Joyo Velarde

Joyo Velarde

Bio courtesy of Joyo Velarde 

If you lived in California in the 90s, chances are you've sung Joyo's refrain in the shower. After the Manila-born NoCal transplant finished studying opera in Rome, she returned to the Bay Area, where she and future husband Lyrics Born recorded what would go on to be Solesides' greatest hit, a little number called "Balcony Beach." The song appeared on 1997's The Album, a record that went on to sell over 100,000 copies worldwide.

As part of the seminal indie hip-hop label Quannum Projects - a group whose founders included Lyrics Born & Lateef the Truthspeaker, Blackalicious, DJ Shadow, Jeff Chang (Can't Stop Won't Stop/VIBE Magazine,) and Joseph Patel (MTV) - Joyo quickly found her place as "The Quannum Songstress." In 2000 her first official solo offering - the jazzy and soulful "People Like Me" - was released on the label compilation Quannum Spectrum. In support of the album, Joyo and the crew toured relentlessly, which gave her the opportunity not only to hone her vocal and performance skills, but also to expand her steady base of loyal listeners from the US across the globe, from Australia to Europe to Japan. The following year, she further displayed her versatility with the cult hit "Sweet Angels," a lilting reggae-inspired tune that quickly became a fan favorite.

Music is her first love, of course, and her versatility as a singer/songwriter, belter, storyteller and explosive live performer knows no bounds. But Joyo has been recognized as a fashion icon, as well. She's been featured in San Francisco's 7x7 magazine as one of the Bay Area's trendsetters and style-makers to watch, and has received endorsements and performed at exclusive fashion shows and events for Puma, Evisu, Diesel, Upper Playground, Adidas, among others.

Having already appeared twice on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and featured on over 20 albums, including Lyrics Born's blockbuster indie classics Later That Day (on which she performed and co-wrote 10 songs, including the ubiquitous "Callin' Out" - featured on commercials for Diet Coke and Motorola), 2005's Same Sh*#%t Different Day, and 2008's Everywhere at Once, 2009 will finally see Joyo step into the spotlight, with the release of her solo debut.

Love and Understanding - preceded by her self-titled digital-only EP on May 26, 2009 - is a refreshing perspective on traditional soul music handcrafted by Joyo and Lyrics Born with the help of fellow producers Jake One, Emmy Award winner Asa Taccone, RJD2, Tommy Guerrero, Headnodic (Crown City Rockers), and the Lifesavas' Jumbo the Garbageman. A glimpse into Joyo's positive, self-affirming outlook, not to mention her impressive talent, it's already caught the attention of award-winning writer/actor/director Danny Hoch, founder of the Hip-Hop Theater Festival, who used her new song "Feels Right" in his latest play, Taking Over. Love and Understanding will come out physically and digitally in November 2009.

Leave a comment!