Music

Joy Ike's "Ever Stay" Is a Warm Reminder That We Are Not Alone (premiere)

Photo: Doerthe Externest

The Nigerian-American singer-songwriter's latest is a brilliant blend of folk, rock, and pop sounds that culminates around the reminder that hope is always with us.

Since her 2008 debut, Joy Ike has been known for that particular infectiousness that pervades her music. Blending elements of folk, rock, and pop with her instantaneously captivating suede-smooth vocals, she humbly achieves a place of liberating warmth as a roots artist with a big heart. Nowhere is this truer yet than on her upcoming album, Bigger Than Your Box, releasing 6 April. Ten years into her discography in 2018, Ike is more liberated and powerful a songwriter, performer, and storyteller than ever before.

In lead single "Ever Stay", it doesn't take long for these claims to be validated. Listeners are immediately ushered into the song by a lush production of instruments that build around Ike's hearth-drawn delivery. By one minute in, it fully culminates into an ebullient anthem focusing on an exploration into the depths of the unknown — and how, through it all, we are never truly alone.

"When people ask me to describe Bigger Than Your Box, I say it's about dreaming beyond what you can actually see," Joy Ike says. "Several of the themes expressed through the songs explore justice in times of uncertainty, navigating a tumultuous societal landscape, and finding courage by breaking out of boxes and structures that compartmentalize us and inform how we view the 'other.' It's a direct reflection on the last several years in our world."

"The songs are equally about breaking free from bondage and rising to your calling in life despite the structures (health, situational, etc.) that work to keep you subdued and outside of your purpose. 'Ever Stay' opens the album because navigating uncharted territory is scary, unpredictable, and usually dangerous. 'Ever Stay' is a reminder that we are not alone and that we are not on our own - that there is always hope, even 'down in the valley of shadows of death'."

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