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Joyo Velarde

Just a Little Patience

After several years of backing up many of the artists on the roster of Bay Area record label Quannum Projects, Joyo Velarde can finally take the spotlight. The Filipina songstress, who lives in the East Bay when she is not touring and performing with her husband Lyrics Born, released her debut self-titled EP May 26th and her first LP is scheduled for November. She discussed the EP and her experience growing up in the Bay Area during a phone interview.

SF Station (SFS) : There were rumors about your EP almost a year ago. What took so long?

Joyo Velarde (JV) : We definitely had some fits and starts getting it together and trying to decide the right time to put it out. Admittedly, we had some internal issues with the label. But, weíve got it all together now and I feel really good about the timing of everything. Itís here!

SFS: What makes now the right time?

JV: We honestly wanted to put it out February of this year, but the timing just got out of wack a little bit. For the EP, we wanted to make sure we got some of the music out before college students got out of school. There is no real science to it; the main goal is to make sure the LP is out this year.

SFS: Why do you think college students make up the majority of Quannum Projects fans?

JV: They still listen to college radio, and college radio has a place for underground music. That has always been a huge market for us, along with the Internet. Itís a good testing ground, and that audience is listening for new things and is more receptive than the mainstream audience.

SFS: What planted the seed for you to record your own album?

JV: This has been a long time in the making. It is a natural progression, after touring with everyone on the label, doing backup vocals for everyone, and, of course, continuously working with Lyrics Born. It makes sense and it was definitely always my plan.

SFS: You discuss moving at the age of seven and feeling different because of your complexion on ďFeels Right", one of the more personal tracks on the LP. What inspired that verse?

JV: I was basically raised in San Francisco, but then my mother was relocated at her job and we moved to Pleasanton, which is pretty suburban and not the most diverse culture. It was kind of a culture shock. I was definitely aware of how I fit in with the community. I think I was one of 10 or 15 minority students at my high school.

It was a great place to grow up, but after I went to college, my wig was blown because I saw that where I grew up was not the norm. I loved growing up there, but it definitely influenced my early development.

SFS: What kind of influence did it have?

JV: There was never overt racism; it was just the awareness, and having to adjust, in a community where I was clearly a minority. It effects how you behave and interact with people. I definitely affected my thoughts on how I want to raise my children. I want to make sure that they are exposed to as much diversity as possible. It definitely plays into the music, as well.

SFS: What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?

JV: It has just been patience. I love touring with Lyrics Born, but it is a lot of time away from home. I think that is what caused the delay of the records.

Iíve had to really be patient, and make sure the momentum is there when we are in the studio. Itís kind of a catch 22; Iím on the road working and developing everything, but it takes away from the recording process and the progression at home. Everything else has been good challenges: finding my voice and developing as a writer. Itís all good; Iím still learning constantly everyday. I look forward to more.