Album: I Will Stand
Release Date: September 16, 2021
I Will Stand is the latest EP from Toronto-based artist, Tania Joy.
Tania, a graphic artist by trade, bought her first guitar 20 years ago but didn’t start playing it until 2009. As Tania says, “My life was going through a big transition, so I used the guitar to get through it.” Since that time, Tania has been working to hone her newfound craft – culminating in this very EP. Tania has also used her newfound voice to foster open mics and co-found a non-profit music festival, Springtide, which hosts over 70 acts in various venues around Uxbridge, Ontario.
This unique background can be felt throughout I Will Stand. Each song seems as much interested in engaging in difficult topics as it does to promote healing from that pain through music and community. For example, the song, “Planks and Marietta,” dives into the topic of the cycle of racialized violence, but maintains a sense of hope with Tania’s confident, welcoming voice as she calls for change in the chorus. The song itself, Tania explains, is meant as a protest song very explicitly inspired by wanting to reconcile her feelings on the death of George Floyd. Furthermore, the song was released exclusively on Bandcamp during Black History month with all proceeds from downloads being directed to Black Lives Matter. In other words, Tania is serious about using music for change. The album features electric guitar, bass, acoustic guitar, organ, drums, Wurlitzer, strings, Farfisa, & synths to accompany Tania’s vocals, but maintains a dressed-down simplicity and honesty similar to the works of Tracey Chapman.
A standout track on the EP for me was “Stay Here”. In”Stay Here” Tania empathizes with the listener about our collective exhaustion at the state of the world but then coaxes us with a lullaby-like melody to stay and fight for a better tomorrow – if not for ourselves, for our children and our children’s children. As Tania says of all her songs on I Will Stand, “I hope these songs reach those who need to hear them and empower us all to lean into the light.”
I grew up in Alberta, but spent most of my life in British Columbia – I also spent a lot of my summers in Britain as I was lucky enough to have immigrant parents with the capital to go visit our relatives. The amount of time I spent overseas makes it hard for me to say I feel fully Canadian, but it does make me feel typically Canadian as so many of us have mixed parentage. My parents defined another divide in me as I feel inexorably pulled to both science and the art; my father being a doctor and my mother being a school teacher. I studied both in university and now work on making healthcare software during the day, then write/read/draw/paint/dance in my evenings. My global wanderings, my education, and the fact that my appetite for media could be described as ‘voracious’ means my frame of reference is pretty varied. It’s hard to say that I have a favourite music genre, rather I am always seeking sounds that convey a sense earnestness an honesty.