”Written byNick Trethowan
“It’s a really cool example, for me, of a song that encapsulates a moment of time. Whenever I listen to it, I think about that moment and it’s not nostalgic – it’s such a sweet memory, it transports me back to that time.”
It was 2018, and a summer holiday. A young man meets a badass, beautiful woman on the coasts and islands of Greece and the Mediterranean Sea. Like something out of a movie, what begins is an epic one-week long romance of magic and all its delights but only for one week, to then leave on their separate paths and never meet again. After they left, through tears and farewells, the only thing that the feelings could do was manifest. The young man picked up his guitar and 15 minutes later the music had spoken for itself. Everything was written and recorded immediately to be stored on a laptop and so the new release by Joe Preyer, ‘Little Lady’ was created. “It’s a really cool example for me of a song that encapsulates a moment of time, whenever I listen to it, I think about that moment and it’s not nostalgic – it’s such a sweet memory, it transports me back to that time.”
In the past year, Joe, a singer-songwriter from Cape Town, and his music have been emerging much to our joy and fancy. Beautiful melodies and soft breezy vocals that are magic to the ears. Joe’s music resembles makeups of JJ Cale, Alice Phoebe Lou, Simon & Garfunkel, Sixto Rodriguez and Mac DeMarco to bring you some of the most enjoyable and catchy singles of the last year. Initially shy, Joe had been playing guitar and writing for years before the forced conditions of last years Lockdown prompted him to break down his own barriers and put his work out there. ‘Little Lady’ was written 3 years ago, but took until earlier this year and recording the finals in London studio after a musician’s workshop before finding its way to our ears.
“For so long I worked on songs without releasing them, like ‘Time’, that riff I wrote about 10 years ago and one of my biggest regrets is not releasing music earlier, I think a lot of people can relate to that, all artists across all disciplines can. I just realised, you are not serving anyone by NOT releasing your art. You are only protecting yourself from the fear of judgement. The worst thing that can happen is someone doesn’t like your music but the best thing that can happen is someone does like your music and even if only one person likes my song, it’s worth releasing. It’s just this crazy barrier to releasing stuff and I still struggle with it but it gets easier with every song. I almost didn’t release any of the songs that are out. But I wrote it down, I committed myself and said ‘I’m releasing this no matter what’ and I still got doubts. I think that’s why you see this emergence of a bunch of independent artists who are all inspiring each other to keep growing. I get very inspired by artists I know who are releasing their stuff. Because at the end of the day, you just need to put your art out there.”
“Because, at the end of the day, you just need to put your art out there.”
As we speak, there is a kind and supportive nature to Joe that is indicative of his relationship to music. He speaks about the difficulties and perils of establishing yourself as an artist, the traps and pitfalls of analytics and the nature of marketing oneself in a way that is genuine and returns away from ego. In a world focused on the marketing and the glamour, to Joe the fundamentals lie in his music and the enjoyment taken in making it, from song to album art.
“For me, Social Media is the enemy. I keep all social media apps off my phone and try navigate it using only what I need to get my music out there. The thing is we live – I don’t want to say in an Instagram world because that’s a horrible world for you to have, but this whole thing as packaging yourself as a product, even if you are not an artist so many people are selling their lives as these picture-perfect things. I face this when I think should I market my music and how do I do it? Then I think well how do I package myself to market myself? And the thought of packaging myself…! I’m a human being. It’s such a fine balance. The music industry of the past had it different, now you have to first make the music and then take a step out and market yourself.”
The focus as we speak returns to finding oneself in the spinning craziness that is the music industry. How can one find what your sound is when genres are so ranged and as music progresses, genres are bending and blending more and more, growing and changing our sound becomes harder to accurately name. It becomes a headache when actually all you need to know is your music and whether it’s music you want to hear or make. When writing a track, it’s not about what the requirements are but what the song finds itself at. Pop, folk, guitar or electronic, does it matter? At the end of the day, if you enjoy it, it’s good.
Joe’s music reflects his experiences of love, friendship, travel and this strange journey called life with an ease that makes taking the ride a sonic enjoyment. From the questioning of the transience of ‘Time’ with its ridiculously catchy lines and whistling, to the smooth sultry groove of “The Language”, Joe’s smooth vocals keep sliding up the volume until you can’t get any louder and you groove along to his recent catalogue. As smooth as he is at singing, his guitar lines are just as silvery and comforting as JJ Cale, which give you the feeling of a warm summer evening and only the finest tunes in the air.
As smooth as he is at singing, his guitar lines are just as silvery and comforting as JJ Cale, which give you the feeling of a warm summer evening and only the finest tunes in the air.
With a 5 track EP in the works, Joe has been setting himself to keep releasing and growing as a musician projected for early next year. There is much we can expect to enjoy as he takes bigger and bigger steps and we definitely have him on our horizons.