British MusicNews

Joy Crookes speaks out on musicians from minority groups being given a platform for their work

Minority groups don’t always have the best platforms for promoting their work, music, art, or literature. Part of the appeal of Web3 is the possibility for any type of artist to publish their work digitally and earn a following despite any shortcomings they might experience due to prejudice.

Joy Crookes is a 2020 Rising Star Award nominee at the Brit Awards. She hails from South London and was born on 9 October 1998. Her debut album, Skin, was released on October 2021, less than a year ago, and quickly reached the top five in the UK. 

She spoke to Radio 1 Newsbeat after her participation at Big Weekend in Coventry about her experience as an indie artist from a mixed heritage family without significant connections in music. Her mother hails from Bangladesh, and her father is Irish. Her heritage, culture, and relationships are essential to her identity as a singer. She has incorporated Irish dances in many of her gigs, and her music resonates deeply with her heritage.

Joy mentioned how her lack of connections was a roadblock when she started and probably one many indie musicians from minorities can easily relate with. Connections open up new opportunities for indie musicians:

  • They build your fanbase.
  • They get you the right managers and producers.
  • They attract collaborations and get reviewers to promote your music.

Networking is everything when making it big as an indie musician, especially if you come from an invisibilised minority. But the truth is that people from minorities have to go through several hoops and challenges to make it big in music, many of them steeper and higher than white musicians. 

For decades, the same entry barriers that have barred entry for people from minorities have also kept them from joining indie music. They are forced to feel as if they should fit the expectations of other white indie musicians.

Quoting Joy’s interview on Radio 1 Newsbeat:

“Even for myself, I don’t come from anything entertainment-wise. I didn’t go to Brit school, my parents aren’t entertainers, I don’t have famous friends.” 

She mentions how accessibility is essential for people who don’t come from backgrounds where they can get free passes and meetings with the best producers and promoters. She’s adamant in her convictions and expresses her views on culture and identity through her music, which is apparent in her Bangladeshi-inspired attires when performing. 

Crookes might soon become a trailblazer in the road for equal-access opportunities in indie music for people from minorities. She’s currently touring and working on her second album as a follow-up for Skin.

Words by Sebastian Caledron.

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