It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 20 years since Joi Gilliam hit the music scene. She was, by definition, someone who didn’t fit into the industry’s neat little boxes. It was 1994 and, upon hearing “Sunshine and the Rain,” you knew you weren’t listening to a typical R&B singer. It was an exciting precisely because there was some sense that labels were expanding their limited definitions of what could be considered “black” music. Although the industry never lived up to its promise, we’re all glad to see that Joi Gilliam did.
Late in 2011, Joi made another left turn and released some music she’s been working on with 4th generation owner of Atlanta’s Pal’s Lounge and multi-instrumentalist and producer Devon Lee under the name Hot Heavy & Bad. It’s a bit of a departure for those of us who’ve come to expect the the harder rock, funk and soul sounds of her previous albums. But that’s Joi’s role: To at once remind us of her considerable talent and imagination AND confound our expectations.
Here’s the flamenco-influenced “Everything (Black Spaniard)”. If you like what you hear, you can get the four-song EP via Reverbnation.