Joyce Lee
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Joyce Lee

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"Joyce Lee EP Review"

Lately it seems fashionable to denigrate and abandon MySpace in favor of the alleged greener pastures of Facebook and others. Even I – a real status-quo kinda guy – am starting to move on a bit. But I will always be thankful to the old dinosaur MySpace for a number of things – not the least of which the gateway it provided me to some of the best independent music I’d never have heard otherwise. A good example of that is the subject of this review, the lovely California singer/songwriter Joyce Lee.

I first became aware of Ms. Lee well over a year ago when I somehow stumbled across her MySpace page. I’ll admit – her photos captured my initial attention. For those who don’t know, Joyce Lee is a willowy beauty equally photogenic reclining in a baggy sweater or striking a rock goddess pose with her shiny guitar slung low against a pair of impossibly long legs. My personal favorite pic involves fishnet stockings – but, um, I digress. I’m here to discuss the music, right? And so I shall!

The point of the foregoing is that Joyce is the sort of artist who commands your attention even before the first note is played or sung. When she does start singing – you’ll be totally hooked. I certainly was - from the first moment I hit the MySpace player and heard the stripped-down demo versions of “Home” and “Letting Things Go”. Those pieces whetted my appetite for more – but I would have to wait. And wait.

Finally my patience was rewarded with the recent issuance of Joyce Lee’s first proper EP, “Songs of the Undeserving”. And I am pleased to report that it was indeed worth the wait. This six-song set is positively boiling over with energy, wit and superb musicality. There’s nary a dull spot anywhere and, in fact, many of the tunes are instantly memorable. Moreover, Lee tackles a variety of styles and proves complete mastery of each one. You want rock? She rocks. Pop? It’s there. Rootsy country tinged stuff? Gotcha covered. Warm and fuzzy love songs? Ohhhh yeah. If you thought Joyce was versatile photographically – wait til you experience her musically.

I must at this point issue a warning: be prepared to listen to “Undeserving” several times in a row. If you don’t, you will miss ninety percent of what’s going on here. That’s because the first four or five times all you will hear – I repeat, all you will hear – is that gorgeous, gorgeous voice. That’s Joyce Lee. I think you’ll agree that she could sing a takeout menu and it would be just fine. But do give the rest of it a chance, OK? You will be treated to masterful playing, artful arrangements and peerless sound quality. On that note, big props to producer Kiyoshi Graves whose tasteful touch always seems to make good things even better.

Full disclosure here: It must be noted that Joyce Lee is not an overnight sensation who accidentally wrote a batch of good songs. She is a classically trained musician with a solid technical grounding in how this stuff should work. That’s why Joyce’s compositions are uncommonly satisfying – as rich and meaty as a good Irish stew. Her lyrics, by turns wry, blunt and insightful, betray an obviously sharp mind paired with a delightfully oddball sense of humor. And heart. You don’t write songs like “Speechless” and “Lullaby” without a cubic ton of heart. Throw in a big dollop of honesty too, because many of Lee’s words cut clean to the bone. I may be wrong, but I think Joyce Lee has lived every lyric she has written. If her songs are an accurate indication, Joyce has partied with abandon and loved without reservation, all the while staying true to herself. I want a girl like that, don’t you?

I could go on at length about the collective and individual pleasures of this EP – but – why should I? The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Or in this case, in the listening. And listen is what I suggest you do. Buy “Songs of the Undeserving” right now and play it repeatedly. And while you’re falling under the Joyce Lee spell, give a little shoutout to MySpace – because, for me at least, that’s where this musical love affair began. - AsianTalentOnline.com


Discography

"Songs of the Undeserving" EP - releasing July 2009

Single - "Letting Things Go" featured on the "Dragon's Lair" radio show, IMRadio.com, ProRadio.com and 98spot.com

Photos

Bio

Although singer-songwriter Joyce Lee was classically trained to play the piano since she was 5 years old, she decided to pursue a different musical style after falling in love with rock n' roll. At 16, she taught herself to play the guitar and began writing her first songs. Encouraged by her friends, Joyce decided to pursue music as a career.

While Joyce has been complemented for her catchy songs and her sassy, witty lyrics, she is most well known for her powerful, expressive and soulful voice. In a review of her debut album, "Songs Of The Undeserving," Steve Foley from AsianTalentOnline.com states "be prepared to listen to 'Undeserving' several times in a row. If you don’t, you will miss ninety percent of what’s going on here. That’s because the first four or five times all you will hear – I repeat, all you will hear – is that gorgeous, gorgeous voice. That’s Joyce Lee. I think you’ll agree that she could sing a takeout menu and it would be just fine."

But don't take his word for it, listen to Joyce Lee's music yourself to hear the songwriter who's been called "brilliant" and is "...as beautiful off stage as she is on..."

Please also check out Joyce's band, Lights on Fire, at lightsonfire.com.