Episode 225: Joy Oladokun

Joy Oladokun – “look up”

Joy Oladokun is a singer and songwriter from Arizona, now based in Nashville, who’s been releasing music since 2015. Last year, she was named an Artist to Watch by NPR, Spotify, and Amazon, and she was #1 on Vogue’s list of New LGBTQ Artists To Listen to Now. She put out her third album, In Defense of My Own Happiness, in June 2021. It includes the song “Look Up.” For that track, she worked with Grammy-nominated songwriter and producer Dave Bassett, and while they were working and talking, they recorded a couple very long voice memos. Joy sent me those voice memos, and in this episode, in addition to the stems of the recording, and Joy’s story about how it was made, you’ll hear the actual moments when the song was first coming together. And Joy explains how the song was inspired by the different, and maybe opposite ways that she and her partner see the world.

You can buy or stream “Look Up” here.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
Manchester Orchestra
“Blackbird” by The Beatles
Mellotron

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Episode 224: The Nightmare Before Christmas

Danny Elfman – “What’s This?”

Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas came out in 1993. It’s a stop-motion animated musical, with music by legendary composer Danny Elfman. He’s won Emmys, a Grammy, and been nominated for four Oscars. His work includes the music for Tim Burton’s Batman films, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films, Good Will Hunting, and the theme to The Simpsons. From 1979 to 1995, he was the singer and songwriter in the band Oingo Boingo. This year, he released Big Mess, his first solo album in 37 years.

The Nightmare Before Christmas takes place in a world where different holidays all have their own realm. And the story is about Jack Skellington, the leader of Halloweentown, a place where it’s always Halloween, and Halloween is all they know, and Jack has grown a little tired of it. But then, Jack discovers a portal to Christmastown, with snow and Santa and all things Christmas inhabiting it. The song “What’s This?” takes place in that moment of discovery. In this episode, Danny Elfman tells the story of how it all came together, and how writing and singing this song for Jack Skellington ended up profoundly connecting to his own life.

You can buy or stream “What’s This?” here.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
Steve Bartek, orchestrator
Pee-wee’s Big Adventure
Beetlejuice
Edward Sciccorhands
Celesta, instrument
Tchaikovsky“The Nutcracker,” ballet
Gilbert and Sullivan“I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General”

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Episode 223: Halsey

Halsey – “You Asked For This”

Halsey is an award winning singer and songwriter from New Jersey. She’s been nominated for two Grammys, and sold over a million records. In August, she released her fourth album, “If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power,” which was produced by the Grammy and Oscar winning duo of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, from Nine Inch Nails. Halsey wrote one of the songs on the album, “You Asked for This,” with Greg Kurstin who’s won 8 Grammys himself, including Producer of the Year. In this episode, Halsey tells the story of making this song while pregnant with her son, and how that shaped the lyrics and the music.

You can buy or stream “You Asked For This” here.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
My Bloody Valentine “When You Sleep”
Shoegaze
Gewn Stefani
No Doubt

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