Â See Vance Joy in concert for 92ZEW’s Free Concert New Artist Discovery showcase at The Soul Kitchen, Tuesday June 17. Â Early Show starts at 8pm, doors at 7pm.
Australian indie folk singer/songwriter Vance Joy began his career playing the Melbourne open-mike scene at the end of the 2000s while completing his law degree. Finding success with his intimate, Bon Iver-influenced songs, Joy decided to put law on hold and pursue a music career instead. Born James Keogh, the singer took the name Vance Joy from a character Peter Carey’s novel Bliss in order to better separate his personal and professional life. As his reputation grew, he began working with a manager, booking bigger shows around town and eventually recorded his debut EP God Loves You When You’re Dancing. His catchy folk-pop single “Riptide” was an immediate success in Australia and eventually led him to sign a lengthy multi-album deal with Atlantic Records. In 2013, Joy began touring internationally and recording his first album for Atlantic.
From: Melbourne, Australia
AKA: James Keogh
His Sound: Keoghâ€™s music might be described as indie-folk, tinged with a modern-pop flavor. His smooth and honeyed vocal style works well with the light, lively strums of his ukulele.
3-Minute Bio: The 25-year-old first made a splash with his standout track, â€œRiptide.â€ Within hours of its upload to Soundcloud, the infectious single hit #1 on Hype Machineâ€™s Most Popular Chart. Keogh canâ€™t believe the success heâ€™s had with the tune, which just went gold in Australia. â€œI had a special feeling about it,â€ Keogh tells TIME. â€œI didnâ€™t know if it was going to necessarily be a really popular song, but I knew that it was catchy and it had a definite spark to it.â€
After earning a law degree, Keogh decided to follow his heart and focus on music. He first tested his musical chops at open-mic nights in and around Melbourne, and word of his unaffected yet sophisticated sound quickly spread. He soon started headlining his own sold-out shows, and in March released his debut EP, God Loves You When Youâ€™re Dancing, in Australia.
Vance Joyâ€™s music, along with their SXSW showcase this spring, caught the attention of an Atlantic Records executive in the U.S. The label decided to put their faith in Keogh and sign him to a five-album dealâ€”the EP goes on sale September 3. Vance Joy recorded God Loves You with a Melbourne producer who works at the back of his parentsâ€™ house, in a small studio he calls â€œThe Shed.â€ Keogh had been sitting on his song ideas for a while, so each track only took about a day to record. â€œIt was quite a low-key affair,â€ Keogh says. â€œWe just let it happen spontaneously, so it was a bit raw. I think we embraced that.â€
Keoghâ€”who is so new to the business that he has yet to receive a single royalty checkâ€”says heâ€™s not in it for the money. Instead, he wants to put his focus on establishing a connection with listeners. â€œWhen I go to a gig and I hear a song that I really like, a song that hits home to me or hits an emotional nerve,â€ Keogh says, â€œif I could ever recreate that for someone, that would be the ultimate goal.â€