Five Questions With Imogen Joy

Canadian alt-folk pop singer-songwriter, poet, and producer,  Imogen Joy has unveiled her new single, “My Marianne”.

“This song is about dipping into different memories,” Joy says. “I say ‘do our little moments blur?’ and that’s exactly what the song is doing: blurring together the highs and lows of having a connection with someone, as well as the simultaneous burden and privilege it is to love someone.

“I’d read this letter Leonard Cohen wrote to Marianne Ihlen as she was passing away,” the Toronto-based artist adds, recalling the song’s inspiration. “It was basically an ode to his muse and friend, and said he wasn’t far behind her.

“After reading that letter, I immediately thought of the person I write all my songs about. I’ve always developed really intense relationships with people and knew I’d be writing a letter like that one day to ‘my’ Marianne.”

Check out “My Marianne” below and find out more about Imogen Joy via our Five Questions With segment.

Care to introduce yourself to our readers?

Hi everyone, I’m Imogen Joy and yes that’s my real name! Ironic in a way as all my songs tend to be dark and melancholy, but I guess there’s still joy in those things! I’m a songwriter, producer, and poet from Toronto. I love podcasts about serial killers, super spicy Korean food, and the coldest snowy nights. I’m the kind of person who builds blanket forts in my living room and still sort of believes in fairies when I’m walking through a forest. Someone recently told me my life is like a gold mine for lyrics. I’m a storyteller, I like big characters and special moments full of magic, so I make sure my life has lots of it. I’ve been writing poetry since I was a child, annoyingly precocious- I had my poems published in different books and magazines including Toronto’s Young Voices. I studied Music Industry Arts & Performance and was part of the Canadian Songwriter Challenge with Music Ontario. I’ve released two EPs and continue to release new singles all the time!

Tell us a bit about your music and writing style.

There used to be this back part of my childhood bedroom’s closet which must have been the previous owner’s secret room because there were leftover hinges on the wall. I used to go into this pitch-black area and stay there every day for hours recording off the microphone from my crappy computer. Phrases with melodies would pop uncontrollably into my head. It wasn’t something I happened to try one day, it was really something given to me like the colour of my eyes or my shoe size. I’ll be in the dullest places like the subway and full verses will come to me. I’ll be falling asleep and my brain with its last crumb of energy will say WAIT write this down first.

I grew up reading the Beat Writers, Margaret Atwood, Sylvia Plath, and Charles Bukowski. I grew up listening to Queen, Leonard Cohen, and Joni Mitchell (my mother would actually wake me up at 6 am every morning by blasting Bohemian Rhapsody). So the idea of being authentic in my writing, being funny, being smart makes its way into every song. My music is mainly Alternative Pop with elements of Folk. I like writing catchy choruses and sweet melodies. I like writing lyrics with nostalgia yet acceptance of what is. Most of all I like writing true stories, capturing moments that in their sorrow, absurdity or happiness made me feel alive.

Do you have any upcoming shows? For someone who has yet to see you live, how would you explain your live performance?

I’m looking over my shoulder and COVID-19 is shaking its head no. I think right now it’s too dangerous and irresponsible to be playing shows in person. If you follow my social media I’ll be releasing pre-recorded live sessions in the meantime. I’m very candid at live shows. I like giving you way too much information as if each and every person in the audience is my old friend and I’m singing you a secret, letting you into the club.

If you were asked to suggest only one of your songs for someone to hear, which would it be?

“My Marianne”. This song is my favourite that I’ve released so far, honestly, if I died tomorrow I would be okay leaving this as my epitaph. If you’re lucky enough to have a Marianne you know what it is to be obsessed with someone, to hate someone, to need someone, and let someone go all at once.

Canadian Beats is all about Canadian music, so who are your current favourite Canadian bands/ artists?

I have Jesse Reyez, The Weeknd and Emily Haines on repeat right now but Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell are always my favourite. My favourite local artists are Ariel Gold, Charlene Amour, and Aunest.

Connect with Imogen Joy:

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