Joy Crookes smashes first headline show

South Londoner Joy is a rising star and you should all take notice.

There’s an exciting buzz spreading through the ground floor of Corsica Studios as we wait for Joy Crookes to take the stage last Wednesday. Tonight’s gig is to mark the release of debut EP Influence and it’s her first headline show. To top it all off for the youngster, the event sold out ahead of time. We squeeze past the crowd to the front and take refuge under a fan as the room heats up.

Joy’s backing band tweak instruments on stage while a DJ holds the fort in the booth on the side. We’re reminded of the immense power the Funktion-One speakers installed holds when a bassline passes through the system. Probably oversized for the small room, but perfectly tuned nonetheless. It’s enough to keep us distracted from the fact Joy is running ten minutes late now.

Fresh on the scene, Joy Crookes has made quite the impression with her delightful soul and R&B sound. Garnering her a gig supporting Sinead Harnett a week prior to this show. Clever and cheeky, Joy’s debut EP presents her songwriting ability well beyond her years. Influence comprises five quality and original tracks from the 18-year-old.

We’re treated to an exclusive viewing of the music video to ‘Power’, the audience has grown restless but sing and cheer along. It’s a song with enough potential to jolt Joy even further this year and we don’t doubt that it will. When she steps on stage moments later, we’re instantly enthralled with her magnetic stage presence and infectious smile. We stay that way for the duration of her 45-minute set.

Dressed in pinstriped trousers and statement earrings, Joy runs through her own tracks ‘Poison’ and ‘Sinatra’ before introducing us to her hometown Elephant & Castle. “Wagwun sexy!” shouts a front row attendee. Joy then smashes a cover of ‘Chase the Devil’ in honour of the reggae CDs she grew up listening to with her dad.

Despite overpowering her microphone slightly initially, the four-piece backing band match Joy fierceness and are in sync as they run through newly written material ‘Skin’ and ‘Don’t Let Me Down’. Her performance is rounded off with an appearance from Kojey Radical and an overwhelming call for an encore that finishes the show with the same track it began with, ‘Power’.

Elephant & Castle shined with the promise of Joy Crookes on Wednesday night, a talent which has grown right under the area’s nose. We felt very lucky to of seen it before this star takes on the rest of the world.