STEPPING INTO HER OWN

Joyo Velarde: Take You Home
From Joyo Velarde EP (Quannum, 2009)

Joyo Velarde. You may have heard the name but not quite sure where. Chances are it was from the Latyrx cut “Balcony Beach,” a Cali classic. Joyo has also has performed and written tracks with with her husband, Lyrics Born (who pops up in the video), on his numerous album releases. Now she steps out on her own with her self-titled EP, available this Tuesday, May 26, from all digital distributors.

The vocal arrangements hearken to some ’80s steppers. The hook on “Take You Home” reminds me a lot of Exposé’s “Come Go With Me” vocally. The EP’s opener, “Build This World,” has a slinky, brooding bass line. Closing out the EP is the reggae-tinged Bobby Digital-produced “I Need You Boy.” Kinda makes me feel like I’m back at a festival at the Holiday Inn in Montego Bay on my honeymoon.

Her voice is crisp and full (what else would you expect from someone who trained in opera in Rome) and reaches low, although not quite to Anita Baker or Toni Braxton levels. The EP is a nice opener into Joyo’s world, and I can only imagine that this will sell well in sunny areas as it has a nice laidback summer sound. It’s perfect beach music or to listen to in a droptop convertible while driving down Highway 1. Later this year, her full length “Love And Understanding” will be released by Quannum. Until then, this should tide you over quite nicely.

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