Jesse & Joy: Music "For Art's Sake"


Jesse & Joy: Music "For Art's Sake"

A fascinating interview with the siblings of the moment. Plus: Watch their new video!

Jesse y Joy
Foto: Cortesía de Róndine Alcalá
In 2001, siblings Jesse and Joy started composing songs together, but those first musical efforts didn't reach the public until 2006, when the Mexican pop duo launched their first album Esta es mi vida, a disc that earned them a Latin GRAMMY in the Best New Artist category.

Jesse, 25, and Joy, 21, were fortunate to have the music industry open their doors to them early in their music careers. The pair's godparents are none other than the music duo Sin Bandera, who are featured on two of their godchildren's 12 tracks.

Jesse & Joy listeners enjoy smooth melodies, love-centric lyrics and positive messages about life. And while their sound is lesser known in other countries, the duo's fifth single "Somos lo que fue" is already making its mark on Mexican radio. But the talented siblings, who are currently on tour, are on their way to winning over the rest of Latin America and, eventually, English speakers.

The duo chatted with about taking music to new levels, their roles as brother and sister, as musicians and as activists.

Tell us about your relationship as siblings and through music...
Jesse: In addition to being family, we're friends, and we try to understand each other as much as possible. We have an agreement. Sometimes we have different points of view, but we're friends, and we've learned that we should always give our points of view, express ourselves, then figure out who's right. I'm always right, aren't I? (laughs)
Joy: Noooo.

How did you choose the songs and arrange them for your album?
Jesse: Throwing ideas around, thinking and composing.
Joy: When it comes to composing, we're like a soccer team. We both know our positions very well. Jesse makes all of the music, we write lyrics together, and sometimes our dad helps us out. It opens up a wider spectrum because we're three different generations – two men of different ages and a woman, so there are more points of view. My dad isn't a musician, so he does it like we do – for art's sake. Jesse has the musical talent; he has a better understanding of sounds, arrangements and guitars. I'm more lyrical than musical.

How does it feel to have your fifth single released in Mexico, and to have won the Latin GRAMMY for Best new Artist?
Joy: We feel very fortunate, because we know that not many people are given that opportunity. We're thankful to the people who have supported us since we started our careers. It creates a lot of expectations for a second disc – we want to the people to like more of our songs. We already did the video for the fifth single "Somos lo que fue." It's incredible that we have another single out there.

Would you consider doing an album in English?
Jesse: We have songs in English. We still don't have a date, but a completely English album is in the works, because our other half is Anglo, and we want to sing to them.

Who are the music role models of Jesse and Joy?
Jesse: Johnny Cash, James Taylor, Coldplay, U2.
Joy: We have a North American mother and a Mexican father, so our musical upbringing was different, but it was a cool fusion. My dad would have us listen to classical music or Pedro Infante, among others. With my mom, we would listen to Johnny Cash. At the end of the day it made us determine our own sound. If you look at Jesse's iPod, it seems like it belongs to someone older.

You write songs about love...What's the relationship status for both of you?
Jesse: I'm married and I have a 3 1/2-year-old baby girl.
Joy: No, I don't have kids (laughs). It's really hard right now. I'm at a point in my life when I want to focus all of my energy on this. I know myself. I'm a very passionate person in everything that I do, so it would be a little unfair to want to have someone there when you can't offer the same. When everything calms down and I have a little more time on my hands, sure, if the opportunity presents itself, we'll make time. But I'm fine for now.

The two of you are also concerned about the environment...
Jesse: Yes, we just joined the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) to raise awareness for Spanish speakers that taking care of the environment is often forgotten, and that global warming isn't a trend, but a reality. Since we're all contributing to the planet's end, little by little we all can change it.

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