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On her deeply confessional new track, Nashville-based artist Joy Oladokun asks for “mercy”

23 June 2020, 13:08 | Written by Matthew Kent

Drawing on contemporary folk, R&B and traditional pop elements, singer/songwriter and producer Joy Oladokun translates her experiences and reflections into something sublime yet urgent.

"mercy" is the latest track to be taken from Oladokun's forthcoming second album, in defense of my own happiness, volume 1. It follows the surprise release of "Who Do I Turn To?", a track written, recorded, mixed and mastered in one week in response to the growing worldwide Black Lives Matter movement and condemnation of the police, with profits of the single being donated to Nashville LGTBQ shelter Launch Pad.

Oladokun grew up in a rural Arizona and started to play the guitar at 10 years old, but it wasn't until she finished college that a friend spurred her on to follow her dreams of travelling and writing songs. After moving to LA and working as a backing vocalist, honing her craft, she self-released and produced her debut album Carry, which was released in 2016.

Since late last year, Oladokun has been sharing her follow-up full-length record piece by piece and "mercy" is one of the final, sparkling highlights. A collaboration with Tim Gent – a songwriter and vocalist from Clarksville, TN – his verse offers a poignant reminder of the times we're living in offering up the lyrics "moral of the story, everybody means something to somebody."

The track reminds us as families continue to lose more loved one to the coronavirus pandemic, as more allegations and accusations of corrupt behaviour and systemic racism surface across the creative industries, victims are not alone and that certainly is such an important moral and reminder that every number, every statistic represents a life which has affected other lives.

With its subtle incorporation of electronic elements and gospel influences, "mercy" makes clear Oladokun's sound is continuing to evolve. Her storytelling songwriting is so brilliant and desperately essential right now. Hopefully, as her album title suggests, there are many volumes of new music still to come.

"mercy" is out now. in defense of my own happiness, volume 1 is out 17 July. Find Joy Oladokun on Instagram.
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