Dec 6, 2022
7 min read
From writing poetry in her German mother tongue at the tender age of five to being taken under Damian Lazarus’ wing, it’s been quite the journey for singer, songwriter, and producer JOPLYN. She grins warmly from her home in Berlin, which she says always looks like day one of a move. A hectic year of touring is to blame for the lack of time spent in her abode and home studio.
Music has always run through JOPLYN’s veins. By the time she was age eight, she was playing the piano and combining her poems with her self-composed melodies. She soon progressed into learning song structure, initially writing “very pop influenced…real piano ballads.”
She says that in those early stages, Lady Gaga and Lorde inspired her heavily, becoming a "turning page" for her as her interest in school dwindled and her passion for music ignited further.
Now, she explains that places spark her creativity. Convenient considering a large portion of the job is traveling. In early 2022 she released her second album Sant Jordi 02, which was born from an extended stay in Ibiza.
Life on the road can be time-consuming, and with so little alone time, JOPLYN has realized that no place is a bad place to write a song. Even mid-set.
“[It’s] such a special headspace to be in, such a special place, seeing people in front of you and hearing your music on loudspeaker.”
JOPLYN explains her dreams have also provided a nuanced window into her subconscious and a source for her introspective melodic music.
“I dream so visually that most of my songs are me describing my dreams.” She explains how one of the songs from her album was the result of a particularly thoughtful journey she had in her vivid dream state. “I was in my apartment in my dream and saw a little door. I went through it, and it was a door to my subconscious. Walking around it, looking around it, like I was in an exhibition.”
It almost goes without saying that growing up in Berlin was responsible for her lust for music production, edging her down the electronic route. There was, of course, “A lot of partying growing up in Berlin. Going to clubs at a pretty young age." Despite their inherent chaos, JOPLYN believes that "Techno clubs are one of the calmest environments in the world. Filled with love… so much appreciation of being in this moment together and dancing together.”
JOPLYN’s inspirations were always a wide-ranging melange that crossed genre lines. Like Caribou’s “indietronica house and neo-psychedlia dream pop." And Germany's Oliver Huntemann and Booka Shade, who approached her for a collab and eventually became mentors, guiding her along the way in her musical journey. A far removal from her early days of listening to Lady Gaga.
In April 2022, she made her debut on Damian Lazarus’ Crosstown Rebels with “We Will Forgive Ourselves.” When reading its lyrics, it’s clear that a hidden message lay laced within.
“It’s my way of dealing with this hedonistic, excessive side of this culture, this genre that I’m in, within techno, within house. There is this dark side that no one talks about. It can be a very toxic place too, within all its beauty. That was my way of, in my mind, marrying the two ideas that it can be toxic and that it can be this dark place, but at the end of the day, it is uniting. It has this ‘we’re all in this together feeling.’ That at the end of the day we will forgive ourselves for all of the parties, all the things that we did.”
This kind of introspection and careful thought seems rare in a culture so focussed on living in the moment. And maybe, it’s why JOPLYN has stood out to so many.
“You can of course take this whole idea and project it on a wider scope, we will forgive ourselves in general in this world for all the things going on,” she continues. “It is a very melancholic song but I did want it to have a hopeful message at the end, and I did want it to be positive and uplifting. And because it is very choral, it feels almost like we’re in a church when I play it. It’s those moments on the dancefloor that I live for. I had the melody before I had the lyrics, so I was trying to write lyrics that captured this feeling that this melody had evoked in me.”
Well, now we know what song to turn to when we want to repent our sins on Sundays from our weekend antics.
The release marked a massive benchmark in her career and added another dance music icon to her growing list of heavy-hitting mentors.
I asked JOPLYN what goes through her mind when creating her music, as it’s easy to feel transported and lost within her tracks. I was curious if she had the listener at the forefront when in the studio or if she just let her magic flow.
“There’s a line to walk between art and functionality. Because you need both, especially when making pop music because people want to dance and lose themselves to it. In the initial spark moment, all of that isn’t on my mind at all. All I’m doing in that moment is letting out my ideas, recording them somewhere, and putting it all down. But that moment lasts about five minutes, and then the building blocks of the song are there. Then it’s about being very diligent and working on every single building block. So when I’m in that mode, I’m obviously thinking, ‘ok, if I make this break too long, people are going to leave the dancefloor.’ But I think it’s important at the beginning to free yourself from these preconceptions of how music is supposed to be or follow a formula or think about it too mathematically.”
Her musical journey has not only included her own progression but spearheading other women’s progression. JOPLYN is passionate about bringing more females into the world of music production. When I asked her why she thinks there is a gender imbalance, she remarked, “It’s such a technical job, and technical jobs in general get attributed a lot to men, which makes it intimidating for women to download Ableton or pick up a controller…We lack representation. If you look at the lineups, at the producers, at all the rosters, it’s all men. I see it everytime I play a gig, I’m always the only girl at the artist dinner. As a woman you tend to get belittled a lot. You get sexualised a lot. You aren’t taken seriously.”
I followed this up with how she saw best to encourage more women in the industry.
“Representation is important. Safe spaces are very important. Uplifting each other. Empowering each other.”
Probing that she’s a woman of action, JOPLYN has been working with Ableton and Spotify to give production workshops to make things a little more accessible and less intimidating. “The creative process is such a mysterious thing, kept behind closed doors. You’re presented with this perfect piece of music on this gold platter... So democratizing that whole process and concept is very dear to my heart.”
2022 was a massive year for JOPLYN and is still only the start for this super-talented young artist. In 2023 a new album is on the way. She says she’ll be locked away in an LA studio for two months working on it. She’s also teased a “couple of cool collabs coming,” including one with her mentors, Booka Shade. She also reveals that she’s “working on things with Damian “(Lazarus). So keep your ears and eyes peeled for what could be an explosive year for JOPLYN.