Foreword by Jocelle Koh
Playlist Notes by Krysta Joy
Armed with warm, velvety tones, singer-songwriter Krysta Joy gives us all the warm and fuzzies. Collaborating on the March episode of our Everywhere and Nowhere show, we spoke at length about the importance of being gentle with ourselves, and -in line with the name of Joy’s last album- ’embracing the progress’. Digging deep into her personal experiences and her most sacred anxieties, Joy is well on her way to becoming one of the most genuine Soul artists the Singaporean music scene has to offer.
Putting together a mix of songs in line with the theme ‘can you be gentle with me?’, the 24 year old creative has dug up some of her most treasured, well-worn tracks that have weathered the worst of storms with her, including some sweet picks from Singaporean acts Charlie Lim, lewloh, Vivien Yap, nkei and Krysta herself.
Along with each song, the gentle singer-songwriter and producer shared at length how these songs attach themselves to different parts of her soul, and resonate with her in those moments clouded with anxiety and doubts. During our interview, she shared how her philosophy on embracing oneself and accepting ones’ flaws has changed over time, and how these songs are an intimate reflection of this growth.
“These are songs that I really do play, when I’m, like, really, on my down days…and the songs are very different than the songs that I would have picked maybe five years ago, because I used to have this mentality, where if you’re sad, and when you’re down, you have to listen to happy music, because it only makes sense… But I feel like over the years, I’ve learned that there’s so much power in sad music, there’s so much power in listening to something that makes you feel less alone. There’s power in something that doesn’t give you an answer. It just gives you a friend. “
With her quietly uplifting tunes and honest yet hopeful musical offerings, Joy reminds us that wherever you are, and at whatever stage in life, we are enough, and deserving of a little more gentleness.
Track 01: cold these days – lewloh
Lew is my go-to on bad days. I once did an IG Live with him and we talked about the power of sad music on sad days, dismantling my one-dimensional mindset that only happy music can do the job. In this song, I find comfort in the knowledge that my bareness is not an unknown feeling and am reminded that “these days” doesn’t mean every day forever.
Track 02: 77 – nkei
My favourite Singaporean duo! This song feels like a hug to me – warm tones and soundscape, coupled with the complimentary lead voices an octave apart in the choruses. It paints a picture of two being one and reminds me I’m not alone in my thoughts and feelings.
Track 03: Understood – Krysta Joy
“Understood” is a song I wrote while feeling very wronged by people close to me. I felt like everyone was creating a version of me that was inaccurate and presumptuous. Originally written as an edgy upbeat song, ‘Understood’ evolved into a “calm in the storm” tone as I grew into understanding that not nobody knows you like you know yourself and that’s okay.
Track 04: Wonderful – Vivien Yap
I had the privilege of playing the acoustic guitar on this track, but trust me when I say my love for this song is not biased due to the fact. “Wonderful” truly lives up to its name and makes me feel like I am enough – just me. Nothing I do or achieve is the reason why I am wonderful. I was born wonderful and will continue to be wonderful despite the seasons/circumstances I’m in.
Track 05: Light Breaks In – Charlie Lim
The first time I heard this song, I wept without fully comprehending why. It made more sense after watching the music video produced for it and learning that the song was addressing not just mental illness, but the personal experience he had with it being prevalent in his family. Having lost many loved ones to mental illness and fighting my own battles, this song brought a feeling of hope in the most hopeless circumstances.
Track 06: Absence of You – grentzperez
“Absence of You” is a song that starts off rather dull and sad but quickly turn into a more positive tone about accepting that some things were never meant to be and that’s okay. It brings me comfort to know that there is acceptance that comes after loss, and hope that I’ll get there eventually.
Track 07 Blindsided – Bon Iver
Most times, I isolate myself when I’m feeling down and refuse help from loved ones. But in reality, all I’m hoping for is for someone to ignore my outward demands and to insist on staying. Doesn’t everyone? In “Blindsided”, Justin puts his honest doubt into song by questioning whether anyone would come to his aid when he needs it. Would anyone join him in his isolation? Will anyone join me? The answer is yes, and this song reminds me to constantly remind myself of this truth.
Track 08: Here Comes The Sun – Nina Simone
There’s a verse in the Bible that goes “Sorrow may remain for a night, but joy comes in the morning” and it has been my anchor in the darkest of nights. This song reminds me of this verse and the hope every new day brings.
Track 09: Revert – Krysta Joy
“Revert” is about feeling afraid of going back to the person I used to be. I wrote it after feeling like I slipped up and like I’m back at square one in my progress of moving on from my past and growing to be better. In the outro I sing “I don’t want to revert”, and it shows me that I have grown simply because I am aware and desire to not turn back.
Track 10: Beautiful – Ethel Yap
This song always brings comfort because it speaks of how everything has its time, and that we are all on our different journeys and different timelines. Even when I feel like a failure and like I’m a horrible person, there is beauty that can and will be made out of me
Catch Krysta on Indiego with her show Soul Food every Monday at 9pm-12am SGT and follow her on Instagram for more updates! Catch our Everywhere and Nowhere interview with Krysta alongside her ‘can you be gentle with me?; mix on demand on Spotify here.