Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Finding the Joy in Music; Local Singer and Producer Shares Her Passion in Song

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Finding the Joy in Music; Local Singer and Producer Shares Her Passion in Song

Article excerpt

Byline: Tonyaa Weathersbee

Joy Dennis sorted through a few hobbies and suffered through a bit of heartbreak before she found her voice.

Thankfully, it's a voice everyone else now gets to hear.

"I started out in sports," said Dennis, a local singer and producer. "I had cousins who went to Ribault [High School], and I went there to run track. ... At one point, I was into tae kwan do, but I grew out of it."

Then she found chorus.

Dennis had sung in her church choir as a youth, and in elementary school. But in chorus she learned the dynamics of singing, and the principals of how to sing.

"It was like a breath of fresh air to me," she said.

Dennis, 31, is giving others a chance to sample what she's created since then.

Last summer, she released her first CD, "Music Is." It's a spicy stew of songs seasoned with blues, funk, jazz, R&B and other forms of music that can spur listeners to dance, to amen or to simply reflect.

One song, "Electric Chair," is Dennis' remake of a blues song originally sung by Bessie Smith, then by Dinah Washington, about a woman contemplating using a knife to end the abuse she's suffering from her man. Another is simply titled "Dear John," about a heartbroken woman writing a letter to the one who broke her heart.

Travis Lockley, who owns Visionary Studios in Northwest Jacksonville where Dennis rehearses, said he can even relate to "Electric Chair."

"I see it as being about how people can do you wrong in general, so much to the point where you don't care about what happens to you if you go after them with a knife."

But, Lockley said, he sees most of Dennis' music as being "relaxing, lovable and soothing."

Recently, Dennis held a party to herald the video release of "Electric Chair" and "He Awaits." And while her future in music looks promising, Dennis said her main job as a child abuse investigator for the Florida Department of Children and Families exposes her to experiences that help to shape her voice.

"With one of my videos, 'Electric Chair,' I wanted to give awareness to domestic violence," she said. "Children get hurt, they get in the middle when they're trying to break up their parents' fights, and they're emotionally and mentally abused just by seeing that. …

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