The landscape of an aspiring musician, songwriter, and
artist bursting with something meaningful to say, has never been easy to
traverse. Add to this inherently challenging journey the constant uptick in
financial pressures and needing to contend with the drive from one’s own
personality, and the prospect of simply making songs people will enjoy can feel
like the most daunting of mountains.
Joy Oladokun can definitely speak to that combination of challenges but the Nashville-by-way-of-Arizona musicians can also stand proud in knowing what it means to take on everything the landscape has to give and never giving up the climb.
After running into the all-too-relatable pitfall of extreme
expenses during her early years as a working musician, Oladokun let her work go
with the unknown breeze of a single opportunity of exposure coupled with some
funds and that willingness to take a chance in spite of no guarantees, came
back to reward her. The boost was just enough that what was almost Oladokun’s
last straw, became a solid stake in the ground to decide she was all-in on
music, no matter what the outside world or her own inner voice might say.
Here now with new single “breathe again,” Oladokun offers some of that renewed confidence to the rest of the musicians and people out there who may be contending with those same inner doubts and-or unrealistic and self-imposed standards that can sometimes hold one back from bigger and better things in life.
“[The song] “breathe again” is about letting go of perfectionism and embracing the warm flickering thing between light and dark that is our humanity. I can get so bogged down by my anxiety about my past mistakes or, what I might get wrong that I truly sometimes forget to breathe. This song is important to me because it is a reminder in those moments to let go, return to the present moment, and start again,” says Oladokun.
A song that sounds somewhat reserved and, with its harmonizing legato strings and reverb-dusted vocals, maybe even a little somber at first, despite being from Nashville, Oladokun’s style for “breathe again” goes nowhere near the country-powered strip of Music City. What colors the melody of this ballad are Oladokun’s own vocals. Her voice, which exudes the emotional depth of ballad champs like Lauren Daigle and Adele but also the slightly jagged and well-lived spirit of Stevie Nicks, sings out in a relatively straightforward way, not overly surrounded by instruments of prominent timbre like thick electric guitar, lap steel, punchy drums, or the like. While any of those tried-and-true instruments can lend their bold sonic presence to the kind of song that “breathe again” is serves Oladokun’s voice well, ultimately letting the one element that is most unique to her, be what conveys the encouragement built into the song’s message. It’s fitting and makes the music all the more appreciably sincere.
“I hope the people listening to this feel that permission too, and hopefully it can serve as a reminder to keep breathing when we’re bogged down. As far as influences and artists, I think Adele has always been an influence to me as a writer and musician. Even at 19, she had the sensibility to write these heart wrenching ballads. The humanity in her performance and songwriting has always been aspirational to me. This song is a poor man’s attempt at doing just that,” says Oladokun.