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Joyo Velarde – Joyo Velarde

Released by Quannum Projects, 5/26/09

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The self-titled release by Joyo Velarde is gonna make you feel alright. A musical voice that could stand toe to toe with a 1970s Diana Ross, it is only natural for her to showcase her supreme talents after being featured on around twenty albums. The hip, bass grooves and her clear, soulful voice create a work that sounds aged yet youthful at the same time. It firmly announces that Joyo will be a smash and trend-setter for years to come in the Bay Area and beyond.

Playful and festive, "Take You Home" moves through you like a celebration after daily triumphs over hardship and struggle. The sound lays traces of Lyrics Born's, Joyo's husband, rhythmic hand on most tracks on the record producing fingerprints of a melodious vibe that listeners will surely love. Joyo's studies of the opera in Rome come to fore in "Build this World" and "The Way We Are", where she reaches from the depths of sultry to angelic highs. Joyo's jewel won't be hidden in the Bay Area for long. One could even call her the "thrilla from Manila". Joyo Velarde gives a TKO to all comers of the soulstress belt in 2009, like Ali did to Frazier for the heavyweight boxing title in 1975.

Her genius shines just as brightly with her story lyrics in the song, "Feels Right". Joyo draws on personal struggles with lyrics ringing true as her voice. She sings, “It feels like something's changing and it feels so good.” Her strong and lively presence is set to a reggae beat on "I Need You Boy", bringing a dynamic quality to this record bound for Love and Understanding. This song, a possible tribute to Lyrics Born, depicts how the match of the two are heavenly like a Sunday, summer barbecue.