Spreading the Light with R&B’s Resident Ray of Sunshine, Jo The Sunchild
R&B/soul singer-songwriter Jo The Sunchild has been spreading rays of sunlight through her music for as long as she can remember. Born Stacey Joanne Graham, she grew up in Compton, California immersed in music both at church and at home. She brings her soulful roots to her current songwriting career with original songs that showcase her vocal talent, like her single, “Til The End”.
Jo the Sunchild has a passion for music and authentic self-expression that radiates out to anyone exposed to her music. This lifelong California girl serves as an inspiration to young artists and listeners alike to stay true to their roots while following their dreams. Jo the Sunchild wrote every song on her debut EP, Light, which is scheduled for release in late 2018. Read more about this up-and-coming artist and find out what drives her in music and in life.
Name: Stacey Graham
Artist Name: Jo The Sunchild
Currently based in: Compton, CA
Originally from: Gardena, CA
My superpower is solar manipulation. I use it to spread light everywhere I go to help things grow, and to warm the hearts of the world.
Biggest pet peeve:
One of my biggest pet peeves is my allergies acting up. I don’t like when my eyes water right after I’ve finished my makeup! It’s the absolute worst!
Favorite 90s jam?
“Kiss of Life” by Sade
What are some of your hobbies or interests outside of music?
I’m really into video games, practicing yoga, dancing, and watching movies with friends while trying to predict the ending.
If money wasn’t an issue, what would you love to splurge on?
If money wasn’t an issue, I’d definitely splurge on a few awesomely bizarre, wacky, and artistic grand pianos.
What is a quote or piece of advice that you try to live by?
It might sound cliche, but I try to live by the quote, “Treat everyone the way you want to be treated.”
Des’ree – “You Gotta Be”
If you could live anywhere else in the world right now, where would it be?
I’d live in New York City. I’d love to experience the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
Yes! I’ve wanted to sing and write music for as long as I can remember. I was just 3 years old when I sang my first solo at the First Southern Baptist Church.
How would you describe your sound?
I would say my sound is funk. It’s pop, it’s soul, it’s raw and real.
What are the main themes or topics in your songs?
Love is the topic that finds itself in most of my music. Love for self, for others, for a good time — all types of love.
On the whole, what message do you hope to put forth with your music?
I just want to encourage people to be their authentic selves, love without restrictions, and enjoy this human experience while you can. That’s my primary message.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Which of these are your greatest musical inspiration?
The list is so long! But I’d say Franky Beverly and Maze, Teena Marie, Alicia Keys, and Janet Jackson are in the top.
Who would be your dream artist to collaborate with in the future?
I’d love to collaborate with Pharrell Williams! He’s bananas creatively, and I think the sound produced from a collab between the two of us would be epic.
How do you feel your music has evolved since you first started performing as Jo the Sunchild?
My writing flows better, and comes much easier now, as opposed to when I first started. It’s a different process because I’ve learned to let songs create themselves, rather than trying to create them myself.
Do you play any instruments? If so, which ones?
Yes, I do! I play the piano/keyboard, and conga drums.
Who writes your songs?
I write my songs, and I have written all of my own songs throughout my career.
What do you do or where do you go when you need to find inspiration for your music?
Switching up my routine and environment is the best way for me to find inspiration, so I’ll try to spend some time somewhere new. The difference in my surroundings usually inspires new songs.
Where do you see yourself 30 years from now?
In 30 years, I see myself mentoring young artists. I think that’s the best way to keep authentic artistry alive.
What is a project you’re currently working on that you are most excited about?
I’ve got a couple of visuals in the works that I’m really excited for my fans to see.
What has been one of your favorite performances of all time?
One of my favorite performances of all time was performing at The Game Sports Bar in Los Angeles. The entire audience sang along with me as I performed an Alicia Keys song.
What stands out as one of your worst/most horrifying performances of all time?
One specific performance doesn’t really come to mind, since I’m pretty much terrified before every performance, but when the music comes on and I start to sing, everything starts to calm down.
What is one thing that you have accomplished as a musician that you’re most proud of?
I’m proud of finishing my first EP, Light. I put so much energy into this project and I’m so happy with it. I’m very proud of how it came out.
Share a story of a time you screwed up in your musical career and how you recovered:
Early on in my career, I remember showing up late to a meeting, and it caused me to lose a huge opportunity. As a result, I learned how to take the music business seriously. I’m always early to meetings and I take notes to ensure I have a clear understanding of what is required of me to handle my business professionally.
What do you see as one of the greatest challenges facing your industry today?
One of the greatest challenges music artists face today is dealing with how quickly a song can lose popularity, especially with an online release. Many artists of today need to release new music at a very fast pace in order to stay relevant. That can be really challenging.
Are there any resources you have discovered that have been an asset to you as a musician that you’d like to share?
Guitar Center. I’ve met so many awesome artists just by going there and jamming out!
Were there any other stage names that you almost chose instead?
I am formerly known as Stacii Jayy. The Jayy in “Stacii Jayy” represents the initial of my middle name “Joann,” which is where the “Jo” in Jo the Sunchild comes from.
If you weren’t a musician, what do you think you’d be doing instead?
I’m sure I would be unemployed. I am made to do one job, and that is to be a musician.
Anything else we haven’t asked about that you’d like to add?
Yes, I am very excited to bring a unique spin to R&B Music!
This interview is part of the Steereo Featured Artist Series. Steereo promotes new music from up-and-coming artists in ride share vehicles, reaching new listeners and fans as they travel. For more on Steereo, visit mysteereo.com.