South African-Dutch singer and songwriter Joya Mooi on her new music

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Joya spoke to us about her blended heritage and what influences her music sound.
Joya spoke to us about her blended heritage and what influences her music sound.

South African-Dutch singer-songwriter Joya Mooi (29) has released a brand-new single, Remember, off her forthcoming project.

This follows the success of her debut EP Blossom Carefully.

Known for her vocals that have seen her win hearts and devoted fans over the years, Joya’s blend of soul, alternative, and R&B music is influenced by jazz. 

"When I was writing ‘Remember’ I was thinking a lot about the reckoning that a lot of thinkers, writers go through with their recipients. Thoughts that seemed revolutionary in the past, were hardly actually listened to, and are now part of our collective memory, part of our IG quotes and referred to in pop culture,” Joya says.

“I’m intrigued by how works are received, how much our current time dictates to what extent we can listen. I try to hold work I love close...that’s kind of easy. But this song reminds me to be open to any idea because even when some things may sound ‘radical’, I might welcome it with open arms in a few years...but it may need attention now."

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Joya’s dream is for her music to touch people from all over the world. She wants to connect, more especially to her roots in South Africa where she was born and considers home. She will always consider it her home. 

Born from a South African father and Dutch mother, her parents met in Angola while her father was in exile; and growing up in the Netherlands she had issues with belonging and music assisted with that.

“I have a strong connection to my South African origins and ancestry, and it shows somehow on my music. But I felt something of an outsider. My music is honest, and in several songs, I explore the concept of identity and belonging.” she says.

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Joya is trained in Jazz but her sound leans more to alternative neo-soul and R&B.

“I might have studied Jazz but in the last 10 years, but I’ve been navigating into an electronic, soul and R&B kind of sound. The sound in my next project is very fluid and intuitive.”

In some of her music, she writes about her family and the sadness of experiencing loss.

“I find it easier to express real thoughts and feelings,” she says.

Because of her parents, Joya grew up listening to the likes of Alice Coltrane, Abdullah Ibrahim, Ella Fitzgerald, and Oscar Peterson, an of which helped shaped her perspective on music. 

“But when I create, I stay away from listening to other music at all.”

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