Newcomer Joy Styles remembers her first writing session – very well. "It's so random, but I was in bed one night when the inspiration came," she recalled to Billboard. "I was an only child, so I learned at an early age to keep myself amused. I always kept pen and paper by my bed – whether to doodle or whatever. On this particular night, I was ten years old, and I was supposed to be going to bed. My mom had gotten this kind of pink stock paper. I could see the moon coming through my window, and all of a sudden, a melody came to me with lyrics, and my very first song was called 'Bright Moon."
Since those days, her writing and performing have both come a long way. The songstress has just released a new single, "Fast," to country radio, and she says that career-wise, she feels that all system are go. "A lot has happened in my life since I first started writing," she admits. "I think I am more settled and comfortable in my skin, and who I am. I am loving life right now. There's no drama. I'm enjoying every single day. I've got great family, and an amazing team helping me make my dream a reality. I have absolutely no complaints."
What were her first musical memories? She doesn't flinch, recalling as if it were yesterday. "Listening to my radio – especially with my dad. He was a huge music person, and he loved all the groups from the 50s and 60s like the Temptations and the O'Jays. He would always sing along with them, but he was also very eclectic. He also listened to Dan Fogelberg and Lionel Richie. I grew up listening to stories, songs that told full stories. If you listened to a song from the beginning to the end, you've gone on a journey."
She turns emotional when talking about one song that left a profound impact on her. "One of my favorite songs is 'Auld Lang Syne' by Dan Fogelberg. It's just brilliant. You feel like you are in that grocery store, and you're walking straight to the counter, talking in the car, until they leave, and you think 'Oh, my God! What just happened?' That's what songs should do. You should walk into a song the way you could walk into a fairytale or a favorite book you have."
She owes her country influences to her mother. "She listened to Dolly Parton, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Reba, Tim McGraw. I heard these songs, and thought 'Who are these people? These songs are amazing!' They are so emotional and vulnerable. That's what I love about country is the vulnerability. It doesn't matter if you are male or female, you can lay it all out on the table and say 'I'm absolutely nothing without you in my life. You're the best thing that ever happened to me.' It's not about posturing at all, and the values of God and family being the first and foremost important things in your life. I always lived that way."
Of "Fast," she says "It's about love and the feeling when you're with the person you love, and you can't wait to get there – no matter where they are." It's a song she readily identifies with. "I think love is the most amazing thing that can happen to any of us. If you're really lucky, you meet the love of your life. I think you can have more than one. If you're lucky, you get one. Sometimes, you're fortunate to get two, if something should happen. For me, the first love of my life passed away a few years ago, unfortunately. But, I still believe that there is love for me. I've gotten to a place that I'm excited about it and having it again. So 'Fast' for me is about that belief in love."
Styles – who has shared the stage with such legendary ladies as Leslie Uggams and Phylicia Rashad during her career, says she hopes she can light a spark inside the heart of the listener. "I just want people to love the music – to walk into the songs, feel comfortable, and say 'Wow. I know this. I've been here before,' or when they hear a love song, they think 'That's what it could be like,' good, bad, or ugly. I just want people to feel the music, and feel like they are getting a chance to know me – because these songs are telling the story of me."