Changing the Local Music (& Animal Rescue) Game with Joie Tan

"It’s a process, but don’t forget that we’re all figuring it out too."

By Nicole Chan

April 1 2020

Having begun her musical journey on YouTube already at the mere age of 14, Joie Tan started out by posting her own renditions of popular songs on the platform, showcasing her raw talent and vocal chops. Today, the homegrown singer-songwriter has taken her online covers to live performances and even has a debut album out. She also has a business (Layla Luna) on the side, whereby they sell glasses for a good cause and donate to a non-profit animal organisation. STYLEGUIDE chats with Joie to find out how she is nurturing her passion, engaging in a side business and juggling it all at once.

Tell us more about yourself!

I am Joie Tan and I primarily do music full time. When I’m not performing a show, I am spending time on my business Layla Luna, doing yoga or recently, bouldering and I occasionally teach art camps/jams.

When did you first discover your passion for singing / songwriting? What inspires and motivates you every day?

I grew up with music with my dad who plays the guitar, my mom who played the piano. They both sung religiously too, so I grew up with them singing. My dad wrote songs and I remember sitting in his sessions, watching him pencil words and chords in from start to finish.

My dad inspires me a lot - his perseverance, patience, and wisdom is something I admire. He inspires me to be a better person and to live a rich and full life.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in the (local) music industry and how did you overcome it?

I think the biggest challenge was finding myself and my place in it. The industry is welcoming and full of opportunities if you are willing to put in the work. It wasn’t hard for me to find myself, but I think I attribute the journey to my openness and lack of shame hahaha.

How would you describe your music style?

I’d say it is a mix of pop, RnB and soul.

Name some of your favourite artists and tell us why they inspire you!

Oh, man. Kelly Clarkson for her vocal chops and how emotive she is with her singing, Taylor Swift for her honest and unapologetic writing, Norah Jones for her god-gifted vocal tone, Tori Kelly, Emily King, Lianne La Havas and Nai Palm for their gift to colour songs with beautiful chords and riffs and being raw and open with their music.

Likewise, what’s the thing you love most about the local music scene?

I absolutely love the sense of community, but also the fact that most aren’t afraid to voice their opinion. I believe that a scene is only healthy and great if there is respect for one another and the ability to voice constructive feedback and not just support one another simply for the sake of it.

What was the most memorable performance you’ve had?

I think my album launch was something I’d never forget. It was a room full of people who chose to be there to listen to my music and it is something I am so thankful and grateful for. It’s so crazy to me, still. 

Could you tell us a little more about the inspiration behind your side business, Layla Luna?

After volunteering at a dog shelter, I felt like I was seeing for the first time. I found that there’s so much that I don’t know about the entire rescue community. I did research and found that many shelters are run independently, which means that there is no funding from the government or public unless they are made in donations. The thought of countless animals who have been abandoned, abused and lost being in a place that relies on donations and funding from employees blew my mind and I knew that if others knew about it, they’d want to help. I’d always wanted to have my own store, so Layla Luna is my way of doing so whilst spreading word about shelters and sharing tips on how people can help.

With such a hectic schedule, how do you manage to juggle your career and your side gigs all at once?

A strong support system is definitely key - I am fortunately surrounded by people who love and support me and I definitely would not be able to get through my days without them. I also have a dog, bills, and loans to pay, so that keeps me motivated to keep the hustle going.

Lastly, what advice would you give aspiring singer-songwriters?

Figure out what you want, and be realistic about your goals. If you can’t figure out what you want, make little goals and trust that along the way, you’ll figure it out. You have to start somewhere. Don’t believe everything you see on social media because it’s just what you’re allowed to see. I say this because people have a very distorted idea of what being “successful” is like. Be genuine with your craft, don’t be afraid to say hi to fellow musicians and get yourself out there! It’s a process, but don’t forget that we’re all figuring it out too.

All photo credit to Joie Tan (FB)