the Triple J Unearthed winner at the Brisbane leg of Laneway Festival and Field day 2015, JOY. continues to cultivate a singular sound and style in step with her outsized talent and tenacious determination.
In her relatively short run, the ambitious multihyphenate has graduated from solo bedroom recordings, including most notably her acclaimed debut EP, Ode, which landed #1 on the iTunes electronic charts in mid-2015, to working alongside some of the industry’s biggest names like local luminaries Peking Duk, The Kite String Tangle, Basenji, and international heavy hitters such as producer DJ Khalil (Eminem, A$AP Ferg), and the production team behind The Weeknd – DaHeala, Ben Billions and DannyBoyStyles.
Additionally, JOY. has garnered strong support from influential tastemakers by the likes of Nylon magazine, which proclaimed, “JOY. could be Australia’s next great pop export”, and Beats1 creative center Zane Lowe, who earmarked JOY. as ‘One to Watch’ at 2015’s Beats Sound Symposium in Sydney, and rightly so. JOY.’s burgeoning cache of self-written, self-produced tracks are at once melodically engaging and structurally ambitious.
Born into a music-loving family in Brisbane, JOY. grew towards the sounds of classic rock, alternative pop and R&B. “My parents always had music around me growing up, which I soaked in,” she says, adding that the eclectic variety of artists she was exposed to and subsequently embraced at a young age left a resounding impression on her musical development. In particular, JOY. points to Fleetwood Mac – “Because they’re so iconic and I grew up listening to them so they influence everything I do” – and Enya, whom was played regularly in her house. She also cites D’Angelo as a strong influence, and Bon Iver – “Because listening to their first album made me want to do music.”
An inspired blend of formal training and raw instinct, JOY.’s intuition about a song goes beyond songwriting and makes her an incredibly thoughtful producer. “I was writing and arranging my own music, and consequently recording my own music as well, so that organically turned into production,” she says of her introduction to the craft.
Needless to say, her ambition is paying off. The myriad successes of the past year stand testament to this, namely, her billing at festivals such as Vivid Sydney’s inaugural one-day music festival Curve Ball, and the annual electronic festival Listen Out, along with her inclusion on last year’s Australian Spotify Spotlight list, a major coup for any emerging artist looking to cut through the noise.
As for what’s next, JOY. will continue to work on new material with her creative team, comprised of Dopamine, Manu Crooks, Anfa Rose, and Miracle. “We work really well as a collective together and they inspire me and push me creatively,” she says. And of the reaction she hopes her music incites along the way: “I want to inspire other young musicians to create and be themselves, just like I was inspired growing up.”