It took quite some time to gather the right thoughts to make this post. Joi Gilliam, Joi…Joi is virtually the best artist that for some reason the masses has not heard of. Now what do I mean by that? You’ve heard her music often, but you may have not known it. Not to compare her, or to say that she created a music movement, but before you (music listening public) had Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, etc., there was Joi.
In 1994, before I left Atlanta and Georgia I first heard the Tennessee born daughter of Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback “Jefferson Street” Joe Gilliam, Joi’s, classic, “Sunshine& The Rain,” on community radio in Atlanta (“urban” radio stations here would not play Hip-Hop, nor anything thing that was not a national R&B standard, therefore Atlanta natives Outkast, and non-MTV songs by TLC, or Kriss Kross (given for effect) would not make it to local radio). As I often discovered with independent radio, I would find a new song, but it was highly unlikely I would find out who the artists was. Armed with this tape recorded song, I pumped this unknown artist all the way from Atlanta to New York and Connecticut.
Luckily, Joi’s work was released and I remember walking into the Sam Goody’s F.Y.E. concept store in Trumbull mall and seeing the new release wall, and Joi had her entire placement of her debut, The Pendulum Vibe, there. Not knowing that this was the artist I had been bumping, I was always inclined to try out new music, even without having heard it (I returned home after my 2 years in Bridgeport with over 1K CD’s of music, all catalogued in a notebook). Well I picked the CD up, and saw the title “Sunshine & The Rain,” I felt like I had won the lottery, first I had a full length album of an incredible artist that I only had previously had a partial taped song, and a real artist was given the opportunity to put her work out. I walked around that store, until our group left clutching the $18.99 compact disc until it was time to check out. I dropped the disc into my Sony Discman on the way back to campus, and had my first true magical experience with her music. My life was changed. I own, 3 copies of the album, and have purchased copies for friends before it went out of print.