In recent posts we’ve discussed music as an art form and how some people allow that idea to lead to unrestricted creativity. That artistry is a common shared element found with the people that feature on The Recommender’s pages, but when you look at the likes of manufactured pop or the ‘musicians’ that appear from the X-Factor production lines, and such like, it is hard to pin the same description of ‘artist’ on the performers. Yet it’s those people that appear on the major label’s portfolios. At it’s core, music is a medium of creativity and today’s recommendation is yet another solo female artist who enjoys a history in art direction and seems focused on her image, videos and photography as much as she is her music. In the ultra-competitive music industry it’s more important than ever to come out of the starting blocks with a complete polished package. That way the labels will sit up and take note, the shows you perform will be more likely to excite onlookers and the blogs and wider music journalism will indulge themselves.
2ForJoy is the solo female musician, also known as Ruth Ivo, from North West London. She has a background in performance and art direction, having co-founded the extraordinary, incendiary show, known as Trash City, at the Glastonbury festival. She first began this solo artist project early last year, writing her own music and working in the studio with South African producer and multi-instrumentalist Paul Ressel. They eventually produced a teaser video for the song, Choke, which caught the interest on a handful of decent music blogs. It seems as though very few facts have been confirmed about her before now, but the full video is finally complete (see it listed below) and is nothing short of stunning, so we expect this to potentially spark some keen interest. It’s shot and produced by Annick Wolfers, who is known for videos involving the likes of Pete Doherty and Paul Weller, among others, plus she’s completed a wonderful portfolio of professional fashion photography.
2ForJoy’s music is a stylish brand of burlesque pop. Ivo looks stunning and very photogenic, performing in front of the camera as confidently as a cocaine-fuelled dominatrix. The tune, PDA, is a keen example of her theatrical pop music, with the kind of Broadway swing that we have also recently seen with the likes of Kimbra, Yadi, or Washington. All of which were eventually signed by major labels, so although 2ForJoy remains without a record deal, for now, we can’t imagine that situation will remain for much longer on current form. Other tunes by her are floating around out there, although much of it seems to have been removed, leaving only a couple of demos on her Soundcloud. That includes the aforementioned Choke, which is acting like an initial demo single. It introduces us to a deeper, more melancholy tone, which would perhaps be better associated with “1 for sorrow” from the old superstitious rhyme associated with seeing Magpies, but perhaps that is the point?
So is this a complete package? It is perhaps too early to tell, as this is still at the demo stages, but she’s arrived at the starting blocks with all the right kit on. She looks awesome, has an eye for the image, an ear for a tune and is clearly unafraid of her creativity. The moniker can perhaps be put under question, as it doesn’t seem to match her aesthetic and feels a little bit clunky, but it’s no serious bother and any record label will surely discuss it at length if it’s an issue commercially. The video shows us that she suits a high end production and the studio have produced a rounded, dramatic sound, all of which suits her expressive pop. She is perhaps a lesson in setting out a clear idea of what you want to achieve and how to harness and control your creativity. By involving other talents, both in the studio and behind the camera she is allowed to magnify that talent, so the package has a professional finish well beyond the realities of a demo. In an environment as competitive as the music industry is today – particularly with this alternative end of the female solo pop spectrum – you have to give record labels a fantastic reason to consider you. What is perhaps most refreshing is that she’s delivering the polish from day one. That is ultimately how you get noticed, how you quickly get respected, and ultimately how you get signed. So perhaps there is something to manufactured pop after all…so long as it’s the artist who is doing all the manufacturing. (MB)